Sacramento's Young, Diverse, Community Continues Peaceful Demonstrations
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, California — While demonstrations sweep across the country in the wake of two shooting deaths of Black males by police officers in different states, the residents in the city of Sacramento, California, put their their protesting efforts on display as well. They are doing it in a peaceful manner, too.
At the busy intersection at Franklin Boulevard and Florin Road, up to 70 people, mostly young individuals, gathered there to voice their opinions of injustice and racism that allegedly was behind the homicides of Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The demonstration was led by supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement in solidarity with protests around the nation from New York, Chicago, Baton Rouge, to St. Paul, Los Angeles, and Oakland. The Sacramento protest was a reflection of the city’s diverse population and awareness of the issue among the young.
The Answer Coalition and the Party For Socialism and Liberation (PSL) collaborated to host this round of demonstrations in South Sacramento. The demonstrators were armed with signs, chants, and loud public-address systems. A few of the demonstrators addressed why the officers involved in shootings of the two men were put on paid administrative leave.
“We’re out here standing with our sisters and brothers struggling against police terror,” said Jamier Sale, one of the demonstrators and well-known social activist from Sacramento. “We saw these two men killed and it looks like these policemen got a vacation, again. How many times we are going to see vacations handed out before we do something about it.”
The demonstration, on a hot Sunday, July 10, afternoon was one of several protests in the city since July 7. The first protest, led by various members from Sacramento’s faith-based community, took place outside of the Sacramento County Main Jail. It was done in a respectful gesture as local law enforcement agencies stood by.
There was also a protest event at the State Capitol in Sacramento and another demonstration staged in North Sacramento hosted by the official members of Black Lives Matter Sacramento (BLMS) on July 9. Tanya Faison, one of the organizers for BLMS, said the July 9 protest attracted over 200 people in support of the cause.
Sale, who has been visible all over the state protesting against police brutality and other injustices against people of color, said the demonstration in South Sacramento was necessary because “we had to go where the people are and where they are most affected,” he said.
The crowd at the corner of Florin and Franklin consisted of Blacks, Whites, Asians, Latinos, males, females, and members from the Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community. The turnout was representative of Sacramento’s different faces. The city practically houses people that have backgrounds from every corner of the world.
Maile Hampton, another young, social justice activist from Sacramento, indicated that having people of different races participate give the protests solid “awareness” and more substance. The shootings, Hampton said, do not affect one community. As seen with other demonstrations across the country, diversity is the driving force behind the protests.
“I think that all these protests that we are seeing, and shut downs that are happening in a lot of different cities from around the world, is because people are finally realizing that they don’t stop killing us,” said Hampton, who participated in the Mike Brown demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri. “Now that there are so many stories out, in one week an overwhelming amount, there are so many people that are just fed up. People are realizing that this is a system in place. We need to shut this system down and replace it with one that works for us,” Hampton lamented.
Tiffany Tucker, one of the demonstrators at the corner of Franklin and Florin, is a White, young female, who has had had her hands in many protests behind injustices and hatred. She protested against the hatred that caused the mass shooting in a Orlando, Florida. The killing of Black men by police officers is “systematic oppression,” Tucker said.
“Police brutality is a serious issue right now, regardless, if people chose to acknowledge it or not,” Tucker said.
Tucker also referenced the fact that other non-Black people welcome themselves to certain parts of African American culture, but refuse to participate or voice their thoughts about police-involved shootings of Black men.
She is also cited that she has no problems driving her car or walking in a store to be racially profiled like most Black and Brown people. One thing is for sure, Tucker is all about the struggle of Black people and would like to see a change for the better.
“My perception is that some White people want to take everything from Black culture,” Tucker said. “They want the entertainers, the music, the slang, the athletes...everything about the culture. But they want nothing of the support of Black people. Some of them say, ‘You’re not oppressed. You have the same rights that I do.’ But there is a reason that Black inmates on average are sentenced 3,000 times longer than White people. That’s why I think it’s more important for White people to be a part of the movement.”
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— Photo Art and Report by T. Ray Harvey, PA Public Information Officer
Look for articles in the future of Maile Hampton and Jamier Sale: Sister and Brother, Soldiers of Social Activism.