ACT in Action
Starting July 1, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department will no longer be in the business of incarcerating undocumented immigrants.
The Board of Supervisors on June 5 voted 3-2 against indefinitely extending a relationship between the federal government and the Sheriff’s Department, a deal that pays $100 per day for each detainee held in a county jail. In its proposal to continue the arrangement, the Sheriff’s Department budgeted for $6.6 million in revenue for 2018-19. With opposing votes from District 1 Supervisor Phil Serna, District 2 Supervisor Patrick Kennedy and District 5 Supervisor Don Nottoli, advocates celebrated the board’s close decision.
“This is something that really speaks to Sacramento values,” said Carlos Montes-Ponce, community organizer with Sacramento Area Congregations Together. Sacramento ACT is one of several organizations pushing back against the presence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
“They made the right decision,” Montes-Ponce said. “They made the moral decision.”
San Diego religious leaders Saturday marched to the Otay Mesa detention center and called out to immigrants inside “No estas solo” (“You are not alone”) and heard male and female voices cheer from behind the walls.
Hours after thousands in downtown San Diego protested Trump administration “zero-tolerance” polices on immigration, hundreds followed priests, rabbis, Buddhist nuns and other clergy to the Otay Mesa Detention center.
As the current issue at the border continues, a group of faith leaders from Sacramento are heading there to demand change.
"This is a pivotal moment in history," said Mary Westfall, a Reverend Doctor.
Westfall will be traveling with a couple dozen other people with SAC ACT (Sacramento Area Congregations Together) to the border Friday.
"Children and families from wherever they come deserve basic human rights and we are going to be very clear that this has to stop," Westfall said.
SAC ACT is multi-racial, multi-faith organization that works to create justice and equality.
"We will ground our experience in worship. We will have vigil and prayer service. People will be trained so that our message will meaningful and nonviolent, but a very clear message that our current policy towards immigration is inadequate and erroneous," Westfall said, when asked what they plan to do at the border.
Westfall said the plan is to connect with people and fight for change and justice at the border.
"To really bring moral courage to this moment and to really speak up for those with no voice, which is in most of our traditions the invitation and command to care for the vulnerable as God does," Westfall emphasized.
The group will leave Friday morning and they plan to spend the night in people's homes and churches on the border between Mexico and San Diego.
Nearly three months after Stephon Clark was shot and killed by two Sacramento police officers, the African American community is making a new push to keep the discussion of police use-of-force at the forefront.
Local activists and community members began eight days of protests and civil disobedience Tuesday to demand police accountability in the deaths of Clark and Brandon Smith, who died in police custody June 6, according to a news release.
The eight days are meant to symbolize the eight times Clark was shot, said Ryan McClinton, community organizer for Sacramento Area Congregations Together, an advocacy group.
A vote by Sacramento County supervisors this week to end a contract allowing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to rent local jail beds is being celebrated by immigration activists as a major win and a model for national action.
"There is no dignity in either exploiting or being exploited," said Carlos Montes-Ponce, who led the local effort on the contract for Sacramento ACT. "This is a big win for us."
When a crime is committed, the focus is on prosecution and punishment. However, a growing number of professionals focused on criminal justice reform believe a new approach called restorative justice should be used. Reggie Hola and Eural Strickland with Sacramento ACT join host Scott Syphax to talk about the process.
This past Saturday, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg issued a call to action for mental health physicians to donate their services to neighborhoods that are experiencing trauma. His call comes weeks after community members, specifically from the Meadowview neighborhood, asked for trauma care after Stephon Clark was shot there.
Dr. Kristee Haggins is an African-centered psychologist and is in partnership with the Unity of Sacramento and Sacramento Area Congregations Together (SacACT). She has some ideas on what mental health resources would be most effective for the black communities in Sacramento.