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Youth-led billboard campaign aimed at curbing violence comes to an end

anti violence billboards.jpg
Posted at 7:46 AM, Feb 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-20 07:46:39-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Billboards created to spark a conversation about what is really behind violence in our city are on the verge of coming down.

The 25 billboard campaign was apart of the Marion County Prosecutor's youth-led initiative to curb violence.

"It's going to take a while to undo what has taken us years to get to the point we are now," said Brandon Randall.

Randall is the Director of Engagement at VOICES Corp., a non-profit that provides youth programming to communities of color.

Last month, the organization partnered with local officials to find a creative way to spread awareness about what they believe is causing violence across Indianapolis.

17-year-old Shaniece Brown and three other teenagers came up with the billboards pointing to poverty, lack of access and more.

"I want people to express to their kids, their neighbors and have a discussion just about what these billboards actually mean," said Brown.

The billboards also shared affirmations of positivity and self worth. The four-week campaign is now over, and the messages of hope are slated to be taken down soon.

"We have to collectively stop talking and start putting more action into our words," said Randall.

Randall says the teens have done their part and it's time for adults to step up.

"We have root causes, what do we need to address them? We have affirmations. What can we as elected officials, public servants, do a better job at affirming people in these neighborhoods, rather than just applying that negative label?" asked Randall.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett acknowledges that violence is a problem in the city and applauds the teens for their efforts to stop it.

"I think it speaks volumes for their level of maturity and awareness. I think it's very telling," said Mayor Hogsett.