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AG Curtis Hill joins Gary Leaders to Announce New Chapter of the TenPoint Coalition

Last updated on Saturday, May 12, 2018

(GARY) - Attorney General Curtis Hill Friday joined other leaders at a press conference in Gary, Indiana, to announce the launch of the newest TenPoint Coalition chapter. The Gary TenPoint Coalition becomes the organization’s first Indiana chapter located outside Indianapolis, where TenPoint has markedly reduced urban youth gun violence in neighborhoods where the initiative has been utilized.


Given Gary's ongoing efforts to improve public safety, the city is a natural fit for TenPoint's boots-on-the-ground approach to making neighborhoods safer one street at a time, Attorney General Hill said. The new chapter initially will focus its efforts in the Glen Park area of Gary and possibly another neighborhood to be announced later this year.


"The TenPoint Coalition has a proven track record of bringing peace to previously violent streets," Attorney General Hill said. "By maintaining a constant presence in troubled areas and getting to know residents, TenPoint's dedicated volunteers have helped restore hope to young people at risk of making destructive choices. Further, they have helped reform individuals who already have taken wrong turns in life."


Many of those now serving their communities as part of TenPoint are themselves people with difficult past experiences, including time spent incarcerated.


"TenPoint knows how to treat others with respect and dignity while at the same time expecting them to step up, be held accountable and become part of neighborhood solutions rather than neighborhood problems," Attorney General Hill said.

The Gary TenPoint Coalition is receiving seed money in the form of a $50,000 startup grant from the Indiana Drug Enforcement Association (IDEA), which itself last year received a $500,000 grant from the Office of the Attorney General to be used for such purposes. In addition, the Indianapolis TenPoint Coalition is receiving $16,000 from IDEA for the purpose of providing logistical training and support to the Gary chapter.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson expressed enthusiasm about the TenPoint Coalition's coming role in the city.

"Our faith leaders recognize that we must work together in our efforts to find solutions to the violent crimes occurring in our city. We can no longer act like armchair quarterbacks when it comes to the violence we are seeing far too often. The message is, it is everybody's job. We thank Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and the Indiana Drug Enforcement Association for their support of this important initiative in Gary and look forward to the TenPoint Coalition working with our law enforcement to encourage pushback against violence in our community."

The Rev. Charles Harrison, leader of the Indianapolis TenPoint Coalition, said he looks forward to being deeply involved with the Gary chapter.

"With 19 years of experience in Indianapolis, we have learned so many different lessons that we are eager to share with anyone interested enough to listen," Rev. Harrison said. "We just feel blessed to be able to help spread a proven model that saves lives and builds communities."

The coordinator of the TenPoint Coalition's newest chapter vowed to put into practice the principles that have made TenPoint successful elsewhere.

"We are inspired by the work that has occurred in Indianapolis, and based on that kind of success we are now eager to blaze our own trail here in Gary," said the Rev. Dyke Lee, pastor of First Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. "When you bring together city officials, police, the faith community and the everyday folks living in our neighborhoods, you have a partnership of stakeholders that offers real promise for the community."

Change won't happen overnight, cautioned Rev. Lee.

"We are all realistic enough to understand there is no silver bullet or single solution to youth violence," he said. "Society's problems are complex and deeply rooted. They require multifaceted solutions. For us to make any kind of difference will require hard work and commitment, but that's exactly what we are ready and willing to provide."

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