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Gun violence survivor hopes his story will stop the trend amid “Wear Orange Day”

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Posted at 6:27 PM, Jun 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-02 18:39:47-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The moment someone pulls the trigger, lives are changed.

Friday, dozens gathered on “Wear Orange Day” to raise awareness of the lives lost to gun violence in Indianapolis.

“People don’t get it. People act like it just affects the person they’re shooting or the person who had the gun, but it affects a lot of people,” Jaimarsin Lewis said.

The Wear Orange Movement is recognized nationally, honoring survivors and victims of gun violence across the U.S.

"The purpose of the movement is to bring awareness to gun violence in an effort to end it," Alex Rollo, a local Moms Demand Action member, said.

Names were read for each victim of gun violence in 2023.

"To ensure that those lost and injured are never forgotten," Mayor Joe Hogsett said.

Whether it’s death by homicide, suicide or an accidental shooting, nearly 100 names were read.

WRTV’s numbers show at least 87 of Indianapolis’ 97 homicides in 2023 have been by gun.

IMPD’s numbers show more than 200 other shootings have happened in which the victim has survived.

One of those shooting victims is Lewis.

“I definitely don’t look at life the same way,” Lewis said. “It could’ve been the last day of my life.”

In March, Lewis and his girlfriend were shot several times off Broadway Street near 42nd Street and North College Avenue.

“Bullets [were] just going all over the bed. It was like a fireball got thrown into my chest, through my shoulder blade and hit me again and again,” Lewis said.

Luckily, they both survived. However, Lewis says it’s a reminder of the impacts gun violence can have on an entire family.

“I was pretty young. I thought I had it all figured out, but once you’re faced with death, it ain’t about figuring it out anymore,” he said.

Lewis says the battle now is physical, mental and emotional.

Months of physical therapy, and therapy. He says it could be much worse.

But why do so many people fall victim to gun violence?

"We grow up in traumatic, perverted environments where we barely have any money or food. A lot of people rob or kill to get what they want," Lewis said.

He hopes that by sharing his story he can change the trajectory of gun violence in the future.

“A lot of young dudes think their homies can save them. But if you’re fighting for your life, it’s just you,” Lewis said. “You might feel like you can get away with things one time, but eventually it will catch up to you.”

The Wear Orange Movement started in 2015 after Hadiya Pendelton, a Chicago teenager, was shot and killed. Her family honored her by wearing orange, her favorite color.

Since then, it's become a nationwide movement.

There are events into the weekend in central Indiana to continue the movement:

  • Blood drive
    • June 2, 2023
    • 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    • First Freewill Baptist Church: 2433 Barnes Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46208
  • Kickball tournament
    • June 3, 2023
    • 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Watkins Park: 2360 Dr. MLK Jr. St. , Indianapolis, IN 46208