Members of the religious coalition Faith in Indiana gathered at the Statehouse Tuesday to do two things: call on Gov. Eric Holcomb to use part of Indiana’s share of the American Rescue Plan on gun violence intervention programs, and ask for a summer study committee to revisit proposed legislation for driving cards.
Of the nearly $6 billion Indiana will receive from the American Rescue Plan, Faith In Indiana is demanding the governor send $117 million – or 2 percent – to gun violence intervention programs.
Darian Bouie is a senior pastor at Progressive Baptist Church in Indianapolis. Some cities already have gun violence intervention, but he said there is a push for a statewide program.
"But we want to make sure it has the necessary funding, because some times, things fall flat – if you would – because they don’t have the steam to push it all the way through," Bouie said.
The American Rescue Plan is for recovery from COVID-19, and Bouie said Indiana has seen the ripples of gun violence exacerbated by the pandemic.
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Faith in Indiana also asked legislators to send driving cards – identification that isn’t tied to citizenship or lawful status – to a summer study committee.
Two bills related to driving cards – House Bill 1138 and Senate Bill 319 – introduced this session were never given hearings in committee. But Faith in Indiana board member Olivia Reynoso said if they keep pushing for driving cards, eventually it will make it through.
"Es muy importante cuando tú repites las cosas y estás pidiendo la ayuda ... Eso tiene poder. Entonces, si la gente, si los legisladores lo escuchan y lo vuelven a escuchar y lo vuelven a escuchar, nos van a hacer caso a un dado momento que se cansen de escuchar la necesidad que hay en la comunidad," Reynoso said. "[It's important when you repeat that you need help ... That has power. So if people, if legislators listen to it over and over again, then there will be a moment when they're tired of hearing of the need in the community.]"
She said driving cards would break down a barrier for accessing public health and safety for undocumented or underdocumented Hoosiers.