The Interchurch Community in the News

CIC — Indianapolis interfaith community remembers the man who brought them together
, Inspiration

CIC — Indianapolis interfaith community remembers the man who brought them together

“When you think of people who make a difference in life, people who do not have a negative bone in their bodies, that was Shahid,” said K.P. Singh, an Indianapolis based artist and practicing Sikh who worked with Athar founding the original Interfaith Alliance. “He exuded kindness and happiness to all others.

Overdose Lifeline — Overdose deaths decrease, antidote credited
, Newsmakers

Overdose Lifeline — Overdose deaths decrease, antidote credited

In looking at opioid overdose deaths, Vigo County experienced 16 in 2014 and 15 opioid OD deaths in 2015, but then saw an alarming increase to 26 deaths in both 2016 and 26 in 2017.

CHIP — Advocates say amount of homeless teens in Indy may be underreported
, Newsmakers

CHIP — Advocates say amount of homeless teens in Indy may be underreported

“That’s one in fifty young adults and one in one hundred youth,” said Alan Witchey, Executive Director of CHIP who compared local findings with national averages. “This may only be 20 percent of the total population in the city of youth and young adults who are homeless every year.”

JCRC — Response to hateful graffiti in Indianapolis was inspiring
, Inspiration

JCRC — Response to hateful graffiti in Indianapolis was inspiring

We heard from the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Community Relations Council, gay rights groups, Urban League reps. All said about the same thing. We will not sit quietly while such hateful acts take place in our community. The standing room only crowd interrupted each speaker with rounds of applause.

Overdose Lifeline — Opioid education proposed for district schools
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Overdose Lifeline — Opioid education proposed for district schools

Laura Widman, a researcher at N.C. State University, presented the plan “This is (Not) About Drugs,” an education program by Indiana-based Overdose Lifeline Inc., a nonprofit that focuses on people and communities affected by addiction.

CIC — CIC Strongly Condemns Vandalism At Congregation Shaarey Tefilla
, Inspiration

CIC — CIC Strongly Condemns Vandalism At Congregation Shaarey Tefilla

Center for Interfaith Cooperation has strongly condemned vandalism at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, a synagogue in Carmel Indiana. In a statement, the CIC termed the incident as shocking- a blatant act of hatred…

JCRC — DespiteEven as Indiana lawmakers from both parties continue to echo Gov. Eric Holcomb’s call for hate crime legislation, the deep divisions that foiled previous attempts to pass a bias-motivated crime bill appear to still be entrenched.  Monday, Holcomb announced his intention to get a hate crime bill through the Statehouse during the 2019 General Assembly session. He said he would be meeting with legislators, corporate leaders and citizens to find consensus so Indiana can join the 45 other states that have statutes regarding crimes motived by hate or bias.  “No law can stop evil,” Holcomb said, “but we should be clear that our state stands with the victims and their voices will not be silenced.”  Holcomb made his public statement of support for hate crime legislation following an act of vandalism at a Carmel synagogue over the weekend. An outbuilding at the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla was spray-painted with Nazi symbols.  Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature have since issued statements reiterating the governor’s view. But Democrats noted that while they have proposed and supported hate crime measures, their colleagues across the aisle have resisted and failed to take action in getting a bill passed.  “(The Democrats) have persistently pursued bias-motivated crime legislation in the Indiana Senate, and each year our legislation is ignored by the majority party with promises of future consideration,” said Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson.  Incoming Senate president Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, said he is pleased to collaborate with Holcomb and the House of Representatives to continue the work of crafting “legislation that mirrors our Hoosier hospitality.”  Conversely, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, voiced support for the victims but was noncommittal about passing a law.  “This summer, the Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code will take another look at the issue of bias-motivated crimes and identify opportunities for legislative consensus,” Bosma said. “Indiana Judges already have the ability to enhance sentences based on a criminal’s motivation when presented with evidence of bias, but perhaps more needs to be done to clarify and highlight this existing provision.”  Also Monday, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill released a 761-word op-ed also calling for the Legislature to pass a law that “criminalizes hateful conduct.”  However, his position mirrors the opposition to hate crime bills that these measures carve out special protections for select groups. The list of protected classes often included in the proposed legislation is seen as excluding individuals who are part of a majority.  “My proposal differs from many other so-called hate-crimes proposals in that it avoids entirely the exercise of separating ‘protected groups’ from ‘non-protected,’” Hill wrote. “Why should some groups receive greater protection from hateful conduct than others?”  For community organizations pushing for a bias-motivated crime bill, the removal of the specific protected groups would be unacceptable. David Sklar, director of government affairs for the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, called it a non-starter.  Hate crime bills that have been introduced in the Indiana Legislature in the past have included a list of characteristics identifying the protected classes. The bills specify that individuals or groups could have their sentences enhanced if they commit a criminal act that targets others because of their religion, race, gender and ethnicity. Holcomb’s support, hate crimes bill lacks unity
, Newsmakers

JCRC — DespiteEven as Indiana lawmakers from both parties continue to echo Gov. Eric Holcomb’s call for hate crime legislation, the deep divisions that foiled previous attempts to pass a bias-motivated crime bill appear to still be entrenched. Monday, Holcomb announced his intention to get a hate crime bill through the Statehouse during the 2019 General Assembly session. He said he would be meeting with legislators, corporate leaders and citizens to find consensus so Indiana can join the 45 other states that have statutes regarding crimes motived by hate or bias. “No law can stop evil,” Holcomb said, “but we should be clear that our state stands with the victims and their voices will not be silenced.” Holcomb made his public statement of support for hate crime legislation following an act of vandalism at a Carmel synagogue over the weekend. An outbuilding at the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla was spray-painted with Nazi symbols. Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature have since issued statements reiterating the governor’s view. But Democrats noted that while they have proposed and supported hate crime measures, their colleagues across the aisle have resisted and failed to take action in getting a bill passed. “(The Democrats) have persistently pursued bias-motivated crime legislation in the Indiana Senate, and each year our legislation is ignored by the majority party with promises of future consideration,” said Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson. Incoming Senate president Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, said he is pleased to collaborate with Holcomb and the House of Representatives to continue the work of crafting “legislation that mirrors our Hoosier hospitality.” Conversely, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, voiced support for the victims but was noncommittal about passing a law. “This summer, the Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code will take another look at the issue of bias-motivated crimes and identify opportunities for legislative consensus,” Bosma said. “Indiana Judges already have the ability to enhance sentences based on a criminal’s motivation when presented with evidence of bias, but perhaps more needs to be done to clarify and highlight this existing provision.” Also Monday, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill released a 761-word op-ed also calling for the Legislature to pass a law that “criminalizes hateful conduct.” However, his position mirrors the opposition to hate crime bills that these measures carve out special protections for select groups. The list of protected classes often included in the proposed legislation is seen as excluding individuals who are part of a majority. “My proposal differs from many other so-called hate-crimes proposals in that it avoids entirely the exercise of separating ‘protected groups’ from ‘non-protected,’” Hill wrote. “Why should some groups receive greater protection from hateful conduct than others?” For community organizations pushing for a bias-motivated crime bill, the removal of the specific protected groups would be unacceptable. David Sklar, director of government affairs for the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, called it a non-starter. Hate crime bills that have been introduced in the Indiana Legislature in the past have included a list of characteristics identifying the protected classes. The bills specify that individuals or groups could have their sentences enhanced if they commit a criminal act that targets others because of their religion, race, gender and ethnicity. Holcomb’s support, hate crimes bill lacks unity

For community organizations pushing for a bias-motivated crime bill, the removal of the specific protected groups would be unacceptable. David Sklar, director of government affairs for the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, called it a non-starter.

JCRC — Rabbi: Vandalism triggered “outpouring of support”
, Newsmakers

JCRC — Rabbi: Vandalism triggered “outpouring of support”

Lindsey Mintz, Executive Director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, says passing that law is more important now than ever, to “send a message.” “The state of Indiana from policy leaders on down will not stand for acts of hate based on bias,” said Mintz.”

MAI — Carmel hate crime: Mayor asks residents to fly flags to show solidarity against ‘this horrific act of vandalism’
, Newsmakers

MAI — Carmel hate crime: Mayor asks residents to fly flags to show solidarity against ‘this horrific act of vandalism’

“Hoosier hospitality has no room for hate,” said Aliya Amin, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana.

JCRC — Anti-Semitic graffiti found at Carmel synagogue
, Newsmakers

JCRC — Anti-Semitic graffiti found at Carmel synagogue

The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council is working closely with the congregation to offer assistance and support. The organization has also reached out to other Indianapolis-area congregations to ensure that they are taking the necessary security precautions.