Tony Mason

The Indianapolis Urban League is issuing this statement in response to the FOX59 news report yesterday implying the Indianapolis Urban League (IUL) unconditionally supports the proposed Emergency Public Safety Summit announced Monday, February 10, 2020 by Indianapolis City County Councilman Brian Mowery on the Plaza at City Market.

The Indianapolis Urban League made clear to Councilman Mowery, via email yesterday, that its general support for the concept of an Emergency Public Safety Summit was conditioned on these important considerations, stating:

“We remain committed to utilize our convening power and credibility as an organization to assist all who are sincerely dedicated to addressing problems in our community but such efforts must be genuinely inclusive and representative of all who are stakeholders inclusive of victims, religious and civic organizations, non-profit service providers, law enforcement, mental health providers, employers, law enforcement, and political leadership.

Toward that end, the IUL will participate in these study efforts but, it is imperative that the group must be broadly representative and must minimally include: families of homicide victims an impacted citizens, youthful Black males, bi-partisan members of the Indianapolis City-County Council, the Office of the Mayor, IMPD, the Minority Police Officers Association, FOP, AACI, and neighborhood leaders of various persuasions,” Mark Russell, Director of Advocacy and Family Services.   

The IUL further clarifies that the city of Indianapolis cannot use incarceration as the sole strategy to address this urgent community problem of criminal homicide.  We do not support incarceration as the solution. We do support a strategy that incorporates a holistic concept that addresses root cause issues that move the city to reduced incidents of violence.  Root causes include, but are not limited to, re-entry challenges, lack of access to living wage jobs (especially for ex-offenders), disproportionate unemployment and underemployment in the African American community, domestic violence, access to mental health and substance abuse counseling, and lack of access to basic necessities such as food, and  affordable housing.

“We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past and echoes of past practices in Indianapolis of attempting to solve problems but not involving those most directly affected,” states Tony Mason, president & CEO, Indianapolis Urban League. “The IUL, remains true and committed to mission of positively empowering communities and changing lives one person at a time.”

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