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Forum gives young people a chance to discuss ways to make Indy safer

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Posted at 7:52 PM, Feb 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-08 19:52:47-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Teenagers weren't shy Saturday about sharing the horrors they see play out in front of them each day.

"A lot of our teens grow up at a young age," Arnetta Scruggs said.

Scruggs runs the Bloom Project, one of the organizations that brought teens together at the Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center on West 71st Street for Tru Dialogue 4, a forum that allows young people to discuss ways to overcome violence in Indianapolis.

"Our teens have a lot of anger inside and they don't know how to process it," Scruggs said.

Providing a platform to express their feelings couldn't be more timely for those still trying to process Wednesday's quadruple murder that killed four people between the ages of 19-21.

"I just kept thinking, 'What if I was out there?'" Michael Owens said. "It was close."

For Owens, doing the right thing hasn't always been the easy choice.

"I think it was a week ago, the judge told me if I get in trouble again, I'm done," he said. "I had to sit and understand I can't keep doing what I'm doing. I had to change."

Owens said his grandmother lives right across from the apartment complex on Shady Oak Drive where four people lost their lives.

"I learned my lesson. A situation like that, the only lesson they learned was death," Owens said. "Sad to say, but it is true."

During the forum, teenagers discussed the pressures they face each day and the mental impact of experiencing trauma with no place to turn. Many of the young people explained violence happens because there's just no escape.

The teenagers said adults simply cannot relate to what they go through in the classroom and in their neighborhood on a daily basis.

"Pull kids off the street," Owens said. "Take them in. They feel like they don't have anyone. Show them a different way."

Owens said it starts by sparking a shift in mindset.

"Take them places. Let them see different stuff," he said. "The streets is not it. It's not for anybody."

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