On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, We LIVE sponsored an event called Take A Stand, which welcomed students, speakers, government officials and community members to discuss the issue of gun violence in Indianapolis.
“I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the turnout. This event is just one part of many it will take to fix our city’s youth violence,” founder of We LIVE, Brandon Warren, said.
The event was packed full with prominent figures. Head football coaches Jason West and Mike Kirschner, Mayor Joe Hogsett, Pastor Corey Duncan and numerous others were in attendance.
Students from all over the city joined We LIVE from schools such as Lawrence Central, Lawrence North, Southport, Pike and Ben Davis. Mayor Hogsett took the opportunity to encourage community members to influence students in a positive way.
“If it is to stop, I can’t do it by myself even though I’m responsible... you make the difference... you can alter our city. Give us your leadership. Because when you do, we can change our city,” said Mayor Hogsett.
West and Kirschner brought all football players in attendance to the stage to display the importance and strength of community. The two discussed the lack of love and the necessity for forgiveness. “God didn’t put us here to be violent. He didn’t put us here to hate. He put us here to love,” Kirschner said.
In addition to motivational speeches, audience members also enjoyed a performance from the Warren Central Dance Team as well as Raziya Hillery’s tribute to MLK featuring a compilation of various MLK speeches and quotes.
“I felt an enormous responsibility to fill the shoes of such an honorable person. I felt powerful in knowing that I could use my talent of public speaking to stand up for what I believe in with like-minded people,” Hillery said.
Students were given the opportunity to voice their opinions and offer ideas to government officials and representatives alike. Janae Green, a Warren Central senior and We LIVE volunteer coordinator, was one of the students on the panel that encouraged her peers to reevaluate their decisions and life choices.
“If you don’t stand for nothing, you fall for anything,” Green said.
Take A Stand Indy urges students and community members to stand up against violence within the city of Indianapolis.
“I’m not the only one in this city with a voice,” said Warren.