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‘Tired of hurting’: Youth-driven meeting aims to find tangible solutions to deadly violence in Indianapolis

‘Tired of hurting’: Youth-driven meeting aims to find tangible solutions to deadly violence in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A group of Indianapolis young people sat down Monday for a gritty conversation. It wasn’t easy, but the goal was real: Come up with practical solutions to help stop the city’s deadly violence.

Raw, honest — it’s a conversation that’s needed to happen. Monday’s was the first in a series of get-togethers called Courtside Chats.

“Our black community is falling apart today because of violence,” Cameron Kimmons, 22, told News 8 at the meeting, Monday.

That’s why 27 young people were at the meeting Monday afternoon at the Finish Line Boys and Girls Club, near 38th Street and Post Road. They’re getting real about how to stop the deadly violence affecting everyone in Indianapolis.

Two of Richard Berry’s friends were killed in a quadruple homicide at the beginning of February, just two miles from where the meeting was held.

“I’m tired of hurting,” Berry, 21, said. “I’m tired of my community being brought down because of so many of their kids dying. Their relatives, friends.”

As of Monday, Indianapolis metropolitan police Sgt. Grace Sibley told News 8 that 33 people were murdered so far in 2020. It was 19 during this same timeframe in 2019, according to police.

The meeting was focused on the voices of residents aged 16-24 and their voices were heard and taken seriously.

“We want to give them some space to talk about the problem, but we more importantly want to quickly pivot to solutions,” said Rodney Francis, the senior director of Opportunity Youth with Employ Indy. “We want to engage them in: What can the community do? What can community leaders, stakeholders … what can we do to bring an end to the violence? Also what can they do?”

These tangible solutions matter to Berry. He’s the oldest of four siblings and calls the neighborhood home.

“We need different events for people 16 and older. We need anything positive that can just bring everyone as a unit. We’re not a unit right now. That’s why all the shootings — that’s why everything is happening,” Berry said.

Kimmons sees it too. That’s why, as the oldest of his siblings, he tells his younger brothers: “Stay out the streets. Love on one another, because you never know what could happen today, tomorrow, or the next week.”

Because, as Berry puts it, the meeting is a good start.

As for what happens next, other meetings are planned. The next one is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on March 2 at the same location, Finish Line Boys and Girls Club.

The eventual goal is to take everything talked about and create an action plan.