INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 26, 2015) - An Indianapolis teen is using Facebook as his weapon to fight what has become a brutal war in Indy: the war on violence. So far in 2015, there have been nearly 120 homicides.
“Me and my brother, we was real close,” said 17-year-old Dejuan King.
King has endured far more than any teen ever should.
“My brother got hit July 22 and he died July 24 of last year,” he said.
His brother, just five days after his 18th birthday, was killed in a hit-and-run, just blocks from the home they grew up in.
A few months later, “Also my friend Greg, and Anthony Warren; Basically all soldiers that had died close to me, that I knew in and around Indianapolis,” said King.
Friends, teenagers, sons, brothers and as King says, soldiers, all gone-- taken by violence.
“I made this page basically for my brother,” said King.
Instead of seeking revenge and taking his anger out on the streets, he turned to his computer and created the Facebook page, “Naptown Fallen Soldiers,” a collection of pictures and profiles, of more than 100 murdered Indy teens. People can weigh in with positive comments, promoting peace, and reflecting on the lives lost.
“As time goes on, we forget about close friends and family that died and by me making this page, when I upload pictures of people, there’s a lot of people that (say), ‘Oh, I didn’t know he died,’ or ‘I didn’t know she died,’ so bringing this page, actually helps them get out there and not to forget about people,” said King.
“For every person that’s been killed or hit or domestic violence, whatever, you have that many people out there who are hurting behind it. You have that many family members out there that want to support the page because their loved one is on there,” said Dejuan’s mother, Sylvia King.
The page is surging in supporters, limited by Facebook to 5,000 people. Another 3,000 are awaiting friend request approval.
One of the many supporters is King’s mom.
“I’ve been watching my son bury friend after friend after friend; I didn’t have to do that when I was (his age). You know I’m watching him get ready for funeral after funeral after funeral and it’s just sad,” she said.
“We need the young people really engaged in this conversation since they’re impacted the most by this violence,” said Reverend Charles Harrison, founder of the Indy Ten Point Coalition.
Harrison says kids are the ones dying, and kids need to step up to be the solution.
“Our teenagers and our young people are on the front lines of this and I think they are the best vehicles to help end this madness that we see,” he said.
“If we all go as one, we’ll all be together and we all stand together and do what all is right,” said King.
Dejuan plans on making the page into an official Facebook fan page to be able to accept all those interested in participating.
King is hosting a candlelight vigil in November 14 to honor those that have been killed. It will begin at 7:30 p.m. at 4360 West 38th Street. Participants are asked to bring a balloon and a candle.