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DPS students interview Denver Police chief about policies, incorporating Black history in training

Denver Public Schools students interview police chief about policies and incorporating Black history in training
Posted at 10:33 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 00:33:21-04

DENVER — While conversations of police reform continue at the U.S. Capitol, a group of teenagers hopes to make change in Denver.

Four students from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College (DMLK) held a candid conversation with Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen to ask about officer interactions and to push for the incorporation of Black history into officer training.

"The reason why we started the whole podcast was because of police brutality and knowing maybe that we could speak to someone near our district, like Denver or the Aurora Police chief, knowing that we could actually be able speak to them and hopefully make change," said Dahni Austin, one of the four students.

The interview titled, "Black Meets Blue" is the latest episode in the students' ongoing video podcast efforts called, "Know Justice, Know Peace."

Austin and three of her classmates — Alana Mitchell, Jenelle Nangah and Kaliah Yizar — began the podcast during June 2020. Now, sixth-grader Kennadi Jackson is also part of the project.

The students have already successfully advocated for Denver Public Schools to make its curriculum more inclusive. The teenagers believe the conversation with Pazen keeps that momentum going.

"You can change the world. The world is in your hands, and it's up to you to change it," Mitchell said.

"Use your resources to the best of your ability because you can do a lot more than you think you can," Kaliah Yizar added.

During the podcast episode, the teens asked Pazen to consider incorporating Black history into officer training, specifically from the textbook Black History 365, the publication in which the students sit on an advisory board.

Pazen said he is now considering ways he can incorporate the textbook and plans to meet with the DMLK students in the near future.

To listen to the students' podcast episode with Pazen, click here.