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Monday, April 22, 2024

Indianapolis kids take a pledge against gun violence  

Kids ages 12 and younger took a pledge against violence at the Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center in observance of National Day of Concern about Young People and Gun Violence

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In a powerful display of unity and resolve, children lead the charge against gun violence. Outside the Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center they take part in a heartfelt pledge to build a safer future together.  

With signs that stated phrases like “It’s okay to be mad, but don’t get bad,” children promised to deter violence. 

RELATED: Little feet hit the concrete for the fourth annual Community Peace Walk

Indianapolis kids take a pledge against gun violence 
Children across the country took the pledge in honor of National Day of Concern about Young People and Gun Violence. (Photo/Jade Jackson)

“I was nervous to be out there, first of all, because my mom told me to defend myself,” said 10-year-old A’Niyah Livingston.  

“I have a lot of bullies in school, so she tells me if they bully me first, then I have the right to defend myself, but I have to tell my teacher first, and I only defend myself if the teacher ignores it.”  

Donita Royal, Indiana state lead for Voices of Black Mothers United, facilitated the pledge. Livingston told Royal about some of the issues she has recently been dealing with from losing a loved one. 

Indianapolis kids take a pledge against gun violence 
Donita Royal hugs the children after they take the pledge against gun violence. (Photo/Jade Jackson)

“She shared with me to stay strong because people next to me have been going through the same thing,” said Livingston.  

Voices of Black Mothers United is a national movement of mothers who have lost their children to street violence. It was created to raise public awareness of these tragic deaths. The organization provides mutual support and collaborate with law enforcement and community members to make neighborhoods safe.  

Pledge against gun violence

“It was ten years ago when my son was killed by gun violence at the age of 21 along with his best friend. His name was Walter Harris. Sometimes I see my son in a lot of these children. We bring this to them to always keep them aware,” said Royal. 

Royal is encouraging parents to listen to their children. She is calling for all adults involved in a child’s life to be vigilant.  

According to IMPD, there have been 54 juvenile nonfatal shootings this year.

This has already surpassed the total number of shootings in 2022 which were 52.  

There have also been 16 total juvenile homicides this year. 14 of these events involved guns compared to a record 19 juvenile homicides in 2022. 

Indianapolis kids take a pledge against gun violence 
Dashawn Ball explains why he believes gun violence awareness is important. (Photo/Jade Jackson)

“I think we need to be more aware about it. There’s too much violence in the world, especially in schools. Schools are supposed to be like a place where kids can come have fun, learn and it be a safe space for them,” said Dashawn Ball, a teacher at the center.  

“It’s extremely important that they are aware so if they are in a situation at school, they can come home safe to their families. I’m praying and hoping that’s never the case, but with this world turning the way that it is, I think it’s very important for them to learn about staying safe in the face of violence.” 
Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at (317) 762-7853 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON

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