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INDIANAPOLIS — One year ago, Jalen Roberts, Kimari Hunt, Braxton Ford and Marcel Wills were killed in a northeast side apartment. On this heartbreaking anniversary, their families and friends gathered for a balloon release.

“It feels good, it feels good,” Kim Roberts, Jalen’s mom, said. The kids were well-known kids, you know? But to know that we have this amount of love for them, it means a lot to us.”

Kim and Kendra Ford, Braxton’s mom, leaned on each other to make it through this year.

“Very important,” Kendra said of their friendship. “Kim keeps me on my toes. She suggest it, I’m with it.”

The year their children died, 244 other families experienced similar grief. Twenty-four more people were killed in January 2021.

“As I think about everything that has happened so far this year, it just saddens me that all this gun violence is still going on,” Kendra said. “Especially starting out at 2021.”

Kendra and Kim plead for peace and unity in Indianapolis and hope more resources will help the young people in our community.

“We need to work with them on anger management, they need anger management classes,” Kim said. “We need to educate them on mental health.”

To our youth, whatever you’re experiencing, these moms have one wish: ask for help and talk to people you can trust.

“You know, you guys have a future don’t let that future end up with you being killed or being locked up for the rest of your life,” Kendra said.

The four young people accused in the murders of Braxton, Kimari, Marcel and Jalen are expected to go to trial this June.