INDIANAPOLIS — An initiative that started a few months ago, creating a safe space for teens to talk and express themselves in an effort to curb violence in Indianapolis, is still going strong.
For the month of July, the "Barbershop Talk" series focused on "Emotional Abandonment and Anger".
"Everybody goes through the same thing, and we all feel the same way," Tony Crawford, an attendee said. "We just need ways to express it."
In a discussion Tuesday evening at The Master's Touch on East 38th Street, teens opened up in a way community activist and organizer Antonio Patton said he's never seen before.
"I literally feel chills all over my arms. It's something I pray for; I long for," Patton said. "In order to get to the core — if we never reach the root — we'll never know what's wrong with the tree. So that 'ah ha' moment is everything for me."
Teens started out having easier discussions about how they deal with their emotions in school, alone, or around family and friends. But then the conversation took a turn getting deeper, allowing them to open up and be vulnerable and address difficult issues.
WRTV has covered the "Barbershop Talk" series since it started back in March, and for the first time, we were asked to stop filming to protect the stories that were being shared and allow this group to feel comfortable during this process.
"As boys, you are not really taught to open up and to cry," Crawford said. "So, when you get in that environment where you can do that, all of that stuff you're holding in comes out, and you just feel so good after it."
"For all of us adults that think that 'when I was young.' thought; we were never young in this era, exposed to what these kids are exposed to," Patton said. "So, we need to reposition ourselves and take the posture of a student to learn."
Once a month, Patton hosts an overnight camp for young men off 38th and College. The camp will be this Friday. Patton said interested parents could reach out to him on Facebook to register.
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