Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Black Expo and Crime: Matthew Tully Gets It

Matthew Tully pens an excellent column in today's The Indianapolis Star. In part, it reads:

Let's be honest.If the shootings that occurred Downtown last weekend had been tied to the Indiana Plumbers Expo, or one of a thousand other conventions, the follow-up discussion wouldn't be so difficult.


But we're talking instead about Indiana Black Expo and its annual Summer Celebration. So any discussion about the monumental problems tied to it gets bogged down in the treacherous issue of race.

It's a hard issue to discuss. I've ticked off an endless stream of readers during five years of writing columns about all sorts of issues, but even I got queasy at the idea of diving into this one.

It doesn't help that moronic and simplistic racists thrive on this kind of thing. They turn anonymous online forums into a 21st century version of KKK meetings and make it even harder to have an adult conversation.

That said, we can't let the delicate nature of this subject, or the words of a few racists, prevent us from finally having an honest, and perhaps painful, discussion about the ongoing problems related to Black Expo. Fear of having a blunt conversation, and fear of being labeled a racist, likely has prevented the city from adequately addressing this ongoing problem before now. And so we are subjected to national headlines about the 10 young people shot in the very Downtown that Indy's leaders so often point to as the thing that makes this city special.
This is similar to what Gary Welsh has been saying over at Advance Indiana.

So what is the city's and Indiana Black Expo's answer to the ongoing crime problem that occurs during Indiana Black Expo's two weeks?

It reeks of middle management pass-the-buck tactics.

They're forming a task force.

I wish I was joking.

On the task force, taken from a side-bar in The Star's article today:

Members chosen so far to serve on the Indiana Black Expo task force are:

» Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams.

» IMPD Deputy Chief Daryl Pierce.

» IMPD Cmdr. Karen Arnett.

» Indiana State Police Maj. Jeff Walker.

» Mark Miles, president and CEO of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership.

» Tamara Zahn, CEO of Indianapolis Downtown Inc.

» Jeff Sweet, manager of the Greater Indianapolis Hotel & Lodging Association.

» The Rev. Charles Harrison, Ten Point Coalition.

» LeDeanna Brown, president of Midwest Leak Magazine.

» Radio One disc jockey B-Swift.

» State Rep. Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis.

While Zahn said on WIBC that the task force is still forming, I can't say I'm impressed. Between Public Safety Director Frank Straub's suggestion of safety zones, and the line up so far, it looks like it'll be a lot of pandering, and a lot of do-nothings.

Pat Andrews of Had Enough Indy? also has an excellent post about Zahn's not-for-profit, Indianapolis Downtown Inc.

1 comment:

  1. Tully was completely correct that everyone is afraid of the race issue.

    And for Black Expo 2011, the city is spending more money on under cover police and gang patrols. Thanks for reminding me to stay away from downtown for the next ten days.


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