INDIANAPOLIS — National Night Out has been a part of American communities for nearly 40 years, but until recently, that wasn't the case on the far east side.
When grassroots leaders on the east side learned their community wasn't hosting a National Night Out, they came together and hosted its first party with a purpose last year with the promise that this year would be bigger. It provides a connection to area resources and police that serve the place they call home.
"I heard about it by accident, pretty much on social media, and I was a little thrown off at the fact that when I inquired about the east side, where was it going to be held on the east side so that I could attend, and there was no response in the community," Clare Pope said. "This night allowed the residents to get together and communicate and share interests and positive things that make the far east side more than whats been communicated."
Changing the narrative about the east side and what happens here often starts with changing what meets the eye, like positive interactions with people you usually only see during bad times.
"It was actually pretty cool. They did Milly Rock they asked my cheer to do the shoot," Javaeh Drye said.
The memory this community is left with today is part of the lasting legacy city leaders say truly defines the east side.
"We're about people, we're about love, we're about unity, we are about our youth. We're against crime, against violence. We're about coming together to show that we are so much more than what we have been stereotyped to be," La Keisha Jackson said.
The Far East Side Community Council hosted three National Nights Out, and organizers said they plan to participate again next year.
"And if we continue to send that message, we can continue to change the narrative on the east side of Indianapolis," Belinda Drake said.