BUFFALO, N.Y. — The first time Mekhi Edwards, 17, can remember experiencing racism, he was 6-years-old and living in Amherst.
"I was the only African American boy in my class. I felt like I was talked down upon instead of uplifted at that age," he said.
Growing up as a black child also meant getting different kinds of lessons from his parents about the police.
"Comply to whatever they want even though it's not fair. It's just something that I always grew up knowing," Edwards said.
At 17, he's now trying to eventually change that for future generations.
He wrote a letter to Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen, on behalf of several of his classmates at Frederick Law Olmsted School. In the letter he requests that a street in the city be renamed "Black Lives Matter."
"The purpose is awareness and then change. You can't go anywhere if there's no change," Edwards said.
Pridgen has introduced a resolution to designate a street under the name, which has been filed for the Council's next meeting on June 23.
If passed, Edwards says he would like to see it at Genesee or Fillmore because they're where black heritage is celebrated the most. When people see it, he not only hopes the small step helps bring the community together but it also reminds them of the bigger picture.
"Black lives matter as well as white lives, Asians, everyone else. But at this time in life, black lives? We're a target," Edwards said. "We are not your enemy. We are not predators. We are equal. We are just like you, and that's all that we want."