500+ Faith Leaders And Families Address Gun Violence At Summit
Gun violence was the focus of a major meeting of more than 500 faith leaders and families in South Bend, Indiana, recently. The group was packed into Pentecostal Cathedral Church for a Peacemaker Summit
Hosted by Faith In Indiana, the event brought attracted several notables including Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is currently running for the Democratic nomination for president; South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski; South Bend Common Council President Tim Scott; and South Bend mayoral candidates James Mueller and Sean Haas. Several officials committed to fighting against gun violence, something South Bend has seen too often as of late.
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Gun violence has been on the rise in South Bend. From June through August, there were 50 criminally assaulted shootings in South Bend according to the South Bend Police Department. “Compared to 2018 with 16, there is a dramatic 34 shooting increase that is causing many in our community to take concern,” ABC 57 reported.
There has also been a spike, according to reports, in shootings by police. Earlier this year an Indiana police sergeant shot and killed a Black man suspected of breaking into cars. The officer resigned, but not until there were protests in the community over the shooting.
“The shooting roiled the Indiana community, drawing attention to years of racial tension between the South Bend Police Department and the city’s African American residents. It has also provided a glimpse into presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg‘s leadership as South Bend’s mayor,” CNN reported.
“By the end of the summer, 79 people have been killed or injured as a result of gun violence,” one faith leader explained.
“Trust between community members and the police is crucial for breaking cycles of violence among residents,” said Buttigieg, who says change won’t be easy.
“It will not be easy for some members of the law enforcement community and some members of the black community to hear each other,” Buttigieg said. “The place we need to get to is the awareness that we amount to one family responsible for one another’s well being.
Buttigieg says along with his commitment to bringing more gun reform to the city, and he has included $360,000 in next year’s budget for violence reduction initiatives.