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NYer Of The Week: Antonius Wiriadjaja Uses His Wounds To Teach Others About Gun Violence

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This week's New Yorker was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but is using his experience to make others more aware of what gun violence looks like. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report, which was shot, written and edited by Rachel Smith.

Every day, when Antonius Wiriadjaja wakes up, he takes a photo of himself and his wounds.

On July 5, Antonius was caught in a drive-by shooting in his Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

"It was broad daylight, 1:30 p.m.m so I wasn't paying attention, and then someone shot at a person in front of me and they missed, and missed that person in the leg and hit me in the chest," he says.

Antonius was in an induced coma for four days and in the hospital for two weeks. The bullet destroyed parts of several organs. Normal movement is difficult.

Before the shooting, Wiriadjaja created performance art involving hand-made, computerized costumes.

"I don't know if I can do the things I used to be able to do, like jump up and down and stand on my head," he says.

In the meantime, Wiriadjaja is making something new to help him get through it all.

"I started creating. I started taking these photographs every day, and it was good because it also created a routine and created a sense of stability," he says.

His friends, especially those at NYU, where he works and studies, say his project isn't just helping Antonius.

"I think it's fantastic for people to share when they are having hard times," says Dan O'Sullivan, director of research at NYU ITP. "It helps them heal, but it'll help the next person who comes along."

"I think we don't do anything unless it directly hits us at home," says Michell Cardona, one of Wiriadjaja's friends. "Only when it hits home do we like want to make a difference.

For Wiriadjaja, making a difference means spreading the word about what violence can do.

"I realized I was angry because this guy had a gun. If it were any other weapon, I wouldn't have been involved," he says. "I want people to see what it looks like when someone gets shot, gets in the middle of a drive-by shooting."

So, for turning a horrifying ordeal into a teachable moment, Antonius Wiriadjaja is our New Yorker of the Week.

For More Information

To see Antonius's photos, visit his blog at gunsurvivor.antoni.us.

Nominate a New Yorker

If you'd like to nominate someone to be NY1's New Yorker of the Week, send an email describing their qualifications to nyer@ny1.com or mail a letter to:

NY1 News
New Yorker of the Week
75 Ninth Avenue, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10011

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