INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The seven people killed across Marion County this past weekend, sadly, aren’t the only victims. These tragedies devastate hundreds of people, from family, friends, to an entire community. Now, organizations and local groups are speaking out and demanding change.
“It makes the pit of my stomach turn,” said Deandra Dycus, the Founder of Purpose 4 My Pain.
Dycus is no stranger to gun violence. She sees it in her neighborhood daily.
“A 17-year-old was killed at least one minute from here just yesterday in broad daylight,” explained Dycus.
Unfortunately for Dycus, gun violence has also hit home. Four years ago, her son almost died after he was shot at a house party. Her son, DeAndre Knox, was just 13-years-old when he was left non-verbal and quadriplegic due to gun violence.
“You walk into a new normal once gun violence wreaks havoc on your family,” said Dycus.
Dycus created the group Purpose 4 My Pain to help cope with her own pain.
“What I was seeking was to bring women together who have been affected by gun violence, so we could support each other in the aftermath of gun violence. Also, I feel like bringing the women together, the mothers together, we can put a different perspective into what it means to lose a child to gun violence in hope we can reduce gun violence,” said Dycus.
Now, she’s helping other families whose loved ones fall victim to gun violence.
“When the lights, camera and action is gone, you’re going to need that friend, someone you can call in the midnight hour. Join our support group,” said Dycus, “Whatever it is, we want to be here to support the families.”
Out of the people killed this weekend, two were teenagers. We Live Indy is a movement organized by Warren Central high schoolers to stop youth violence.
“It’s devastating because some of those people I’m like, okay, I went to school with you when I was younger. It’s like we all watch each other grow up, and it’s senseless,” said Destiny Hatcher.
Hatcher, a teen herself, says she and her peers have had enough.
“We have to work on our communication skills in a sense,” explained Hatcher. “We have to learn to talk things out and work with one another. Enjoy being a child while you can.”
Although separate groups, these women have the same message. They’re pleading to their community to stop the violence.
“For every shooting there’s 100 people effected outside of the victims,” said Dycus. “Now we have a minimum of 600 people whose lives have been forever changed. There is no going back.”
Purpose 4 My Pain is teaming up with Moms Demand Action and the IU School of Medicine for a day of gun violence awareness and education on April 27. Starting at 9:00 a.m., speakers and demonstrations will be scheduled.
Purpose 4 My Pain will conclude the day with a youth talent showcase. Dycus says it’s not a competition. Rather, an open space for youth to come out and show how amazing they are. It’s called Let Your Light Shine. That show will begin at 5:00 p.m.
“For me, that’s important,” explained Dycus. “We’re going to start the program off by highlighting siblings who have been affected by gun violence. I feel they so often are forgotten.”