INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday unveiled the first of 25 billboards that offer messages addressing violence in the city.
“Those two messages are, what is actually behind the violence and it highlights the root causes the lead to violence including, trauma, poverty and lack of support, and the second message is we are powerful, beautiful family and human,” said Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears.
Mears’ office received input from four teens and young adults who crafted the messages.
“I experienced someone getting shot, my stepfather actually killed somebody,” said 17-year-old Shaneice Brown.
“If you care, and you take action toward what you care about, the result will be 100 times better, everybody will happier and more fulfilled in life. You would have less kids dying, we will have less families crying,” Brown said.
Zach Adamson, vice president of the Indianapolis-Marion City-County Council, help broker a deal with Reagan Outdoor Advertising, which donated the billboard space for free.
Just three weeks into the new year, and Indianpolis’ murder rate is in double digits. Mears is hoping the messages on these billboards will encourage someone who is vulnerable, to seek help rather than turn to violence.
“One of the things that we are seeing in our community now is there’s very much this fear factor, everybody wants to scare people with fear, but you can combat that message if you come in with hope and opportunity and empowering young people,” Mears said.
The billboards are expected to remain up for a month.