North side fathers band together to save troubled community

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 12, 2015)-- Anthoney Hampton is well known in one of Indianapolis’ toughest neighborhoods.

“My name is synonymous with 40th and Boulevard,” he said, walking along the block just south of that troubled intersection. “I am what you call an OG, so I have a lot of people who back me who were into crime.”

OG is shorthand for original gangster, a title given to older males who have survived life on the streets.

“Every young male wants to be known from 40th and Boulevard,” said Hampton. “Like it’s a power statement, and nobody wants an education and everyone wants to take the easy route to street success that has claimed so many lives from over here.”

At least five lives have been claimed by gunfire, one of them a ten-year-old boy’s, since mid-summer in the blocks just past West 38th Street on the city’s north side.

“My son was murdered over on 38th and Bernard,” said Clarence Wade Havvard, who has lost three sons to violence. “It's sad how people can be just standing around visiting other people and then the next minute they lose their lives and nobody knows anything about it.”

Investigators told FOX59 News that several murders in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood can be linked to a struggle over the area’s drug trade.

The north side fathers, working men and homeowners who also ran those same streets as teenagers, said they realize drugs are killing their community and young people.

“So many vacant homes, so many people moving in who really don’t live here. It's so dangerous now with people don’t come out and enjoy their porches. It's really bad over here,” said lifelong resident Wallace Nash. “The city really needs to do something that’s going to change the situation immediately, not later or when there’s a new mayor, we need some attention right now.”

The men, who have banded together under the name Working Against Devils Everyday (WADE), named after a friend slain in late August, have realized that outsiders and police and politicians and pastors won’t solve the problems in their community.

”We need to be policing our own kids and seeing that they’re doing, what they’re supposed to be doing, and keeping them off the streets and keeping these guns out of these kids hands,” said Nash. “It's dangerous, it's seriously dangerous.”

“Over here we don’t have no rec center,” said Hampton. "We have no place to take them as a whole so right now the weather’s changing so they’ll end up in some crack house because there’s no heat at home. There’s no constant role model nobody to hug them and tell them, ‘I been there and I done that.’”

“It's time for the men to step up and it's time for the men in this community to be given the resources to help these kids,” added Damon Lee, a teacher who dips into his own pocket to finance a neighborhood football team. “The city of Indianapolis gives a lot of the resources to a lot of leaders and they’re failing these communities because they don’t come around the communities and they don’t live in the communities so they don’t have an idea what’s going on.”

Lee and the other fathers of WADE will attend tonight’s Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association meeting at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Center to seek support from their neighbors in the northern more prosperous community near Butler University.

“It's time for us to sit at the table with them and what I’m saying is it's time for new leadership,” said Lee. “This is the night when they finally going to know our name.”

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