Neighbor Story: Lamont
Lamont was born in 1968 and grew up in Indianapolis, living in different homes through the years. All of them were around The Meadows neighborhood. From the 1940s to the early 1960s the neighborhood was considered a highly desirable community in which to live. “Yet, by the 1980s, the one-time suburban destination became a textbook case of urban blight. Though the Meadows played a large role in integrating the city, census tract data from 1950 to 1980 showed a significant change in the racial character of the area as many white families fled the Meadows area for the counties adjacent to Marion County. Years of neglect altered the landscape as the area fell victim to crime and decay, earning a reputation as one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the Midwest,” according to the digital archive Encyclopedia of Indianapolis.
“I rode my bike all around that neighborhood and there were some good times. My parents had struggled for racial equity. Their time was marching and Dr. King. What was around me was different. I saw drugs, child abuse, anger, disappointment, and violence in the neighborhood that I grew up in. I was molested when I was twelve. I do not believe in making excuses. I do think that there was slavery, then lynchings and segregation, and then hope, but the time of hope didn’t change this world enough. The people around me acted out in anger, without hope,” shared Lamont.
While Lamont became a Marine and took some college courses. He feels that he was haunted by his past. He was haunted, in his opinion, by pain that was handed down and by the effects of growing up in Indianapolis and not being white. He is quick to tell you that he does not want to make excuses. Lamont, currently homeless, knows that many of his choices and dwelling in the past led him to be dealing with some of his struggles today. He regularly visits Horizon House, a housing resource center and housing program on East Washington Street. “Horizon House staff were joyful when they saw me. They are such good spirited people. I feel their love for me. I have love for them. My next goal is to love and understand myself. I feel confident in my life and future because of my relationship with God. I don’t look at the past any more. Right now I’m free. I would tell others, ‘if your past is bad, do not dwell on it. Make new memories.’”