After a week of protest, Indy community reacts to movement toward change

By Troy Washington | WRTV 6 (ABC, Indianapolis)
June 8, 2020

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INDIANAPOLIS — After days of protesting the streets of Indianapolis are pretty quiet but that doesn’t mean the movement toward equality has slowed down.

“Black people have been feeling alone for a long time,” Victor Malone, a barbershop customer, said.

It doesn’t appear that’s the case any more. The world was a witness as people from different walks of life stood side by side and marched alongside the black community.

“Faith in Indiana, we’ve been pushing for some policy changes with our police department,” Kenneth Sullivan Jr., pastor of News Directions Church, said. “It started with the massive march we conducted that happened the same week George Floyd was killed.”

Sullivan is one of the ministers at the helm of the movement toward change. A pastor by calling but a barber by trade, he showed where black men are going to exhale and decompress these days.

“We have the momentum and opportunity to begin to push from protesting to policy change,” Sullivan said. “Now you’re beginning to see some healing take place. We need to keep striking while the iron is hot.”

When the clippers start going, there’s no telling what wisdom will follow.

“I was telling him it’s up to his generation to make a change because people my age have experienced it the bulk of our lives,” Rick Taylor, barbershop manager, said.

In a way, getting a haircut can become therapy during a time when everyone is trying to understand the current climate and process their feelings while surviving a pandemic.

“That could have been me or my little brother,” Malone said. “It is hopeful to have so many people standing with us.”

Over on Kessler we caught another barber hard at work.

“The world beats you up you need some place to just breathe and unwind,” Steve Hicks, barbershop owner, said. “I’m hopeful. I think we are going in the right direction. We had to go through this tension. It’s like a diamond. You have to put a lot of pressure on those to shine. I think we had to put the pressure on society.”

Both of the barbershops are newly re-opened after surviving the COVID-19 pandemic.

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