Brandon Warren, 18, of Indianapolis, Ind., a senior at Warren Central High School, organized a citywide peace march and community day in Indianapolis to stand against youth violence, following the murder of a friend and fellow football player. “After seeing my beloved friend helpless in the hospital bed fighting for his life, my inspiration became very vivid,” said Brandon. “I wanted it to be the start of a major change for my generation, but I knew I had to first start to ignite change in my city.” So last summer, Brandon formed a group called “We LIVE Indy” and a nonprofit called “We LIVE Inc.” and began planning his peace walk.
He formed a committee of 40 students to help, and met with city and state officials to gain their support. Then he did hours of research on youth violence and contacted experts in the field for advice. Next, he lined up sponsors, mapped a route for the walk, gave interviews to the media and organized food, vendors and entertainment for the end of the march. An estimated 400 people, including families that had been directly affected by youth violence, showed up on August 12, 2017, to march against violence, while cars along the route pulled over to cheer them on. “Seeing all of the mothers of children who were lost to youth violence brought tears to my eyes,” Brandon said. “I think walking helped bring some closure.” Brandon is planning another walk in 2018, and hoping to expand the organization nationwide.