x

Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

4 Black teens from Buffalo talk about changes they want to see

'When people say 'Black lives matter,' they aren't saying they matter more. They're saying that it's the pressing issue and that they also matter.'

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Your voice can be a powerful thing. 

Four Black teenagers in Buffalo are speaking up about the change they would like to see in the world. 

Here's the conversation they had with 2 On Your Side: 

"When I saw the George Floyd video, I was initially, it sickened me," 16-year-old Dekari Jackson said. "That could be me out there not doing anything, just minding my own business, just going about my day, to be killed in the street like that."

Added 16-year-old Jaylei Wagstaff: "There needs to be a change that needed to happen but I'm kind of upset it took a national uproar for it to happen."

According to 16-year-old Ayana Thompson: "I hope that we can get laws passed to prevent these things from happening in the future and possibly allocate certain funds that are given to the police to education systems."

Said 16-year-old De'Jon Betts: "Possibly more rigorous tests to become a police officer. And I also feel like more systems to educate people in our community. I feel like that could be helpful as well."

Wagstaff: "Here in Buffalo we have the Juneteenth parade. It was shocking to me knowing it wasn't an everywhere thing."

Thompson: "I have heard stories from my friends that go to different schools than me that they're being treated differently."

Betts: "This was last summer. I was walking to a friend's house of mine. I had an encounter with the police and they said I fit a profile. I got searched, and I got padded down. In the moment I had my hands up, they were talking to me kindly ... it kind of made me angry, but I let it go."

Jackson: "I want my kids to truly be able to feel like they're equal in this country and to feel like they won't be looked at different."

Wagstaff: "When people say 'Black lives matter,' they aren't saying they matter more. They're saying that it's the pressing issue and that they also matter."

Thompson: "We're coming to an age when we're about to start voting and being more present in what's going on today, so I feel like people should listen to what we have to say." 

Betts: "Although we are young, everybody in this country is going through this together. For the younger generation, who are attempting to help, who are attempting to provide ideas and provide solutions to the situation, I feel like the older generation should already be opening arms to listen to us and to help us help them so we can all unify and work on this together."   

Jackson: "Everything can change. Change starts with you." 

RELATED: Black Lives Matter mural unveiled in Niagara Falls

RELATED: Frederick Law Olmsted students want a Buffalo street renamed 'Black Lives Matter'

RELATED: Buffalo mayor recognizes teen who helped clean up Bailey Avenue after protests

RELATED: Pridgen introduces resolution to name Buffalo street 'Black Lives Matter'