Youth Group Speaks Out Against Indy Black Expo Violence

By John W. Davis

July 19, 2010 Updated Jul 20, 2010 at 12:38 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Fighting to stop violence in the black community.

Saturday's shootings at the Black Expo in Indianapolis have leaders from a local youth group speaking out.

The Renaissance Baptist Youth Group meets every Monday night at 6 p.m. at the Renaissance Baptist Church on South Hanna Street.

The meeting is an open discussion, followed by bible study.

"(I) don't believe in violence in general and it's even worse seeing that it's young black males doing it to each other," said Youth Group President Eric Latham.

"It's sad that a lot of our young kids are searching for the wrong thing and depending on the wrong thing," Youth Group Advisor Michael Latham.

There is a West African proverb that says "it takes a village to raise a child".

"Kids in the streets now they don't really have good examples. They go to their friends for questions for certain things. I went to my dad who is a pastor," Youth Group President.

Youth leaders from Renaissance Baptist Church, which is located on the city's south east side, believes the black community needs more black male role models to set positive examples.

They say their youth group is aiming to do just that by molding young black males into young black adults.

"Get to know what's on there mind and help them set good goals as far as staying in school and getting into college and getting a good job," Youth Group Member Adoness Brown.

The youth group also discussed the ten boys, all between the ages of 10 to 18, that were shot in Indianapolis at the Black Expo Saturday night.

All of the victims are expected to be ok.

Life long Renaissance Baptist Member Paul Morris said he is a first hand example of positive mentorship.

"(The church) kept me out of trouble and (from) doing some of the things I shouldn't have been doing. I probably could say I would have been somewhere else right now if I wouldn't have been here," said Youth Group Member Paul Morris.

"I tell them what's right. Tell them that they need to speak with their parents as well about it. Parents should be involved in their lives," said Youth Group Advisor Quenten Price.

"I believe that it starts at home starts with training. If you don't train your child someone will... so it is up to us as parents whether you are a young parent or not, know where you're kids are, sit down with them, have dinner with them, talk to them, educate them on things in life and be on guard that your kids do watch you. So If you can not live what you preach in front of your kids don't expect them to," said Michael Latham.

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