INDIANAPOLIS – It’s time to take action. That’s the message from state leaders, local politicians, gun safety advocates and survivors. They’re demanding an end of the violence not only seen here in Indianapolis, but nationwide.
108 pairs of shoes lined up to honor those the lives cut short and support the survivors left behind.
“It’s hard to even grasp the gravity,” said Rebecca McCracken, a volunteer for the Indiana Chapter of Moms Demand Action, “108 shoes, 108 people not coming to sit at the kitchen table.”
Moms Demand Action, in partnership with state and local leaders and members of the community gathered at CAFÉ on 38th Street on the far east side to proclaim June 4 as Gun Violence Awareness Day in the city.
“The fact that this event is needed, it’s quite frustrating,” said one volunteer.
Mayor Joe Hogsett stated, “In 2020 more than 19,000 gun related homicides in the United States. Too many of those occurred in the city of Indianapolis.”
And too many families are living with the devastation.
“They shot her to death, but they did it in a way to make her suffer,” said survivor, Christina Barlow-Kramer. Her daughter was murdered in 2016. As she waits for justice she shared her story.
“Everybody that represents these shoes they all have names,” she said, “They’re not just statistics, they’re not just numbers. They are families, they’re daughters, they’re mothers, they’re sons, they’re fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends.”
Moms Demand Action wants to see meaningful conversations on gun regulation along with increased funding for mental health support. And while they’re pushing lawmakers for change, they want this weekend to focus on the awareness.
“There are common sense reforms moving through congress right now that can help keep guns out of the wrong hands, like the Bipartisan Background Checks act and the Assault Weapons Ban Act,” stated Congressman Andre Carson, who represents the 7th District.
By wearing orange and sharing this memorial, they hope people realize the impact.
“I’ve prosecuted too many murder cases and over the course of that time I got to know too many victims’ families who have told me about the pain they’ve experienced,” said Ryan Mears, the Marion County Prosecutor, “And you understand that holidays are no longer the same – birthdays are no longer the same because they’ve lost a loved one.”
State Senator Fady Qaddoura added, “Our kids are getting trained on active shooter drills before they’re learning their ABC’s.”
Shonna Majors, the Director of Community Violence Reduction pleaded with the younger people in the community, “Stop saying ‘Free My Homie’ and wear these t-shirts when somebody gets locked up. Get in front of it and say ‘Don’t Do It Homie! Stop the violence!’”
Acting now, leaders say, can help build safer communities.
“I challenge you today to get involved, get off the bench, get in the game and let’s win,” Majors added.
This weekend, Monument Circle will be lit up orange to bring awareness to gun violence prevention efforts.
Here’s where you can see the In Their Shoes Memorial:
- On Saturday it will be at the MLK Center located on 40 W 40th St. from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- On Sunday it will be at Christ Church Cathedral on Monument Circle from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.