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Indy woman says 'no rat' culture is only part of the gun violence problem in local neighborhoods

Nashan Clay.png
Posted at 5:29 AM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 16:13:20-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The impacts of gun violence in Indianapolis are far-reaching for people throughout the city.

WRTV spoke with a woman who grew up in the area of East 42nd Street and North Post Road and still lives there today.

"When you observe everybody around you get killed and stuff like that, you realize this is not what I want," Nashan Clay said.

Clay said she could leave, but this is her home. She said she stays to mentor kids because mentoring them will make for a better future.

"I grew up in the typical things you see in hoods: drugs, violence, gangs," Clay said.

Clay, 25, said she has seen the area change over the years.

"Growing up on Brentwood (Drive), Towne and Terrace condominium, it was a quiet neighborhood. It was not a bad neighborhood at all. It just started to get like this," Clay said.

Since June 2020, nine deadly shootings have happened at Towne and Terrace with dozens more occurring within a 2-mile radius.

"People don't know how to talk it out," Clay said. "They don't know how to control their emotions a lot of times in these communities. They were not held accountable, so you have a lot of kids growing up under that 'no snitch' and stuff, so they grew up under that believing that we could do whatever we want and not be held accountable for it."

Clay said she thinks city leaders need to focus on two things: targeting the problem areas and focusing on mentoring and changing the mindset of kids from these areas.

"I feel like the city, any city should target the youth instead of trying to gentrify because when you gentrify a neighborhood, you push the problem somewhere else," Clay said. "To attack the problem, you have to attack the youth to change their mentality. Change the way they think."

Clay said children are misguided right now and following the wrong role models.

"You have social media rappers glorifying that lifestyle. They have kids who come from broken homes who don't have an identity who don't know who they should be, so they see themselves or people like them come from these types of environments and they follow thinking, 'I have to be like this' or because people think it's a cool image, so they follow what's cool," Clay said.

She added it's going to take people in the community holding each other accountable to stop the violence.

"I believe that 'no rat' stuff should get out of there because it's destroying our communities," Clay said. "You know, you got to hold people accountable if you want the neighborhood to become better. You have to realize that you have to learn to hold people accountable because when you hold people accountable, they will learn that they can't do certain things in the community. Because, in this community, they can because they're not held accountable."

Clay is working on her own right now to try to mentor kids from the east side. She plays basketball with them and tries to do her college work outside so they can see there are more opportunities out there.

She also wrote a book about her life growing up in a gang-like culture and how she got out of it.