INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Sharee Martin said she moved from the west side to the Martindale-Brightwood area to escape gun violence, but soon came to realize that when it comes to crime in Indianapolis, there’s nowhere to run.
“I been here all my life and I’ve never seen Indy this bad, never,” Martin said. “I’m almost 51 years old and I’ve never seen Indianapolis this bad.”
As we spoke, Martin shuffled through her collection of obituaries and funeral notices collected over the last ten years of friends and relatives who have died as a result of gunshot wounds.
“Larez Brown, my nephew,” she said, recalling an east side man killed in a domestic dispute earlier this month. “Brandon Foy, my nephew. Onterio Pullins, my nephew, sort of raised him as a baby. This is a lady we all knew, I used to work at The Point so, Nerva Singleton. She was one. Thomas Plummer, accidental death. Tyler Oneal Woods, he’s one. Rami Marsh. I can go on and on with obituaries.”
She can, but Martin said she’d rather not.
“I’m tired of constantly going to funerals. I’m not going to enough weddings. I’m just frustrated. I just want the gun violence to stop.
“I just wish the mayor would bring in the National Guard to kind of calm us down because our nickname is Napghanistan. That’s the name that they have for Indianapolis now.
“I want these kids to realize that their families care about them and the last thing that we want to do is constantly keeping burying them out here.”
That’s how Donita Royal felt in May of 2013 when her son Walter Harris, Jr., was the victim of a double homicide in Lawrence.
Donita began Mothers Against Violence.
“Every neighborhood. Every community. Its just everywhere now. Indianapolis is kind of like a plague with gun violence,” she said. “You gotta see because there is help out here. There are organizations and someone that wants to help, that will hold your hand and walk you through after you come down off of that emotional roller coaster months down the line.”
The Mothers Against Violence group was among the first groups to receive direct funding from Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office in the summer of 2018 to combat the impact of violence on the community level.
“We’re already doing the aftermath of the mother who lost her child. We’re already there,” she said, looking into the future. “I want to form a team. A mental health, a social service, you know Mothers Against Violence is gonna be here, other mothers who would like to be on this travel team because other mothers share the same pain, we understand.”
For more information on Mothers Against Violence, click here.