INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A group of mothers dedicated to stopping gun violence in the city of Indianapolis held a prayer vigil before a big weekend celebration downtown.
With any large event where thousands of people are expected to attend, some people said there are always concerns about safety and security.
Members from the support group One Shot Survivors met at Monument Circle to pray for a non-violent weekend before the Indiana Black Expo’s 45th Annual Summer Celebration.
“We want to pray before Black Expo hoping that everyone is safe,” said Nicole Magee, One Shot Survivors Founder. “Everyone go home the way that they came.”
Each hat on the steps of Monument Circle represents a person who have been shot or killed in Indianapolis in recent years.
Those who have survived or lost a loved one to senseless violence came together to pray for a safe celebration.
“Let this weekend have the purpose that it was started for and that’s for family time to come out and have a good time,” said DeAndra Yates, One Shot Survivors Founder. “I have always enjoyed it as a child and I have always brought my kids out.”
Nicole Magee and DeAndra Yates are the founders of One Shot Survivors, a support group for families of victims and survivors of gun violence.
“We already got off to a rough week here in Indianapolis, so we’re hoping that it stops,” said Yates. “At least give the parents a time of peace and to give people time to get out and enjoy their families.
Right around the corner from the Monument Circle is the Indiana Convention Center where thousands of people are expected to attend different events this weekend, including IBE’s jam packed line up.
“Normally the last few years, we have taken all of our volunteers and street workers from out of the community,” said Horatio Luster, Director of Street Operations for the Indy Ten Point Coalition.
Volunteers from the Indy Ten Point Coalition said they will be out patrolling, but on a smaller scale.
Luster said instead of having around 100 people patrolling downtown this year they will be down anywhere between 40 to 50 people. He said with the freed up manpower they will be able to focus on other troubled neighborhoods in Indianapolis.
“For the last couple of years, we have had numbers been kind of low, activity has been failing however the number has been low as far as the participation in the downtown area,” said Luster. “Normally after the events are over people are leaving and going to other areas of the city.”
Despite the news of scaling back, Magee told 24 Hour News 8’s her work with One Shot Survivors are far from over.
“We want more supporters, more people to get out the awareness, more people helping,” said Magee. “We don’t have time to scale back. It’s bad here we really do not.”
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department will hold a press conference Friday afternoon to talk about security and safety plans for the weekend downtown.
24 Hour News 8 reached out to the Indiana Black Expo for a comment about security and safety. A spokesperson said the non-profit is in support with the police department and its security plan.
Click here for a list of scheduled events for the 45th Annual Summer Celebration.
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