INDIANAPOLIS — Every year in Indianapolis, church members and the community gather to remember Jeremiah Williams, who was shot and killed by his mother’s ex-boyfriend.
But because of COVID-19, the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk is taking on a different form this year to avoid large crowds.
“We got the opportunity to meet Jeremiah Williams. And in meeting Jeremiah Williams, we had the opportunity to have a sense of growing young again together,” says Reverend Arthur Sample and his wife Barbara.
The Samples raised their great nephew Jeremiah for eight years. “Once he came into our lives, it changed everything,” they say.
When he was just six months old, Jeremiah's mother asked the Samples to take him because they say she was in an abusive relationship.
But in February of 2009, she called to say she was picking Jeremiah up and that he would live with her now.
Five months later, the third grader was shot and killed by his mother’s ex-boyfriend, when he opened fire on the house.
So every year, to remember his life, they hold a Domestic Violence Awareness Walk.
“We want to bring awareness to the world to let them know that you don’t have to settle for it. You don’t have to settle for a situation,” says Sample. “There are other people that are concerned and that are willing to help and places that you can go out for help.”
As the Samples walk to remember Jeremiah and honor his life, they encourage you to walk in your own neighborhood at home, as well.
“I want to reach 10,000 miles. That’s our goal,” said Rev. Sample.
Reaching people they’ve never reached before to inform others, “it’s happening in your family, it’s happening to families down the street.”
To put the ownership on the community and demand better for kids like Jeremiah, “as you’re walking, think of things you can do to help us to make things different. To make a change.”
“Every step counts,” they say. “We’re just inviting everyone to take part.”
The walk will be held this Saturday, Sept. 26.
Visit 3mbc.org to register to walk.