The group met at the S.H.A.P.E. Community Center in midtown on Friday, which is known as a safe haven for youth in the community.
Mayor Sylvester Turner speaking with a group of young men at S.H.A.P.E. Community Center about the importance of #Juneteenth and what’s been going on in the Houston community and across the country following the death of George Floyd. #abc13 pic.twitter.com/YNot7JFxik— Roxie Bustamante (@RoxieAbc13) June 19, 2020
Deric Childress, Jr. was one of the young men in the group.
He was born and raised in Houston and said his purpose of the sit-down talk with Mayor Turner was to be the voice for Black youths and spark the changes needed in the community.
As they also honored Juneteenth, the meeting comes just one week after Floyd was laid to rest in Pearland.
"I hope the mayor will listen to us and take the information that we are giving to him and let it sit and go forth with holding programs to better the Houston community and allow Black people, in Houston and Harris County, to start feeling comfortable with being black in their city," said Childress.
After the one-hour, closed-door conversation, Turner said the young men were straight forward about what they want.
He said they don't want to hear promises and want to see action.
"These young brothers, like so many, want accountability," said Turner. "They want to feel as though that we are holding officers, who are doing this wrong, hold them accountable, but it goes beyond that. They want to see some real transformation take place in their community, in their neighborhoods, on their street, [and] economic opportunities."
The mayor said he is working with the organization to start youth programs stemming from Friday's conversation and is working on police reform and initiatives for the Houston community.
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