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Indiana Black Caucus Town Hall Addresses Questions On Racial Justice, COVID-19

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Hoosiers who attended the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus’s virtual town hall Thursday expressed concerns about racial justice and COVID-19.

The caucus spent much of the two-hour town hall reviewing legislation from the 2020 session and previewing its agenda for 2021 – including its justice reform plan. Some of the questions from the public included issues like reforming the cash bail system, raising teacher pay, and defunding the police.

Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) says she thinks “defund” is the wrong word to use.

“Maybe a major surgery and a facelift is a much better use of the term as it relates to the police department and the funding of it,” Pryor says.

READ MORE: What’s Driving This Moment In Indiana: Protest Organizers Discuss Demands For Change

Pryor and others suggested banning police use of military-grade equipment and shifting funds to social service providers.

Asked about the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan, several members – particularly those from northwest Indiana – said they thought the state is moving too fast.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.