By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Violence in Minneapolis is impacting young people directly. Yet, they say no one is asking them for input about how to end it.

A group ranging in age from 8 to 23 isn’t waiting. They’re raising their voices to help find a solution.

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They lift their voices to right a wrong.

Left out of the discussion about violence in their community and proposed safety plans, this group of future leaders decided to demand to be heard by decision makers.

(credit: CBS)

“Stop pushing us away as if we don’t know what’s going on around us, because remember one day we will fill the shoes that you walk in now,” 19-year-old Malaki-Milton Jackson said.

These young people say no one is asking for their input about what impact the violence is having on their lives.

“We belong at the decision-making tables. Our voices are needed if we want to see real, long-lasting change,” 19-year-old Elijah Kamanu said.

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So they designed a list of demands they believe will allow them a seat at the decision-making table.

“We demand the establishment of a better and healthier relationship with officers and citizens, especially with people of color. We shouldn’t be stuck living in fear any more,” 17-year-old Umeran Hailu said.

This group believes in a creative approach to safety that is personalized to each community.

“We need more African American police officers from the community in the community. We also need to know where these guns are coming from and stop it there,” 10-year-old Kanandi Mack said.

They also want to see consistent resources that flow directly into the lives of young people.

“We demand a re-evaluation of budget cuts in schools that are getting rid of valuable staff. Lastly, we demand an increase in the percentage of Black teachers in Minnesota and ask ourselves why it is only 1.4%?” 17-year-old Taijelle Freeman said.

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“We understand that this must be an intergenerational movement in order for us to truly thrive and not only survive in our communities,” 23-year-old Lewiee Blaze said.

Reg Chapman