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Indy Peace Fellowship 'peacemakers' share personal impact of gun violence, hopes for a safer future

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Posted at 10:59 PM, Mar 03, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indy Peace Fellowship is working to reduce gun violence in our city.

The intensive 18-month program is a partnership between the Indy Public Safety Foundation and the Office of Public Health and Safety.

'Peacemakers' — violence interrupters, outreach workers and life coaches — use their skills, experiences and knowledge to help the community.

One of those people is Della Brown, who lost her brother to gun violence when she was 15-years-old.

“For me, I’d never experienced a hurt so, so deep. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even cry in that moment because I didn’t know what to do. I was super numb in those moments," Brown said.

Brown’s story is similar for many in our city.

David Lee III also lost a loved one to gun violence. Now, he is helping others.

“Everything about my life stopped in that moment. To hear the news that somebody you cared for, somebody that loved you no matter what, somebody that’s been there for you thick and thin, who tried to raise you is now gone," Lee said.

On Friday, dozens gathered for the Indy Peace Fellowship’s Meet The Peacemakers Community Tour.

Lead Program Manager Shardae Hoskins says it’s their goal to reduce homicide rates by 10 percent every year.

This year’s goal is to not surpass 191.

“We’re a city organization. It’s gonna take more than a city to affect what’s going on in our neighborhoods. We need the folks that live on those streets, that hear the things going on, that know those young people in the community that may be doing negative behaviors. We need you to be accountable for them," Hoskins said.

The most at risk population to be a victim or perpetrator of gun violence is Black men ages 18 to 35.

Other risk factors can include a lack of education, unemployment, involvement in gangs or seeing gun violence firsthand.

“After we identify those folks, we have to engage them. We have to locate them. We gotta knock on their door with a smile on our face and say ‘hey, you meet some risk factors and we wanna help you out,'" she said.

The next Meet The Peacemakers Tour will be April 11 at Tuxedo Park Baptist Church from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Community members can learn more on the Facebook event page [fb.me].

RELATED: New website launches to help victims of gun violence in Indy