CHICAGO — Five of nine Chicago mayoral candidates sat down with dozens of city high schoolers on Tuesday, with the idea being that young people should have a say in how Chicago moves forward.

Though Melvin Bush is only 17 years old and not yet old enough to vote, he told WGN News that he knows the importance of a mayoral election.

“Tonight is an opportunity for us to express what goes on in our neighborhood and what we want to see change,” he said. “[The election] is an important thing that determines our future and the future of our communities as well.”

His future, Bush says, is something that he is firmly focused on. So too, is Phillip Jones, who pondered how elected officials will invest in citywide youth.

“I want to see what they’re going to do to keep our kids out of jail and off the streets,” Jones said. “We got bigger things to do.”

The pair were among about 30 high schoolers who participated in “Dinner with Durk” at Gibson’s steakhouse. The dinner was organized through the Neighborhood Heroes Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Chicagoan and music artist Lil Durk.

The foundation aims to make positive changes in under-resourced areas. 

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Ja’Mal Green, Kam Buckner, Brandon Johnson and Roderick Sawyer all attended the event.