A 2019 Honors graduate from Franklin Central High School, Charter Member of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council of Indianapolis, active member of Emmanuel Church, and sophomore Media/Film major at Indiana University. Ethan also served with an NGO that provides care for orphans in Rwanda, East Africa (the birthplace of his adopted sister) and was studying Rwandan language at IU and was interested in returning one day to continue work there.
Ethan was a “skater-scholar” and a true inspiration to his family and friends. Ethan didn’t know a stranger, was kind to everyone, and had been deeply troubled by the recent youth violence he had witnessed in our city and wanted to somehow make Indy a better, safer place for everyone, especially youth who were not fortunate enough to live in the relative safety of the suburbs. It is worth noting that one of Ethan’s last acts just hours before his death in NYC was to buy a homeless man a sandwich, even though he was on a strict daily budget of $12. Ethan lived a big life, loved skating, reading thick books and strong coffee. But more than that Ethan loved cities, their people and their stories. He also intuitively understood that places that fostered community were key in helping people better understand and relate to one another, and felt that skateparks did this exceedingly well, especially among young people, particularly the disenfranchised and/or those with limited resources.
In the days following Ethan’s Memorial Service, several members from the Indianapolis skating community who had been touched by Ethan’s kindness at some point came to me and told me that there was a new skatepark in the process of being built here in the heart of Indianapolis at Willard Park. They thought it would be amazing if this skatepark could somehow be named for Ethan to memorialize him. In that moment, I was on board. What better way to honor the life of my son and honor the city, people and community ideals he cared so much about than to help Indianapolis build and name a skatepark for him? After linking arms with Indy Skatepark Advocates, many texts, calls, Zoom meetings, etc., we now have a signed contract from the City of Indianapolis to build this park—Ethan’s Skatepark at Willard Park.
Partners include The Parks Alliance of Indianapolis, Hunger Skateparks (the park’s designers), Englewood Community Development Corporation, and the Skatepark Project—formerly the Tony Hawk Foundation. We have also received support from Mayor Joe Hogsett, City of Indianapolis, in creating a unifying space for young people to build community here in our city.
Please watch the video above, featuring Tony Hawk, Mayor Hogsett and local community members to learn more about my son and his impact on Indianapolis, and why this skatepark needs to happen in 2021.
Thank you. Please give.
If you would prefer to donate by check, all gifts may be mailed directly to:
The Parks Alliance of Indianapolis
c/o Ethan’s Skatepark Memorial @ Willard Park
615 N. Alabama St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
*All gifts are tax deductible. The Parks Alliance of Indianapolis, formerly Indianapolis Parks Foundation, is headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, and is a 501(c)(3) organization. EIN: 35-1860468. Donations are tax-deductible. The IRS NTEE classification code is N12, Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution within the Recreation, Sports, Leisure, Athletics category.
The Indianapolis Skatepark Advocates seek to educate and engage the city on the health and community benefits of skateboarding across all age demographics, and advocate for park and city elements that allow skateboarding to safely activate and beautify public space in creative and innovative ways.
© Indy Skate Park Advocates. All rights reserved.