Yara Shahidi Calls for Prison Reform in the U.S., Urges Young People to Vote (VIDEO)

Yara Shahidi
Yara Shahidi (Getty Images for People's Choice Awards)

Actress and activist Yara Shahidi is no stranger to using her platform to educate others and bring attention to major issues.

In a new video for NowThisNews, the grown-ish actress talks about the prison industrial complex and criminal reform.

“America has the largest prison population in the world,” she says. “They call America ‘the land of opportunity.’ They talk about ‘the American dream.’ But for the 2.3 million people behind bars, it doesn’t feel that way.”

Shahidi partnered with Eighteen x18, an initiative that helps get the current generation active in political issues and out to vote.

“Your vote sends the clearest message. You can change the system if you support the people who believe what you believe, who believe in change,” she says. “If you think your tax money is better spent on prevention, treatment, and rehab programs rather than locking up non-violent drug offenders, your vote can say that.”

The 18-year-old calls for people to vote in local elections if they want issues such as the school-to-prison pipeline or the recidivism rates addressed. She also mentions that people of color make up 67 percent of the prison population, despite making up 37 percent of the country’s population.

Check out the video below.

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