Letter to mayor reflects frustrations in neighborhood

At its April meeting, the SCNA board of directors approved sending a letter to Mayor Darrell Steinberg calling for substantive changes in the police practices and protocols that led to the tragic shooting of Stephon Clark on March 18.

Accompanied by several neighbors, I had asked the board to take a stand with our African American neighbors and all people who are advocating for justice for Clark and committed to helping in the future. The resulting letter expressed with compassion the grief and frustration our neighbors are expressing as they call for change and emphasized that we are united as one community in this pursuit.

In agreeing to send the letter, the board acknowledged the inequities that exist within our communities of color that set up the dynamics leading to tragedies like this. The letter called for renewed efforts to address them, such as the positive steps taken by the Sacramento Kings partnering with the newly formed Build Black Coalition to focus on youth education, job preparation and economic development and the city’s recent economic development strategy called Project Prosper.

The day after SCNA sent the letter to the mayor, I addressed a City Council meeting and urged the city to support less use of force, more non-lethal alternatives, improved deescalation training and implicit bias awareness training. In my remarks, I referenced the SCNA letter, which had been distributed to the council members.

If you are interested in helping, some opportunities include: Oak Park Peace Walk on Friday nights, organized by the Greater Sacramento Urban League to build awareness and prevent violence by developing strong relationships; Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; and Black Child Legacy Campaign, which is working to reduce deaths of African American children in Sacramento County by 10 to 20 percent by 2020.

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