Bloomington, Ind. – Hoosiers For Good Inc and Stop the Violence Indianapolis have partnered with 114 Indiana University Football athletes for a first-of-its-kind charitable NIL campaign that challenges young people to team up for peace and put an end to gun violence.
Through charitable name, image, and likeness (NIL) agreements generously funded by Hoosiers For Good supporters, IU Football athletes will share messages about positive alternatives to gun violence on their personal social media accounts. The players have a combined reach of 500,000+ followers on Instagram and Twitter.
“These athletes have an outsized voice in their communities, and young people look up to them,” said Tyler Harris, executive director of Hoosiers For Good. “We hope that the IU Football team can help change the conversation around gun violence so that more young people are able to make choices that promote peace in their communities.”
The homicide rate in Indianapolis has remained about three times higher than both the national and statewide rates since 2014, according to 2021 research from the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, and 550 young people in the Indianapolis area are currently being prosecuted for gun crimes. Nationally, gun violence is the leading cause of premature death, leading to more than 38,000 deaths and causing nearly 85,000 injuries each year.
Stop the Violence Indianapolis, an Indiana-based nonprofit, is working to stop gun violence by empowering people to take action within the greater Indianapolis area to ensure safety, justice, accountability and healing for people whose lives are affected by poverty and gun violence.
“We need support to reach more people in Indianapolis and around the country, and the IU Football players have a huge presence on and offline,” Anthony Beverly, director of Stop the Violence Indianapolis said. “At Stop the Violence, we see that high school students, those who might be most influenced by these athletes, are afraid to go to school. If they see their role models promoting positive prevention in their communities, they may be inspired to make better choices.”
The campaign is a part of a larger initiative by Hoosiers For Good to promote Stop the Violence’s work to end gun violence. Hoosiers For Good, a 501(c)(3) organization that pairs Indiana-based charitable organizations with IU student athletes who use their platform and influence to raise awareness for that charity, partnered with IU men’s basketball athletes Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson with Stop the Violence in April 2022 as part of its inaugural class of athletes.
In August, Jackson-Davis and Thompson spoke with members of six Indianapolis-area high school basketball teams about combating teen gun violence during a Stop the Violence Indianapolis event. One high school athlete who attended the event pitched the idea to make Hoosiers For Good and Stop the Violence Indianapolis co-branded warm-up jerseys for the players to wear during their upcoming high school season. Hoosiers For Good is sponsoring the warm ups as a way to help Indianapolis high school basketball athletes champion Stop the Violence Indianapolis’ message of peace.
“Gun violence continues to disproportionally affect young people in the Indianapolis community. Far too often this violence results from minor conflicts, such as disagreements on social media,” Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said. “It is inspiring to see these athletes use their voices and platforms to positively impact our community. As young leaders, they can help create a culture that makes their fans feel empowered to make safe, peaceful decisions.”
To learn how you can #teamupforpeace, visit hoosiersforgood.org/stop-the-violence-indianapolis.