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Calls for racial justice ripple through community, CSU

A CFA-sponsored bill that seeks to limit the circumstances in which police can use deadly force is gaining momentum following a decision by the Sacramento County District Attorney to not file charges against officers in the murder of 22-year-old Stephon Clark.

The announcement this weekend that the police officers who shot Stephon Clark, an unarmed Black man, multiple times, killing him in his grandmother’s backyard, will not face criminal charges has sparked outrage throughout the community. One protest shut down a local mall the day of the announcement, and on Monday night, a protest in an affluent neighborhood of Sacramento resulted in the arrest of 84 people, including several journalists covering the story.

Many have now joined CFA in our call for support of AB 392, a bill by Assemblymembers Shirley Weber and Kevin McCarty, which would update police use of force protocols to ensure officers avoid the use of deadly force at every possible opportunity. The Sacramento Bee published an editorial on Tuesday calling for passage of our bill.

“Today, we mourn for Stephon Clark. We mourn for his death at age 22, and we mourn the injustice of a legal system that allowed his life to be taken with no consequences for those who killed him.

It’s too late to save Stephon. Nothing we do or say can bring him back. But though his life was cut short, his legacy can live on forever in the countless lives that will be saved if AB 392 becomes the law of the land. Let’s get to work,” the editorial states

At Sacramento State, a town hall gathering on Monday was repurposed to focus on a spoken word, dance and music presentation aimed at promoting inclusion and healing following the DA’s announcement. President Robert S. Nelsen also encouraged people to attend more events on campus aimed at healing. As he was speaking, Students for Quality Education (SQE) unfurled a banner reading “Do no harm, disarm,” highlighting concerns about safety and security for students of color on campus.

Unfortunately, instances of racism do continue to happen on our campuses.

Last fall, a Black Sacramento State professor had the campus police called on him by a colleague after a disagreement. In late February, a Black student at CSU San Marcos was forcibly taken from campus in handcuffs by campus police and sheriffs under the guise of a “welfare check.” The incident sparked a student protest during a state-of-the-city address being held on campus.

And last week, Stanislaus campus police caught an unidentified person (not a student) putting up racist posters by a white nationalist group.

“We must continue to insist on an understanding of these events not as the isolated acts of a few bigoted individuals, but as links in the chain of systemic racism that grips us all,” said Sharon Elise, CFA’s Associate VP of Affirmative Action South and a Sociology Professor at CSU San Marcos. “It lives in our institutional practice and campus cultures. As long as our students and faculty of color face systemic racism as part of their everyday campus experience we must continue to work for change—these are members of our community and by our concern for their well-being, we make clear our regard for them.” 

We are dedicated to our commitment as an anti-racist and social justice union, and want to continue to help protect our campuses from hate speech, hate crimes, and racist actions. If you see or witness something on your campus that causes concern, please tell us. Click here to learn more and fill out our online form.

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