Teen anti-violence group working to spread to other Indy high schools
INDIANAPOLIS, IND– A group working to combat youth violence, started after the fatal shooting of two Warren Central High School students, is working to spread to other schools to help cut down on teen violence.
The high school seniors working to expand the group, We LIVE Indy, are united through the devastating but all too real issue.
“We see a lot, a lot of close people to us lost in senseless acts,” Brandon Warren, a senior at Warren Central said.
“It needs to stop honestly. Of course we’re not gonna stop one hundred percent but if we can take that one step,” Jalen Stringer, a senior at Warren Central said.
The football players started the organization after their classmate, Angel Mejia-Alfaro, and their teammate, Dijon Anderson, were shot and killed earlier this year.
“Basically, change the way people see things and how teenagers, how they look at life,” Warren Central senior Isaiah Warren said.
The effort from teens to help other teens, to help cut down on violence seems to be catching on. The teens said students from at least half a dozen other schools have reached out to see how they can start a group at their own school.
A spokesperson for MSD of Wayne Township said Ben Davis High School is talking with the group, though they haven’t worked out any details on a partnership.
Students from Lawrence Central High School said they’re working to start a group there, too.
“I hope that we can make a change in our community,” Lawrence Central student Dashanae Gilbert said.
The school district saw a middle school student, Matthew McGee, shot and killed last month.
“We’re trying to open up eyes in our district to stop all this violence because he was only 13,” student Christian Dobbins said.
Just this month, three teens were injured in a drive-by shooting on the northwest side, four teens were arrested after shots were fired near a police district headquarters and IMPD homicide data shows at least 19 people 18 years old and younger who were killed this year.
“It’s gonna take each one of us to help reduce violence in the city of Indianapolis,” IMPD Officer Jim Gillespie said.
Gillespie said IMPD has programs to help reach teens and kids, like the Police Athletic League and a mentorship program. He said peer to peer relationships are important, though.
“And so for these students to come together and create this kind of program is amazing,” he said.
It’s a cause, to help reduce crime, the teens hope makes a difference.