Skatepark to be built in late Media School student’s honor
Black screen reads October 24, 2020.
Screen shows news cast with “NYC gun violence” scripted in the background.
Anchor: We begin tonight with the latest victim of gun violence in New York City
Anchor: A college student from Indiana was shot and killed by a stray bullet as he sat on a stoop in Brooklyn with friends.
Screen plays pictures of Ethan as a child, with his parents at graduation, in an airport.
Anchor: Police in New York City are still investigating the death of Indiana University student
Screen shows article in People Magazine titled “Indiana College Student, 20, Killed by Stray Bullet While on ‘Dream’ First Visit to N.Y.C.”
Anchor: 20-year-old Indianapolis resident Ethan Williams was shot in the chest
Anchor: A young man visiting the city was shot and killed outside an Airbnb in Brooklyn
Screen shows photos of Ethan as a child, with friends, at the beach.
Anchor: And now his family and friends are mourning. A promising young life cut short.
Screen reads Christmas 2006.
A home video plays, showing Ethan as a 6-year-old on Christmas morning opening his gifts.
Ethan’s father: He was six years old and I bought him two little skater action figure guys and a video game called Tony Hawk’s Underground.
Home video shows Ethan saying, “Skateboard guys! Oh, skateboard guys!
Ethan’s father: Really from that moment, he just at a very young age loved skateboarding.
Home video shows Ethan saying, “Tony Hawk! I love these skateboard guys!”
Aidan Williams, Ethan’s brother: Skateboarding to Ethan was almost everything. He enjoyed the motion and the movement and the freedom of skating. He once told me that if he had nothing in life, music and skating could make him happy.
Screen shows video of friends skating.
Ethan’s father: As he got older, he was drawn to the community around skateboarding.
Tim Devlin, Indy Skate Park Advocates: Skateboarding is one thing you can do no matter what kind of person you are. What gender you are, what background you have.
Cody Asee, Ethan’s friend: Skateboarding is the one thing — and I’ve done it all — I’ve played soccer, I’ve played basketball, I’ve played football. It’s exposed me to a part of the world that I would have never imagined. It’s like one big melting pot.
Screen overlays video of friends skating.
Nick Holub, owner of Minus Skate Shop: There’s no right or wrong or there’s no rules to it. And if someone tells you that you’re doing it wrong, well, bummer for them, because if that’s the way you want to do it, you can do it.
Ethan’s dad: No one gets cut from skating. No one’s not allowed to skate. If a kid shows up at a skate park with a skateboard, he or she is allowed to skate.
Video of friends walking with skatepark.
Tony Hawk, skateboarding icon: I was very lucky that I grew up near a skate park. It was my salvation. It was my home away from home. This is where I found my sense of belonging, my sense of purpose, my community.
Video of kids at skatepark.
Nick Holub: Skate parks are a safe haven for a lot of kids. Kids that come from if it’s a broken home or their family life isn’t that great, or God forbid somethings going on in their lives — skate parks are an escape.
Joey Hansen, Ethan’s friend: If I didn’t have that one skate park that is 20 years old and in not that great of a neighborhood, I don’t know where I would be
Tony Hawk: Up until recent years, a lot of cities didn’t have skateparks. It’s very confusing to kids, especially in challenged areas, where they don’t have much outlet. They finally find something that speaks to them, and they’re mostly discouraged from doing it.
Video of kids fist bumping in a skate park.
Ethan’s dad: After he, after he died, a group of skaters from the community came to me. This was not my idea and they came to me and they said, there is a skate park that is supposed to built in the city, and we want it named after Ethan.
Video shows friends around a casket.
Tim Devlin: Small towns in Indiana are getting two, three skate parks. And Indianapolis still has their first one that was built in 1999. Its old its outdated
Video shows kid jumping on skateboard.
Ethan’s father: Obviously this push toward getting a skate park fully completed here in Indianapolis, in the heart of Indianapolis, where kids can come for free and skate and it’s in a safe location, it’s very appealing for me as a dad and probably a lot of other dads out there too that would like their kids to be able to skate but just aren’t comfortable with the places that kids have to go to skate.
Video of kids skating.
Tony Hawk: His story is as tragic as it is, it’s also very inspiring. If Indianapolis decides to do a skate park, which they should, they should absolutely name it after Ethan, in his honor, and that will be his legacy. And he deserves that.
Screen shows pictures of Ethan smiling at the camera.
Aidan: He’d probably just say, “That’s sick,” and then inside he’d be freaking out on how incredible that is and how he’s going to bring all these kids a skate park so they can grow up skating and be a part of a community.
Cody: It honestly, the thought brings a smile to my face. I just know Ethan would probably cry and it’d be all-time the coolest thing.
Screen shows photos of Ethan with his family.
Ethan’s father: And as his father, I’ll be proud for him, when it’s done and completed, because I think he’s a great role model for kids to grow up and learn about and know about.
Screen shows photos of Ethan with his friends, in his dorm, with his family.
Ethan’s father: He loved people. He loved school. He loved learning, he loved books, he loved music. And film. He was respectful. He’s such a great role model for really any kid that is in our city that may grow up and learn who this Ethan guy was. I think he would love it.
Screen plays photos of Ethan throughout his life.
Mayor Joe Hogsett, Indianapolis mayor: Our city lost a vibrant young leader with Ethan’s tragic death.
Screen shows a photo of Ethan and the mayor together.
Hogsett: Now we ask for your help to honor Ethan. Creating a unifying space where young people can feel safe to be themselves. I thank you.
Video plays of Ethan saying, “You know when life gets hard, just hang in there.”
Black screen shows text reading Indy Skate Park Advocates.
Media School sophomore Ethan Williams’ love for skating began at age 6. His father gifted him a Tony Hawk video game and two skateboard figurines for Christmas, and his dedication to the skating community only grew over the next 14 years.
Now, an Indianapolis skatepark will be built in his honor.
Williams was shot and killed during a visit to New York City in October. Following his memorial service, members from the Indianapolis skating community reached out to Williams’ father about a skatepark that was being constructed at Willard Park.
The community wanted to cement Williams’ legacy by naming the skatepark after him.
“Ethan was a remarkable, kindhearted kid,” Jason Williams, Ethan’s father, said. “He loved the people in this city.”
The City of Indianapolis, the Parks Alliance of Indianapolis, Hunger Skateparks, Englewood Community Development Corporation and the Skatepark Project have partnered to make this a reality.
The Parks Alliance of Indianapolis is accepting donations for Ethan’s Skatepark at Willard Park here.