Teen writes memoir following death of friends to help prevent violence, inspire change
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — On the heels of a violent weekend in Indianapolis, a teen who felt the impact of violence two years ago this week is working to help prevent any more lives lost in a unique way.
“When I received the notice you were gunned down, it was so unexpected,” Brandon Warren, 19, reads aloud from a letter he wrote to his friend, Dijon Anderson.
The letter is how Warren introduces his memoir, starting at May 6, 2017. The date is when someone shot Dijon Anderson and Angel Mejia, and the day so many lives, including Warren’s, changed.
“You love somebody so much you’re gonna do whatever it is you got to do to save the lives of others or at least try to,” he said.
Since the teens’ deaths, Warren helped form We LIVE Inc. The group of youth work to prevent violence, taking their message to the streets, the statehouse and even across the world. Now Warren is sharing his message in the memoir called “B Inspired.”
“I hope this book inspires others to help create that change, I hope this inspires young people to be a leader in their own communities, I hope this inspires allows them to see things from a different perspective,” Warren said.
Warren said the book addresses how he’s turned his grief into a purpose and the social issues affecting people today.
It comes after a violent weekend in Indianapolis. Four people, raging in age from 14 to 20 years old, were shot downtown, none fatally.
“We’re definitely doubling down where we can to make sure that we’re increasing our outreach to the youth and their parents,” Shonna Majors, the director of community violence reduction said.
Majors said they’re identifying parks to host activities and “Safe Saturdays” and working to connect youth with programs, mentor ships and employment heading into summer. Monday she visited Groundwork Indy, an organization on the east side focusing on beautification projects in the neighborhood and employing young people.
“I think people need to take away that we’re not giving up and so they shouldn’t either and it takes all of us so please find a way to get involved,” Majors said.
Dijon Anderson’s mother, Christa Frazier, hopes lives might be changed through the memoir, too.
“He still lives with us as well, he’s still alive and it just shows everyday through Brandon, through my foundation, through the change in people,” Frazier said.
Warren hopes his story will helps others be inspired to be an inspiration of their own, even through something as simple as a conversation with someone else.
“I hope this book inspires others to help create that change, I hope this inspires young people to be a leader in their own communities,” Warren said.
He hopes to have the book finished around the end of the month and give some proceeds to help with different foundations and resources.