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Faith In Indiana Holds "Families First Town Hall"

Araceli Gomez-Aldana

Over 300 Allen County residents gathered at Saint Joseph's Church in Fort Wayne Sunday for a “Families First” town hall. 

Faith in Indiana hosted the gathering to share their efforts in what they call a Families First Policy Platform.

Local church leaders and community organizers gave remarks along with testimonials from community members affected by gun violence, incarceration or deportation.

National and state legislators were invited to attend the town hall but were not present. Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry was also on the event’s agenda, but was not in attendance.

Laura Canton, of Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, spoke about Faith in Indiana’s agenda which includes: funding Pre-K education, mental health and addictions programs, protecting health care for Hoosiers and finding a solution to gun violence. 

Canton asked the candidates to sign the pledge stating they: “reject the use of scare tactics by elected officials who blame hard times on poor families, black people and new immigrants.”

“If you commit to work with Faith in Indiana to implement the Families First agenda and meet with us within the first 30 days of taking office, will you please come up and sign the pledge,” said Canton.

Credit Araceli Gomez-Aldana
Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux speaks to the crowd at Saint Joseph's Church in Fort Wayne.

The only invited elected official who did attend was Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux.

During Faith in Indiana's Family First Convention in April, he signed a pledge ending the practice of detaining people in jail for the federal bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement or I.C.E.

At the town hall he reiterated his stance to not hold people in jail unless there is a warrant or probable cause.

This practice coincides with Indiana's Supreme Court's recent decision that holding people beyond the time when they otherwise should be released is unconstitutional.

Gladieux said the county currently doesn’t have anyone on hold and he says it doesn’t happen often.

“I understand your concerns, I don’t believe in scare tactics and I don’t believe in ripping babies out of the arms out of the arms of somebody that is not here legally,” said Gladieux. “I answer to you. I don’t answer to politicians.”

Those in attendance were invited to register to vote, sign up for canvassing shifts and attend other town hall meetings.

Faith in Indiana represents 60 congregations and 17 different denominations state-wide.

Allen County residents listen to local leaders and community testimonials at Faith in Indiana's "Families First Town Hall."