News In Brief

Community Violence and Police Reform:

Aspiration: We want to decrease interpersonal violence within black families and neighborhoods, reduce and then eliminate black male homicides and improve police community relations. We further want to eliminate incidents of excessive use of force and profiling of minorities by police.

Concerns:

  • Adequate attention has not been paid by city leadership to the racial and ethnic components of violence in families, neighborhoods and the broader community.

  • There is a significant statistical racial/ethnic disparity for homicides in Marion County. We note that in 2018, 103 black males were killed compared to 21 white males. In 2017, there were 85 criminal homicides and in 2016 there were 103 criminal homicides.

  • The city does not presently have an Indianapolis Commission for African American Males connected to Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males.

  • According to the Marion County Health Department Community Health Assessment (2014) and IU Health Community Assessment (2018) there is significant untreated trauma, depression and other mental health concerns among African American adults and children, especially thosewho’ve been impacted by homicides, non-fatal shootings and other violence; and there is a lack of coordinated trauma informed care and community building to support those impacted by violence.

  • Many grassroot organizations/leaders do outstanding work in violence prevention and support for families addressing the consequences of violence; many have little-to-no support or recognition from the city, individual, foundation and corporate funding sources. There is an opportunity to continue to increase the level of engagement with emerging grassroots organizations as part of the city’s response to community violence.

  • To date the Mayor’s office has not completed two major items with respect to police reformwhich include the review of the complaint process for IMPD officers as well as the creation of on a Use of Force Review Board that includes civilians in its member composition.

Proposed Action Items:

  • We propose the establishment of a mayor’s office level staff lead empowered to coordinate among city/county agencies, non-profits, and the business community on issues impacting black males. This position should also align with the Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males and work with community leaders working in this space.

  • City officials (MNA, appropriate Mayoral staff) should visit families/communities impacted by homicides to demonstrate concern, empathy and address any immediate needs the City can appropriately respond to during a family’s difficult time.

  • The Mayor’s Office of Education and Innovation should direct all Mayor-sponsored charter schools to have trauma informed care plans.

  • All relevant city departments should promote trauma informed care and engage in community building and coordination efforts, especially with community and church youth and social service groups, community development corporations, neighborhood associations and physical and mental health providers. Such coordination and collaborations should be reviewed when city funds are allocated for their operational effectiveness, programmatic impact and service satisfaction to all groups including the black community.

  • Recognizing that city grant funding is a valuable credibility builder for other major funders, the AACI encourages the mayor’s office to utilize every appropriate opportunity to fund and support the organizational capacity building and leadership effectiveness of emerging and grassroots organizations, especially those with community violence reduction as a primary agenda. Adequate numbers of well- trained Community Violence Department staff, and their on-going collaboration and training with other local, regional and national community development efforts with certified best practices should be prioritized.

  • Perform a review of the citizen’s police complaint process to understand its effectiveness andascertain a baseline understanding of community confidence in the process to support future process improvement.

  • Complete the process for establishing a Use of Force Review Board that reviews all use of force incidents involving citizens and IMPD that includes citizens within the deliberative process.

  • Insure there is collaboration and joint planning and program management between the Marion County Juvenile Court and the City’s Community Violence staff in implementing the dedicated approach to working with adjudicated juveniles.

Affordable Housing:

Aspiration: We want more access to affordable housing opportunities - apartment and homes -more aggressive enforcement of housing codes and owner accountability to residents, decreased housing discrimination, and improve quality of neighborhood life indices throughout Marion County, particularly as they impact African Americans.

Concerns:

  • Brookings Institute reports that in the Indianapolis-Carmel- Anderson MSA, black homes are devalued by roughly $19,000 based on comparable homes in other neighborhoods.

  • We are concerned about black homeownership rates, as the 2017 Indianapolis white homeownership rate was 64.1% while the black homeownership rate was 33.3% which was amongst the lowest among comparable cities. (Nashville, 41.5%, Columbus, OH 34.3%, Kansas City, 36.8%, Louisville 35.1%, Milwaukee 26.7%)

  • Researchers at the IU Public Policy Institute found that minority populations, and specifically black female headed households experience evictions at higher rates than other groups.

  • According to research from the IU Public Policy Institute, Marion County had the third highest eviction rate in the state in 2016, as Wayne, Lawrence and Warren townships had eviction filing rates over 20% and evictions rates over 8.5%.

  • Non-resident apartment and home-owners and absentee landlords have financially and emotionally abused their occupants as well as endangered their health. The deteriorating apartment complexes, homes and other rental units further diminish the physical infrastructure, appearance and safety of many neighborhoods already beset with a multitude of other issues related to poverty.

Proposed Action Items:

  • We want to support CDBG decision committees with DMD where appropriate.
  • We want to see the city’s affordable housing strategy address high crime areas and receive semi-annual updates regarding outcomes of housing construction/renovation, elimination of abandoned/deteriorated housing, and availability of units for low/moderate income people.

  • There should be greater diversity and transparency in the leadership of community and housing development organizations receiving pass through funds from the city for each source of funding. The city should report the leadership diversity as well as diversity of those impacted in funded programs.

  • The city should work with central Indiana legislators to develop legislation that would give the city greater authority to regulate, fine and secure the property of corporate and absentee landlords. Holding apartment and home rental to high standards of quality for rental units; timely and complete repairs, maintenance of health and safety standards and adherence to fair rental rates should be the goal of proposed legislation.

  • We want to collaborate with the city and the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana on their housing forums where we address discrimination in rentals, tenant’s rights and to provideinformation on how residents can file complaints with Health and Hospital, Code Enforcement, the Office Business and Neighborhood Services and others. (Annually)

Education:

Aspiration: Decrease in the racial achievement gap by 5% each year for the next 3 years for Black students on standardized tests, as well as racial/ethnic and gender parity in suspension and expulsionrates in Marion County public schools and Mayor’s Charter schools.

Concerns:

  • Based on our analysis of publicly available data, in most township districts, more than 70 percent of black children in third through eighth grade failed the ISTEP.

  • Only 12.7 percent of 10th-grade black students in the townships outside IPS passed both math and ELA for ISTEP.

  • The Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation is responsible for about 15,000 students and ourreview suggests that while the schools outpace IPS in academic growth, academic proficiency remains a challenge.

  • There is no coherent countywide strategy for addressing the disparity in the state standardized testing gaps of Black youth.

Proposed Action Items

  • Leverage mayor’s “Bully Pulpit” to raise the issue of racial achievement gaps until there is adramatic improvement in the racial achievement gap on state standardized tests.

  • Lead and regularly convene community conversation on what “high quality” education for all students means in Marion County.

  • Encourage philanthropic and public dollars to flow to appropriate non-profits to address factors that impede learning (ex. food deserts, trauma, financial literacy for families, ESL classes for parents).

  • Provide a plan and rationale that outlines for the public the need for new mayor approved charter schools and the criteria applicants must provide to secure approval. New charter schools should meet an identified need based on a plan that considers education needs for the community before being authorized.

Economic and Black Business Development & Inclusion:

Aspiration: We are interested in increasing both the perception and the reality of Indianapolis as the best city for economic inclusion and mobility and business development, especially for black people.

Concerns:

  • There has not been transparency about MWBE participation data, specifically related to reporting black business numbers, business diversity, etc.

  • We believe there has been a decrease in the number of certified MWBE in construction and professional services businesses.

  • We believe a large number of residents are in excess of 15 minutes away from work and are at risk of limited economic mobility options.

  • According to a report by the Indy Chamber and PPI, we are the 6th most economically segregated region in the country which is up from 53rd in 1990. The same report documents that a child born in the bottom 20% of the income distribution has a 4.8% of reaching the top 20%. And finally, Indianapolis ranks 220 in racial inclusion (out of 274 cities).

  • There has been an 80% increase in poverty over the last decade and according to the Federal Reserve of Chicago, the Black poverty rate is more than twice the poverty rate of white households.

  • According to the UWCI, 45% of families in Marion County are either below the poverty line (19%) or ALICE families (26%).

Proposed Action Items:

  • MWBE contract and spend data should be posted on the city’s website at a regular interval.

  • We would like an understanding of how the city collects its MWBE data, specifically what is the total number of available contracts that are up for bid in a year and what departments adhere to the MWVDOBE goals. This information should be publicly available.

  • We would like to have the Equal Opportunity Advisory Board host joint information sessions with the AACI on the process for filing discrimination claims.

  • We would like to host, in concert with the Office of Minority and Women Business Development, semi-annual bidders and capacity-building conferences to prepare minority contractors to do business with the city.

  • We are interested in the results of the disparity study and any plans for implementation of recommendations.

  • The mayor should encourage GIPC to partner with AACI on examining issues of economic inclusion.

Food Insecurity

Aspiration: A reduction of Indy residents facing food insecurity by 50% in 2 years.Concerns:

  • SAVI (Social Asset & Vulnerability Index) reports that nearly 200,000 residents experience food insecurity in Marion County daily.

  • A consensus on a shared definition of food deserts/food swamps is lacking. This definition obscures where they exist, what food delivery resources are needed in particular locations, as well as a shared goal for insuring access to affordable, nutritious, healthy and culturally relevant foods and related cooking supplies. Our specific areas of concern include:

    • Riverside

    • Crown Hill

    • Martindale-Brightwood

    • Forest Manor

    • Arlington Woods

    • CAFE/Far Eastside

    • Northwest Area

    • Twin Aires and south Indianapolis

    • Mappleton Fall Creek

  • Food insecurity threatens the dignity of city residents and the ability of people to function at their greatest potential.

Proposed Action Items:

  • Policy and financial investment solutions to increase the number of community assets such as supermarkets/grocery stores/food coops and other food delivery systems should be further explored. The impact of food stores upon home values, willingness to lives in neighborhoods, resident housing choices and mobility should be considered and factored into strategies to address food insecurity and access.

  • Broader community organization on food insecurity plans of thecCity and its partner organizations, beyond the Indy Food Council in order to help additional community partners understand the food system and its challenges.

  • The city should support more urban gardens throughout the city. The Cooperative Extension Service, master gardeners, and citizen gardener volunteers could be recruited to provide technical assistance to families and neighborhoods.

  • Update city ordinances to support farmers markets, food coops, gardens and other food insecurity solutions where necessary.

Additional Action Items:

  • Seek ways for the city to promote philanthropic support of institutions working on the fore- mentioned issues, specifically those in the Black community.

  • The mayor should provide a list of actions his administration has taken that specifically and positively impacted the black community.

  • There is a concern about the cleanliness of the city.

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