ACT in Action
“Coming home, I needed someone to talk to, to hear me out, to encourage me to keep going. I needed someone to help me re-enter society.”
“I always thought that my vote didn’t count,” says Catherine Smith, ACT phone banker. “All my life I’ve been told that my vote is not going to matter, that they already have it figured out who and what is going to win,” adds Denise Thorne. “Through this work I’ve learned that your vote does count.” Both Catherine and Denise are excited to vote for the first time in their lives.
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.
Pastor Les Simmons' South Sacramento Christian Church hosted Friday night's forum. He said the partnership between the Kings and community is "still being forged," but Friday was a step in the right direction.
Simmons said the forum was more than a "moment" but a commitment to seeing "equitable change."
"(The Kings) wanted to help sponsor tonight and bring the community together for some healing for dialogue to really lift up the youth voice," Simmons said. "But then there is a multiyear commitment that is developing to invest equity in our communities and continue to lift up the youth voice, as well as make that investment in accountability, particularly policing in our communities. What does that look like? What reform needs to happen that we all can collectively lead this movement and lift up together?"
Ryan McClinton, a community organizer with Sacramento Area Congregations Together, said the partnership with the Kings shows youth that the team "values their lives" beyond just their status as paying customers.
McClinton working with Kings helps facilitate building equity in the black community, with the hope of setting an example for how other sports franchises can invest in their local communities.
"It shouldn’t only happen in Sacramento," McClinton said. "It has to start in Sacramento because we have a chance to lead the nation in this massive change, this champion for change, if you will. But how does it carry over into other states across the country as well?"