In less than 24 hours, Indianapolis has lost four of its citizens. Of these four, one has been confirmed to be a 13-year boy (Matthew McGee). There is no way to describe this situation other than the word “tragedy”. This is a time to rally around the victims of gun violence and surround the youth of this city with love. There have been far too many young people falling into the role of victims and perpetrators of gun violence across our city. This is often a result of systemic conditions that have created a toxic environment of poverty, lack of equitable access to resources, trauma, and leave our most vulnerable populations exposed to their ills. We know what the research says about exposure to concentrated violence, specifically for young men of color. But, we also know what the research says about the importance of children having relationships with caring, consistent adults.
As mentioned in the documentary “Paper Tigers”, this is the one factor that can counter the effects of adverse childhood experiences. We are placing a call to action on the citizens of Indianapolis. We are charging each of you to be involved and invested in the lives of a young person. This can look many ways, including becoming a mentor, volunteering at a school, joining a local Boys and Girls Club, or supporting youth-centered organizations. Whatever your capability and interest are, we are placing that responsibility upon you. The time is now to take action. The time is now to encourage and lift the voices of all youth. The time is now to stand together against gun violence. The time is now to show love and kindness.
Some will say that we can’t save all of the youth. We at DONT SLEEP stand by the fact that we are going to try! For additional information on how to get involved, please contact our Community Liaison and Youth Advocate Chair, Brandon Randall at firstname.lastname@example.org