Founder of Project Body Bag shares ‘boots on the ground’ approach to advocate against gun violence.

Project Body Bag is the name of a local advocacy organization. Damion Riley is the founder of...
Project Body Bag is the name of a local advocacy organization. Damion Riley is the founder of the project, and he travels to schools to talk to students about gun violence.(Julia Sandor)
Published: Sep. 25, 2022 at 9:52 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -Project Body Bag is the name of a local advocacy organization. Damion Riley is the founder of the project, and he travels to schools to talk to students about gun violence.

The goal of the organization is to keep people out of body bags, and not choose a life of violence.

“You know every kid is going to make a mistake. They’re going to bump their heads, but we don’t want it to end like this,” Damion Riley said.

Lexington just reached 37 homicides this year, tying the record set in 2021. He said he wants people to understand the importance of making good choices.

“It’s more retaliation, it’s more the personal beef, but we want to get to them to stop the personal beef and get them to understand. Lexington is huge, but it’s small. A majority of these kids, they’re probably related. We want to get it in their minds that they have a brighter future then picking up a gun and making a bad decision within the snap of a second,” Riley added.

There is caution tape, an orange jumpsuit, and a real life body bag. He said the crime scene demonstration can leave kids in tears.

Riley said, “Another kid, when I put his mom in the body bag... it kind of opened his eyes up, made him snap back into reality, and made him start doing right.”

He said, of course, there is no immediate fix, but he thinks there needs to be a “boots on the ground approach.”

“I think we really have to take a deeper, deeper, deeper approach into getting closer to these kids,” he said. “It’s letting them know that we are here. Also letting them be the voice because sometimes as adults we don’t hear the voice, and we don’t hear the need.”