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As the Indianapolis Liberation Center faces the challenges of fundraising and moving to a new office, we have not shown any signs of slowing down our participation in the struggles of the people. Recent local media coverage highlights how our Center and its members and organizers remain at the forefront of a range of struggles, particularly around police murders and the proposed $1.56 billion 2024 budget that prioritizes the needs of the few over the many. We present this roundup of recent media coverage to emphasize that our capacity to do so comes not from any individual attribute, but from our form of organization and the power of the collective.
Organizers and members intervene in City-County Council debate
After the September 13 meeting at the City-County Council that focused on the budget’s allocation of almost 450 million to the police forces (the IMPD and Sheriffs combined), Dani Abdullah, currently one of the central organizers of the Liberation Center, put it plainly to Fox59. Stephen Lane, with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, one of the Center’s member-groups, brought up Herman Whitfield III who was electrocuted and suffocated to death by the IMPD in his parents’ living room in 2022. Herman III needed medical help, but he got the death penalty. As Lane told the same outlet, the IMPD’s budget should be “reallocated to people in mental health care issues and crises.”
In a separate interview with WTHR 13, Lane again brought up Whitfield III. “Considering the presentation Chief Taylor gave saying most of the IMPD calls are mental health care-related,” he said, “I would like to see more of the IMPD budget reallocated to treat people with mental health care issues.”
When our staff followed up with Abdullah, she stressed the need to increase funding for mental health care and noted the absurd salaries of cops and the radical disparity between their pay and that of social workers. “IMPD officers start off making 71k whereas social workers including the ones on MCAT, who work alongside IMPD officers, start off making about 40k if that. And yet, all throughout the meeting IMPD talked about caring about mental health without mentioning allocating any of the funds for mental health workers,” she said.
Eli Morey, also with PSL Indianapolis, stated that money being reallocated to address the majority of IMPD runs, which are mental health-related according to Chief Taylor, could save lives instead of stealing them like the IMPD does. The Indianapolis Business Journal quoted part of Morey’s public testimony, in which he asked the simple question: “Why not take money from the police budget and make [the Mobile Crisis Assistance Team, or MCAT] a full-time service so that another person experiencing a mental health crisis doesn’t get murdered?”
The only groups who spoke in favor of the IMPD budget for 2024 were IMPD cops and City-County Councilors, illuminating the deep disconnect our government has with meeting the true needs of working people.
The struggle for justice for Gary Harrell finally gets media attention thanks to community
Prosecutor Ryan Mears is another elected city official who is failing in his duty to meet the needs of his constituents. Noah Leininger, an organizer with the Indianapolis Liberation Center and PSL member, was interviewed by the Indianapolis Recorder discussing the rallies organized at the Prosecutor’s Office demanding Justice for Gary Harrell, an Indianapolis resident who was murdered by IMPD officer Douglas Correll. While the PSL and Indianapolis helped organize the rallies and other actions, it was and is a campaign driven by Gary Harrell’s community. We collaboratively worked out the demands cited in the article, including the demand that the Marion County Prosecutor, Ryan Mears, charge Correll, rather than a “special prosecutor” from outside the county and state.
Leininger told the Recorder‘s Jane Jackson, “We felt that this was necessary because his family has been very upset by this and wanting to have action take place to demand justice for Gary. We see that the prosecutor can charge people with crimes very quickly unless it’s the police.”
Leininger was referring specifically to Mears who, despite numerous community rallies to his office, has so far refused to meet with the community demanding answers about why he has not yet charged Correll.
The power of organization and collectivity
The individuals, volunteers, supporters, organizers, and groups that work with and through the Indianapolis Liberation Center organize and fight day in and day out for a city government that uses its vast resources to meet the needs of the people instead of to meet the needs of corporations and racist police. We do so through a particular form of organization, however, one that we constantly reassess to ensure we are operating at our highest capacity.
The power of organization and the collective commitment, sacrifice, and dedication of our members and supporters are what enable us to consistently maintain such a high level of activity while enduring the hardships that come with any expansion and move. However, we are not active for the sake of being active, nor are we activists because we want to be activists. We are organizers because we believe it is our historic duty to do everything we can to fight for the world that we and our communities deserve. History has proven that, if properly organized, the organized masses are the only force capable of achieving progress.
History has also proven that it is never the rulers or the privileged who initiate real radical transformation. Those with the least to lose, not those with the most to lose, are the agents of social change. Our Center is entirely independent and funded solely by our members, member groups, and people like you.
Please donate to our fundraiser so we can continue making an impact on this city! We encourage you to learn about or join the Center yourself because every new member or volunteer that joins hastens our project of building a city and world we deserve! we can build a better Indianapolis for all working and oppressed people!