Leader in preventing youth gun violence to be main speaker at Indiana Tech’s commencement ceremony in Fort Wayne

A leader in efforts to reduce youth gun violence in Indianapolis will share his thoughts as commencement speaker during Indiana Tech’s May 12 graduation ceremony at Memorial Coliseum.

The Rev. Charles R. Harrison of Indianapolis currently is president of the board of directors for the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition (ITPC), an organization working to reduce urban youth gun violence and to address important economic and social issues in Indianapolis and nearby areas, an Indiana Tech news release said.

The ITPC focuses its work in three areas, it said on its website, https://www.indytenpoint.org/what-we-do:

• Faith walks: Members try to prevent violence by interacting with young people likely to get involved in gun violence. Faith Patrol Team members try to persuade the young people they can turn their lives around. Team members also can refer youth for jobs and education.

• Re-entry programming: ITPC helps ex-offenders get jobs and provides an avenue for them to give back after turning their lives around while incarcerated.

• Homicide support: IPTC sends its Street Outreach Workers to homicide scenes to assist police by helping to control and comfort people at the crime scene. The outreach workers also begin discussions with people to discourage retaliation and to encourage working with law enforcement to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice.

The ITPC has been recognized as a model program nationally, the Indiana Tech news release said. In 2016, the organization received the national FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award, which is given annually to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to their local communities.

Harrison, who is a Jeffersonville native, has served more than 30 years in ministry, the news release said. He has been senior pastor of Barnes United Methodist Church in Indianapolis since 1993.

Harrison’s other community activities include serving as a chaplain for the Indiana State Police and on the boards of directors for Metro Ministry and the Board of Ordain Ministry of the South Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.

During Indiana Tech’s commencement ceremony, the university’s board of trustees will present Harrison with an honorary doctorate for his many years of service, the news release said.