We Make Indiana town hall pushes for a safer community in St. Joseph County

NOW: We Make Indiana town hall pushes for a safer community in St. Joseph County

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The Saint Joseph County Chapter of Faith in Indiana hosted a town hall Sunday to make a call for public action towards improving the state's responses to crises. Local faith leaders and people who are impacted in the community came together for the 'We Make Indiana' event, with the main goal of collecting funds and support from local elected officials for a state-wide crisis response system that would help the community be safer and healthier.

'Help, not handcuffs' was the theme for Sunday's We Make Indiana town hall, pushing for a safer community that provides more help for those that struggle with mental health or addiction. The main initiative being funding for a state-wide crisis response system.

“We want to get our mayors, our city-council members, our elected officials, even our sheriff to fully commit and to have sustainable funding for our statewide crisis response center, so that families are not affected," says member of Faith in Indiana, Dion Payne-Miller. “Our lives are at stake here; our families lives are at stake here.”

The crisis response system will address an issue that goes beyond just Saint Joseph County.

“There are people in our city and in our state who are dealing with mental health issues and also dealing with substance abuse, and we want them to know we care," says Claval Hunter, Host of We Make Indiana. "We don’t want any more handcuffs. We want them to be able to get the treatment that they need.”

Organizers of the event are especially passionate about the initiative because some know how it feels to be a victim of the current system.

“I know what it feels like to not be able to have your father at your games; not to be able to have your father at your high school graduation," says Payne-Miller. “We didn’t have a father always present because of this corrupt and frankly, irresponsible system."

The 250 community members that came out rose to their feet when State Senator Linda Rogers and state Representative Maureen Bauer pledged to secure funding for the crisis response system in the 2023 legislative budget.

“They are committed to working with Faith in Indiana and they are saying ‘we are going to find ways to help fund this crisis response system’, and so we got their commitment today," Hunter says.

On May 14th, community and faith leaders will be hosting a March for Peace that will address the high level of violence in South Bend. For more information, visit their website.

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