INDIANAPOLIS — Youth violence is at an all-time high in Indianapolis.
Although total homicides have seen a decrease since 2022, youth homicides, which include victims between the age of 0-19-years-old, have hit an all-time high.
“Their friends are being killed,” explained Let Them Talk co-founder Anthony Battle.
Let Them Talk is an Indianapolis based organization that works to empower youth in the black community by amplifying teen voices.
“If we don't bring them to the table and ask them, 'How can we help?' It's pointless,” said Battle.
Ja’ir Cross is a senior at Warren Central High School. After witnessing a shootout up close during a visit to Muncie, he decided it was time to take action.
“It was very traumatic,” said Cross.
Cross decided to team up with Let Them Talk to host a Teens & Dreams event.
“(Its purpose) is to create a space for teens,” added Cross. “I’m trying to get away from this violence, though. So, we need like a space to not only chill but also express ourselves in a way, and also learn.”
“The scary truth is that we are losing our kids; we are losing our babies, and we're losing them to a lot of violence,” shared Let Them Talk Co-Founder Heather Savage.
Savage says they hope to better support kids and young adults who are experiencing violence or loss in their lives.
“I have friends that have family who are getting killed," said Savage. "As adults in their lives, how can we support them and not just send them back to school the next day and expect them to perform well or focus? We must make sure they're OK and check in with them."
Cross is wrapping up his senior year but aspires to work in the music industry someday. He has already been accepted to numerous schools across the country, but he hopes he can leave an impression on the east side.
“Hopefully, somebody’s being inspired by seeing this and doing it on the west side,” shared Cross. “We are trying to build our community.”