INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – From the pulpit at Purpose of Life Ministries, Rev. Antonio Anderson used his portion of morning worship services Sunday to extol the success of a gun buyback program the day before that traded nearly $20,000 in gift cards for almost 200 guns.
“And with that program there was over 180 guns that were collected. So that’s 180 less weapons that can be used in a violent crime or some young person can steal out of somebody’s house,” said Rodriquez as his church celebrated Indy Ceasefire. “But I want to tell you, there was a young lady that came on yesterday and she came and she turned in her weapon because she was looking at committing suicide and she heard about the gun buyback program and she said, ‘This made me come and turn this weapon in because I was going to use it on myself,’ so we know that at least one life was spared because of that gun amnesty/gun buyback program.”
Spearheaded by the Public Safety Foundation with additional financial support from Mothers Against Violence and a surgeon from Community South Hospital, the gun buyback was able to hold on to half of its funds to undertake another program next year.
“That’s 181 guns that won’t be used in any kind of violent contact,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “If we see the kind of interest that was expressed yesterday, it’s a program that we may want to continue to fund.”
The gun buyback was the high point of a weekend that began with a job fair at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center and concluded with a handful of ministers from the Concerned Clergy preaching about peace to their congregations.
“That’s why we need you to be our peace in the streets. Momma be peace. Na-Na be peace. Grand daddy be peace. Son daughter be peace in the streets,” shouted Rev. Roy Higgins from the Purpose of Life pulpit. “As we look around the city of Indianapolis there’s so many things that are broke. As we look around the nation there are so many things that are broken.”
Donita Royal’s heart was broken five years ago when her son was gunned down.
She took the microphone at Purpose of Life to exhort the women of the congregation to stand up and lead the way to bring about a peace that begins in the home.
“Mothers, grandmothers, and I’m putting y’all on the front line, because right now in our community we need y’all,” she said. “Mothers. Queens. Its us right now. Our young men are dying. Our young black men are dying. The females, the young, lets straighten it out.
“So we got some new things going on in our community and it starts with us. Who’s gonna do it? Who’s gonna do it? Who’s gonna stand up? Lets strike it out. Lets strike it out.
“You be surprised what we can do. We got the power. Lets use our power. We got the spirit.”
Indy Ceasefire happened as two more murders were added to the city’s record-pace for criminal homicides including a killing outside the Ritz Lounge in the 2600 block of Harding Street and the death of a 19-year-old man at near Garfield Park.