SportsNBA All-Star 2024 Indy


Local organizations put youth at center stage for All-Star Weekend

voices ignited new boy.jpg
Posted at 11:24 PM, Feb 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-14 23:24:17-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Voices ignited on Wednesday to lift up Indianapolis kids.

Local organizations N.E.W Boy, Inner Beauty Inc., along with We Can’t Breathe Inc., are pushing to put youth at the forefront this All-Star weekend with a “Voices Ignited” event.

"I feel like we don't have enough rooms for us teenagers to speak and be able to be vulnerable,” said three-year N.E.W Boy program member Cameron Washington.

The 16-year-old was among dozens of kids whose voice was uplifted at the Madam CJ Walker Legacy Center.

They came together to talk about issues like mental health, youth gun violence in the community, and many more topics.

"If you don't talk to anybody about your issues, rage builds up inside of you and you're going to go do something stupid," said fourth grader Karter Ballard.

Talking is exactly what the two-part “Voices Ignited” event is seeking to do around the hype of All-Star Weekend.
"We want them to be a part of All-Star Weekend. We want them to have an investment into their community,” explained N.E.W Boy founder Kareem Hines.

"Tonight, we want to integrate youth voice with also the stakeholders of the community and celebrities from all over the country so that kids can really say what their concerns are and mobilize on that,” added Chrystal Hines, the Founder and CEO of Inner Beauty Inc.

The two-day event features panels with social justice advocates like Emerald Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner and founder of We Can’t Breathe.

It will also feature celebrities and showcase young entrepreneurs.

"I'll be selling T-shirts and hoodies, my clothing line is called The Best of You,” said Ballard.

Most importantly, the events are a way to give youth a voice to ignite a positive spark in the community well after All-Star weekend.

"Yes, the NBA is in Indianapolis for 2024, but our young people are the all-stars of Indianapolis for 2024,” said Hines.

"Now we have a group of young men that are trying to change the world,” added Washington.

The second part to the event series will be happening Thursday at Martin University from 6-8:30 p.m.

It will feature panels, youth performances, book signings, and more.

In addition, the organizations will be giving kids tickets for All-Star festivities.