June 23, 2022

Indy commission seeks to ‘uplift the Black man,' address disparities


Photo from ICAAM presentation

Photo from ICAAM presentation

A commission that explores the social and economic conditions of Black men in Indianapolis presented its first report this week.

The Indianapolis Commission on African American Males was established in 2020 by the City-County Council.  The commission was originally established in the early 1990's and revived following the summer 2020 protests over racial equity.

The group identified and studied priority issues that face Black men. On the top of the list is a disproportionate rate of homicide. In 2020 more than 75 percent of homicide victims were Black.

Commission Chair Marshawn Wolley said Black men are much more likely to be victims of gun violence.

“When we think about nonfatal shootings we think about trauma, trauma that is happening at the neighborhood level, Wolley said. “We see that it is steadily increasing.”

The policy and research entity is meant to drive solutions and change across Marion County.

The report to the council touched on mental health, substance abuse and other root causes of violence. Better awareness of the new crisis number 988, to better connect with mental health care.  It also identified community conversations and trauma informed care at schools as two priorities.

The group says it is collaborating with the city’s Office of Public Health and Safety as well as other organizations involved in community efforts. Business and health equity initiatives were also discussed.

City-County Councilor Keith Graves said this work is important. “When you uplift the Black man, you uplift the Black family and when you uplift the Black family you uplift the City of Indianapolis,” Graves said.

Suggestions to further the work included nonprofit status for the commission and better  collaboration with existing advocates.

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