Indy summer camp educates young men on gun violence, how to become leaders

Posted at 11:36 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 23:36:49-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A group of young men fed up with violent crime in central Indiana

Rev. Malachi Walker says he and the 60 young men taking part in the Young Men, Inc. Summer Empowerment camp are fed up with violent crime.

"We just sick and tired of seeing our young people dying on the streets of gun violence and a lot of innocent people being affected because of choices people are making," said Walker.

Gun violence in the community takes a toll on hundreds of families every year across Indianapolis.

Walker knows that pain. He said that in 2011, his daughter was fatally shot.

About 28 years ago, Walker launched Young Men, Inc., a program that empowers and educates youth about gun violence, becoming a leader and how to bridge the gap with police. They do positive community service events as well.

This year, it welcomed 40 new members and 20 returning members.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett helped kick off the organization's first day of summer camp.

Several people asked Hogsett why gun violence is so common in the city, and although he agreed it's a problem, he said his hands were tied when it comes to stricter gun laws.

"We are doing all we are allowed to do. One thing we aren't allowed to pass more restrictive gun laws than what the state of Indiana already allows and that is where I respectively disagree with that," said Hogsett.

In July, gun permits won't even be required, as part of the state's new constitutional carry law.

IMPD says of the 92 confirmed homicides this year, 73% of the victims are black.

Boys like Jayse Evans, 15, and Cayden Cobbs, 10, are working to change that.

"We want to better the community. We want to stop the violence and we want to help better young men as we grow up," said Jayse.

"We should try to stop violence before it happens not to get in any problems with other people. And if you want to have a gun, you just use it for positive things instead of negative things," said Cayden.

Reverend Walker says there is a waiting list for the program.

"It's helping me learn more about God getting closer to God," said Cayden.

I've learned how to be a better man," said Evans.

Parents can still sign their children up for camp online. Visit the website HERE and then click on 'Young Men Inc.'