Young people have been on the front lines of the current social justice movement. And in Shaker Heights, two teenagers are developing a plan -- the “Just Society Proposal” -- to bring about reforms in the city’s police department.
“The only way to fix systematic racism is systematically,” says 14-year-old Ethan Khorana. He is of Indian descent. He’s co-authoring the proposal with his friend, 15-year-old Madison Maynard, who is black.
The pair organized a Black Lives Matter rally earlier this month, and they’ve collected about 500 signatures on a petition supporting police reform.
“We would like to have public databases of all police misconduct, a community led police review board, and implicit bias training," Khorana said.
But Maynard says the larger issue still gets some pushback.
“I don’t understand why we’re divided when we’re talking about racism or even sexism or homophobia in general," she said. "There shouldn’t be another side to this.”
Maynard and Khorana have gotten input on the plan from community activists and are planning to present it to Shaker’s Mayor and Police Chief in the coming week. They eventually hope to introduce the legislation to city council.