AB 953 and An Act of God

At the beginning of September, 2015, the Governor’s Office said that it would take “an act of God” for the governor to sign Assembly Bill 953.

On September 2, 2015, Sacramento ACT leaders joined with PICO California leaders from across the state, as well as other organizations, as 1,000 people of faith descended on the State Capitol to urge the California State Assembly to pass AB 953, The Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015.  The bill requires law enforcement to submit to the California Attorney General detailed information on police stops in an effort to end racial profiling by police.

Leaders staged a massive protest and die-in on the Capitol grounds, sharing memories of loved ones killed by law enforcement, stories of racial profiling, and boldly declaring God’s justice over the Capitol building. They occupied the Capitol and Governor Brown’s office, remembering loved ones who were lost to police violence.

Nearly a week later, the Assembly did pass the bill and it moved onto Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for his consideration.  This was one of the only Black Lives Matter police accountability reform measures to make it to the governor’s desk.  The majority of police accountability bills were opposed and defeated by powerful law enforcement unions across the state, including local law enforcement.

Now it was time for the “act of God” that the governor invited.  So ACT and other leaders participated in just that.  They prayed for Governor Brown and held vigils round the clock at the State Capitol beginning on September 26.  Catholic morning prayers were held at the Capitol.  Church bible studies moved to the Capitol. A Shabbat Service was celebrated at the Capitol.  A Jummah prayer service was held at the Capitol.  Pentecostal pastors held a preach and pray-in, and delivered sermons outside of the door to the Governor’s office.

One week later, on October 3, 2015, the prayers of the people were answered and Governor Brown signed AB 953 into law.

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