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This Week In News: Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Happy Wednesday! This is my favorite time of year. It finally feels like spring. The winter is finally (finally!) over. Plus, my birthday is Monday, April 29. So, you know, plan accordingly.

As I mentioned in last week's newsletter, we have collected and compiled your questions for the candidates running in the Tuesday, May 7, 2019 Marion County municipal primary election. After receiving dozens of votes, we've now sent out six questions for each of the candidates running for Indianapolis mayor and the 25 City-County Council seats.

However, I still need your help. I downloaded the information provided by each candidate to the Marion County Election Board. I used the information in this spreadsheet to call the candidates on the phone who I wasn't able to find a working email address for on Facebook, Twitter, or their campaign website. (Some have all three. Others have none of the above.) After speaking with several of the candidates over the phone, I was able to find contact information for almost all of the candidates. Even after all that, I was still unable to find working email addresses for the following candidates:

Indianapolis Mayor: Denise Paul Hatch (D)

District 2: Thye Petty (D)

District 4: Timothy Alan Knight (D)

District 5: Crystal Puckett (D)

District 13: Deanda Denise Yates (D)

District 17: Joseph Denney (D)

This Week In News: Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Rob Needs Your Help

(Note: Since we filmed that video on Monday I was able to speak with Rena Allen and I now have her email address. Sorry again for mispronouncing your first name.)

This morning, I contacted the Marion County Democratic Party to see if they could be of any assistance. I received the following reply from Caroline Ellert, executive director, regarding the last six candidates I am still missing: “Unfortunately I do not have contact info for these individuals, as they are not official party-endorsed candidates. I'm sorry I can't be of more help.”

So, I'm now resorting to regular mail in one last attempt to reach these candidates.

This Week In News: Wednesday, April 17, 2019

If you know the email addresses for any of them, please let me know at I want to include all the candidates in these races, and I want to make sure they get a chance to respond by the deadline of Friday, April 26.

Thank you to the candidates who have already returned responses! I have already received answers from Crista Carlino Zach Adamson, and John Barth. I will start publishing these as we receive more over the next few days.

In other news, my House of Burgess column last week had a poll I could use your help answering. I listed all the most locally and nationally challenged books, and asked readers to help me decide which one I should read. The poll is still open until Friday, so if you want to get involved, click here:

Finally, last week I sent you some of my favorite funk-related Tiny Desk concerts from NPR Music. Here's two more from the hip-hop genre: The first is from Buddy, a singer and rapper I had never heard of before. After hearing this, I sought out his 2018 album, Harlan & Alondra, which is chock full of bangers. The next is from Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko. I had heard of Tech N9ne before, but I had never given him a chance before now. And, I had never heard of Krizz Kaliko before, but I'm an instant fan of both now. The way Krizz is able to switch seamlessly from technical chopper-style rapping to beautiful singing is incredible. When my wife, Ash, and I played the live version of the final song, “Speedom,” for our children, we saw dance moves we'd never conceived of before.

Have a great rest of your day!



A Grand Finale for Carnaval at Jazz Kitchen

A Grand Finale for Carnaval at Jazz Kitchen

2019 marks Cultural Cannibals' final Brazilian Carnaval celebration.

Artur Silva has fond memories of Carnaval in Brazil.

“For weeks prior to Carnaval,  you’re already bumping into parades in the streets,” says the Indy-based visual artist. “It’s a hot month there in Brazil, so people are just drinking beer and partying in the streets.”

For 10 years now, Silva and Cultural Cannibals counterpart DJ Kyle Long have brought the sights and sounds of Carnaval to Indianapolis for a party of grand proportions. This Saturday, March 2, at the Jazz Kitchen, however, will unfortunately be the event’s last go-around.

Like always, partygoers can expect a samba band with samba dancers, as well as music curated by DJ Kyle Long. In addition to the tunes, Silva will have Carnaval visuals on display, as a big screen also shows the Carnaval parade in Rio de Janeiro. In the spirit of the celebration, Brazilian food and drink will be available for purchase too.

Rio Carnival 2018 [HD] - Floats & Dancers | Brazilian Carnival | The Samba Schools Parade

Celebrated every year before Lent, various versions of Carnaval are celebrated around the world. In Brazil, Silva explains that the combination of cultures really makes the shindig something special. “It all comes from the same roots in Europe,” Silva says. “But the interesting thing that happened in the Americas is the addition of indigenous cultures that have been mixed in with these European ties.”

“This only happened after slavery ended and African-descended people could really maneuver themselves in culture and make open and free contributions,” he adds. “It became a party of liberation.”

In particular, Silva says the visual aesthetic of Carnaval has had an effect on his artwork.

“It’s a festival of colors, and I think that partially comes from the nature there in Brazil,” he says. “It’s just contrasting. You see orange walls with incredibly green trees filled with white flowers.”

A Grand Finale for Carnaval at Jazz Kitchen

When Long and Silva first started their Carnaval celebration in Indy, the intent was to make it as true to Brazilian culture as possible. “This would only make sense for me if it wasn’t sanitized,” Silva says. “Sometimes I close my eyes when the band is playing, and it feels like I’m down in Brazil.” Over the years, he and Long created a cherished Indy tradition.

“People come to the party, and sometimes they say, ‘I can’t believe this is Indianapolis,’’ Silva says. “I’m like, ‘I can. This is the Indianapolis that I know. It is diverse, and it is hungry for different things.’”

In reflecting on a decade of Carnaval fun in Indy, Silva is honored that the local community has embraced this celebration that is so near and dear to his heart.

“It’s probably the best project I’ve done in my life, as far as long-term projects go,” he says. “It’s fascinating to see the combination of people that comes to enjoy this.”

“It debunks ideas of Indianapolis being a monoracial place,” he continues. “It’s a place with diversity. Everyone here is dying to experience other cultures.”

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Solidarity Event at Local Mosque Brings Jews and Muslims Together

Solidarity Event at Local Mosque Brings Jews and Muslims Together

Rabbi Brett Krichiver of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation speaking at Masjid Al-Fajr with Rabbi Dennis Sasso of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck to the left.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 22, rabbis from three Jewish synagogues in Indianapolis and their congregants began arriving at the Masjid Al-Fajr Mosque, 2846 Cold Spring Road.   

It was a mostly sunny day, if a little brisk, as the congregants gathered together for the solidarity event.

A week earlier, on March 15, a self-described white supremacist killed 50 Muslim worshippers and injured 50 others observing Friday prayers at the Linwood Islamic Center and the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.  

As 1 p.m. neared, approximately 40 congregants of three different synagogues and their friends gathered in the grass by the side of the mosque adjacent to the parking lot. They displayed signs reading “Jewish Hoosiers Stand with You” and “Stronger Together” to Muslim worshipers as they arrived for Friday prayers.

On Oct. 29, 2018, at the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, Masjid Al-Fajr’s Imam Ahmed Alamine spoke from the podium to the overflow crowd in the synagogue’s sanctuary, offering words of solace and support after a white supremacist murdered 11 worshipers and injured seven others at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation Hosts Memorial

But on this day, Imam Alamine was traveling abroad. It was Halima Al-Khattab, president of Masjid Al-Faji mosque, who addressed the Jewish congregants that had gathered to offer their solace and support in the wake of the New Zealand atrocity.

“It is so heartwarming to know that we have support from our friends, who we can truly call our friends because we’re having meals together and building relationships, and we hope that this is just the beginning, that we will continue to get to know one another,” she said. “Thank you. I don’t know what to say other than thank you.”

Solidarity Event at Local Mosque Brings Jews and Muslims Together

Halima Al-Khattab greeting participants in solidarity event

Rabbi Scott Fox of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation also talked to those gathered about his relationship with Al-Khattab and her family.

“Just a few short weeks ago our families joined together for dinner, and it was part of an initiative to bring members and leaders of the Jewish community, the evangelical Christian community, and the Muslim community together not for major projects,” he said.

Solidarity Event at Local Mosque Brings Jews and Muslims Together

Solidarity event participants

The initiative, he explained, wasn’t about accomplishing major initiatives, but for connection and relationship building.

“Here in Indianapolis, we are blessed to have a community with deep connections, a community where we come together not together as members of different religious faiths but as friends,” he continued. “My family has a saying. They say, you’ll come together when there are funerals and tragedies. Make sure you gather together for weddings as well.”

The rabbis present at the mosque were Benjamin Sendrow from Congregation Shaaray Teffila, Dennis Sasso from Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, and Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation’s Senior Rabbi Brett Krichiver, in addition to Associate Rabbi Scott Fox. Also present were staffers of the Jewish Community Relations Council, including executive director Lindsey Mintz.

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As the Jewish congregation members stood holding signs, Masjid Al-Fajr congregants came up to them, using the Hebrew greeting shalom, meaning peace, and some Jews said the Arabic salaam in response, also meaning peace, as they all shook hands. 

“Literally the words [shalom aleichem] in Hebrew mean peace unto you,” Rabbi Scott Fox explained to NUVO. “What that means to me is that even though we have different ways of saying the same thing, there’s this beautiful connection that we have, this beautiful shared heritage that we have with one another that the language shares in content. But, even the sound of the letters [are] so near to one another; it’s a symbol of how near these faiths are to one another and to the communities as well.”

According to Fox, the impetus for the solidarity event came from Rabbi Krichiver, which was not hard to institute, because of the relationship building that had already taken place.  

“We had been speaking about what to do in the wake of such horrific tragedy,” said Fox. “And Rabbi Krichiver said I really want to be there and gather with them, to be there in solidarity because they offer words of prayer, be with them as they offer words of prayer and say we are with you.”  

At 1:30 p.m., the members of the Jewish community entered into the mosque and stood with their signs in the hallway as Muslim worshipers took off their shoes and entered into the mosque sanctuary.

Later the Jewish congregants came back outside as Friday prayers were still ongoing and Rabbi Dennis Sasso spoke on the steps outside the mosque entrance to a mixture of Jewish and Muslim congregants, to bring the solidarity event to a close.

“Yesterday was the Jewish holiday of Purim,” he said. “Purim reminds us each year of the story 4,500 years ago when an evil despot sought to annihilate the Jews of the realm. And, the story is told in the Book of Esther, and it marks the first, and not the last time that Jews are accused of dual loyalties. It is also a charge leveled against American Muslims today.”

It’s a story, he explains, that repeats itself through history, and one that Jews retell every year to celebrate survival, and in the hope of vanquishing evil.

“Yet evil is persistent; New Zealand, Pittsburgh … how many times how many places,” he said.  “Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, other expressions of hatred and bigotry continue to raise their ugly head and cast their deadly shadow. Today we gather to support our Muslim brothers and sisters and mourn the death of innocents. We gather to say no to prejudice and hatred and to say yes to acceptance and love; to say no to fear and suspicion; to say yes to confidence and trust. To say no to tyranny and oppression; to say yes to freedom and justice.”

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