As protesters of all ages and races join nationwide demonstrations to stand against systemic racism and police brutality going on their third week, young activists in Boston have been a driving force of local protests.

Queen-Cheyenne Wade, an organizer with the grassroots coalition For the People Boston said that as a Black person in America, she was taught to fear the police at an early age.

“I think that is… sadly, a very common and natural distinction for Black people in America and my family. I know I was taught at a very young age to fear the police and to fear the prison industrial complex,” Wade told Jim Braude on WGBH News’ Greater Boston Monday.

“I think I fear what the police can do to my people and I fear what the police continue to do to my people and how that can't be changed. But I wouldn't necessarily say that I fear the oppression because I think you can only go up from kind of the bottom that we’re at.”

Last week, she co-organized a demonstration where more than a thousand people gathered in Roxbury’s Nubian Square to march to City Hall Plaza and called for the defunding of the Boston Police Department.

When Wade was asked about Mayor Marty Walsh’s recent announcement to re-distribute 20 percent of the police department's overtime budget to social services, she maintained it wasn’t enough.

“Although it might seem like a large sum or a big step…if we are actually looking at the demands that we ask in our collective For The People Boston… and not specifically just that 10-percent be cut, but also that these funds were allocated specifically to the communities that were directly being affected not only just by police brutality but also, again, by COVID-19 in the pandemic,” Wade explained.

“If we look at [Walsh’s] demand and his pledge, there isn't really much of a commitment to that. So, it definitely is a step in the right direction, but we definitely still hope to keep him accountable.”

By specifically re-allocating those funds, Wade said, communities that have been traditionally “stripped” of "self-determination and independence," would finally be able to determine the future of its residents.

She also suggested that community members directly decide how to spend pre-determined portions of a public budget.

“[For the People Boston has] been proposing a participatory budget that would be the basis for the money that would be reallocated, that would be voted on and discussed democratically by the city and for the community,” Wade said.

When she looks ahead to the upcoming presidential election in November, Wade said that while she did not think former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden would be the answer to the country's issues on race, she’s optimistic her group can create tangible change at the local level.

"A lot of what we are working towards is the change in our community," she said. "So, I think it's not necessarily always about the national politics, even though that definitely impacts our communities. I would hope and I think For the People Boston, we hope that this will also make a turn in people getting much more involved in local politics and in their local community councils.”