September 4, 2019

Local Clergy Urge Mayoral Candidates to Address Racism

Rev. David Green Sr. addresses Mayor Joe Hogsett and state Sen. Jim Merritt about the social issues created by systemic racism. - Darian Benson/WFYI

Rev. David Green Sr. addresses Mayor Joe Hogsett and state Sen. Jim Merritt about the social issues created by systemic racism.

Darian Benson/WFYI

A group of Indianapolis clergy urges the city’s mayoral candidates to address systemic racism more directly. Baptist Ministers Alliance and Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis presented their perspectives to incumbent Democrat Mayor Joe Hogsett and Republican state Sen. Jim Merritt Wednesday.

Rev. David Greene Sr. says people want to avoid the race discussion when they address community problems.

“But avoiding it only creates a great divide and greater separation in our city,” Greene says. “Today we want to emphasize just a few of the deserts that have negatively impacted African Americans in Indianapolis.”

Deserts are communities that lack resources and opportunities the majority of the other communities enjoy.  The group presented the mayoral candidates with desired changes in education, public safety and economic policy.

Those include school policies that rely on suspension or expulsion to respond to discipline problems. IUPUI professor Jim Scheurich says they typically target children of color.

We don’t see these kinds of schools in Carmel or Fishers,” Sheurich says. “These kinds of schools make it easy to swiftly exclude any students the school sees as possibly lowering their school grade.”

The public safety and economic segments focused on diversity within IMPD and black unemployment rates.

Hogsett and Merritt were also invited to speak with the clergy groups individually in the coming weeks.

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