Starting Monday, Indianapolis will implement a new strategy to encourage peace in neighborhoods that have seen increasing violence. James Wilson and Robert Fry will serve as the first two Indy Peacemakers.
The city “Peacemakers,” officially known as Community Resource Coordinators, will serve under the newly appointed Director of Community Violence Reduction Shonna Majors as part of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s violence reduction strategy.
Wilson and Fry have deep ties to communities that struggle with crime and violence. They say they will work to identify at-risk youth, coordinate with law enforcement, organize neighborhood walks and clean ups, and provide everyday grassroots outreach. Fry says the desire to help is personal.
“I want to let them know that there is a way out," Fry says. "I was headed down, you know, that alley of destruction and quite frankly I didn’t have a lot of people to reel me in and say hey, that’s not what you want to do.”
Majors says she doesn't want to prescribe what neighborhoods need, but work with community members to identify their concerns and what help they want from the city. She says she will soon hire two more Peacemakers, as well as select recipients for the Community Based Violence Prevention Partnership grant program, which will invest $300,000 into anti-violence local community organizations.