INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — If you’re at a high school basketball game at almost any school in Central Indiana, you might see students wearing black T-shirts that read Stop the Violence on the front and Hoosiers for Good” says .
All in an effort to present a message of peace to the student’s supporters or other peers.
Tyler Harris is executive director of Hoosiers for Good, a new organization that connects local charities with college athletes who use their platforms to influence and amplify philanthropic work. They started back in March and the organization wanted to start an awareness campaign with Stop the Violence Indianapolis Inc. With the help of student-athletes in high school, they wanted to challenge young people to #TeamUpForPeace by choosing positive alternatives to gun violence.
The idea grew out of a previous collaborative event with Stop the Violence Inc., where Indiana University male basketball players Trace Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson addressed six local high school basketball teams.
“You could really tell that the high school basketball teams were really paying attention to what these two influential athletes were saying, so we wanted to do something similar but with a bigger audience,” Harris said.
The t-shirts were sponsored by a generous donor.
The goal is to deliver a collective message from student-athletes to supporters and their peers at their games.
“Gun violence in Indianapolis is generally on the rise. Especially gun violence by teenagers. So we want to leverage this NIL landscape where collegiate athletes can capitalize on their name, image and likeness to create good in the community. So many people look up to these athletes and if we could get a teenager to put down a gun or not resort to gun violence and possibly save a life, it’s all worth it,” said Harris, who said college athletes love their Show support for the campaign by posting on social media.
Indiana University linebacker Aaron Casey posted his video last month.
“I have chosen to join forces for peace because I know a family that has lost a loved one to gun violence and no one should have to lose a family member in such a tragic and preventable way,” Casey said, “So , I want to use my voice and platform to make my community a safer place by encouraging others to not resort to violent measures and using conflict resolution,” Casey said.
Julius Stephens is a board member of Stop the Violence Indianapolis, Inc. and said campaign has two phases.
Phase one was a partnership with the Indiana University football team to spread the message through social media.
“With Phase 2, we reached out to Indianapolis high schools and townships. They will be wearing hoodies during the warm-up, with Stop the Violence also trying to influence their peers to stop the violence,” Stephens said. “We want to pick the kids up before they pick up the guns.”
He said the campaign is like a pilot program and they hope to branch out from central Indiana.