Millennials lead town hall with Philly officials about race, police and reform

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Teens, college students and city leaders in Philadelphia participated in a two-hour discussion about race, police and reform on Wednesday night.

"Now is the time that young people are declaring action. We want it, we're advocating for it, we're front and center," said LaSalle University senior, Jude Husein.

Wednesday night's discussion was a chance for teens, college students, and millennials citywide to talk with city leaders, including Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and Mayor Jim Kenney against the backdrop of national protests against police brutality.

For Husein, it's about building trust.

"You have this over-policing of communities, but if there's no trust, it doesn't matter if you hold back or put in more. It just keeps happening time and time again," she said.

"At school, I see a police officer every day when they check me in. One of the things that I'm nervous about: is there really that much trouble that can happen in the school environment where we need armed police?" said Ramier Jones, a junior at George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science.

Jones has been advocating for police-free schools.

In July, Governor Wolf signed two police reform bills that require officers to undergo mental health evaluations and disclose employment history to include prior disciplinary actions.

"It's not just policy change, when you look at use of force for example. But it's also creating policy that ensures that people have a voice internally," said Outlaw.

"It's not that 'have the police done enough?' It's that we all need to be doing collectively more," said Julian Domanico, vice-chair of the Millennial Commission.

The city's youngest residents are looking to turn words into action with a seat at the table.

"It all starts with dialogue. Without that relationship between young people and local leaders, we have nothing, and this is the start to it," said Husein.
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