by Jade Jackson
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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (WISH) — If you’re at a high school basketball game at almost any central Indiana school, you might see students wearing black T-shirts that say “Stop the Violence” on the front and “Hoosiers for Good” in the back.
This is all in an effort to project a message of peace to the student’s supporters or other peers.
Tyler Harris is the Executive Director of Hoosiers for Good, a new organization that partners local charities with college athletes who use their platforms to influence and amplify philanthropy. They started in March and the organization wanted to start an awareness campaign with Stop the Violence Indianapolis Inc. Using high school student-athletes, they wanted to challenge young people to #TeamUpForPeace by choosing positive alternatives to gun violence.
The idea originated from a previous collaboration event with Stop the Violence Inc. As Indiana University basketball players Trace Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson have spoken to six high school basketball teams.
“You could really tell the high school basketball teams really cared about what these two influential athletes had to say and so we wanted to do something similar, but with a bigger audience,” said Harris.
The shirts were sponsored by a generous donor.
The goal is to get a collective message from the student-athlete to the supporters and peers at their games.
“Gun violence in general in Indianapolis is on the rise. Teen gun violence in particular. So, we want to use this NIL landscape, where collegiate athletes can leverage their name, image, and example to create good in the community,” said Harris, who said the athletes Undergraduates display their support for the campaign by posting on social media.
Indiana University linebacker Aaron Casey posted his video last month.
“I choose to team up for peace, because I know a family who lost a loved one to gun violence, and no one should lose a family member in such a preventable and tragic way,” said Casey. “So, I want to use my voice and my platform to make my community a better place.” security by influencing others so that they do not resort to violent measures and use conflict resolution.”
Julius Stevens is a board member with Stop the Violence Indianapolis, Inc. He said the campaign consists of two phases.
The first stage was to partner with the Indiana University football team to spread the message through social media.
“In phase two, we called Indianapolis high schools and townships. They’re going to wear hoodies during warm-ups while also stopping the violence in an effort to influence their peers to stop the violence,” Stephens said. “We want to catch the kids before they pick up the guns.”
He said the campaign is like a pilot program, and that they hope to branch out from central Indiana.
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