On Tuesday, April 26, Black Lives Matter Sacramento convened on the West Steps of the Capitol building, along with a DJ and invited speakers, to take a close, hard look at how so many systems here in the State Capital are failing all of us (see full video of the event at the end of this post).
What is this whole system guilty of?
The favorite narrative of our mayor, city council, police department, and others in authority, is to state that “That doesn’t happen in Sacramento”; to paint a picture of an idyllic cow-town where there are no problems, no inequality, and everybody gets along.
The reality is far bleaker.
We have many, if not all, of the social problems plaguing high profile cities like Chicago, New York City, Ferguson, and Detroit.
We’re just not supposed to talk about it. We’re supposed to stay silent about our pain.
Corporate media is a problem everywhere, but in Sacramento, the news agencies do not even give the pretense of being anything other than a place for businesses to advertise, and to manipulate the viewing public into accepting city agendas as valid without any critical analysis.
- Our law enforcement agencies brutalize and kill folks with no consequences.
- Our city officials molest and sexually assault women and children with no consequences.
- Our council members ignore us when we are trying to utilize our democratic processes, with no consequences.
- Our public servants fail to enforce accountability and like the writer Kiese Laymon recently wrote about Hillary Clinton, displays “an amazing tolerance for black suffering”.
Corruption in law enforcement “doesn’t happen here”, yet Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones has been caught illegally using stingrays to eavesdrop in on our conversations. Jones has refused to provide any transparency around the investigation of an African American man, Adrienne Ludd, murdered by Jones' deputies as well as other deaths that have happened while in the custody of his officers, whether on the street or in the jails they govern. He essentially acts as a slavecatcher of our undocumented neighbors, also illegally.
We have a law enforcement official who literally violates the law. Routinely. We are supposed to accept this without question or complaint.
The Sacramento City Police Department is not much better, with a recent murder of an African American man, Dazion "Jerome" Flenaugh, and no coherent reports yet of what occurred on that day. When the officers’ story fell apart, the department stopped talking.
Meanwhile, the city council, (which, incidentally, controls the contract for the Sacramento City Police Department), is busy colluding with its own police to criminalize homelessness in ways that violate federal law and certain federal funding regulations.
This same city council is aggressively pushing a plan of forced displacement of Sacramento’s poorest communities, often mainly comprised of people of color. This immoral, ill-conceived plan will likely fail-- but not before drowning Sacramento in debt from which we will never recover.
Their goal is to attract more higher income, often whiter residents to these areas, but, jumping the gun under the direction of the most selfish individual alive Mayor Kevin Johnson, these changes are happening without actually first bringing in new industries that could attract higher income residents from the Bay Area. Talk about putting the cart before the horse!
And the city council has sat at this development fantasy card table and gambled with money that is needed for social programs that help residents thrive- like job training programs and shelters, for example.
Yes, the whole damn system is guilty as hell.
Our speakers addressed each of these issues, as well as the need for more people in Sacramento to “Stand Up Fight Back”. Professor Andrea Moore, from Sacramento State, addressed this point eloquently.
These Sacramento agencies behave like this because they can get away with it. Because they think we don’t understand or we don’t care. They have no moral compass, so we the people of Sacramento need to step in, show up, and guide them. There are so many ways to participate.
There’s rallies and actions, yes; but there are also regular city meetings with opportunities for public comment. If we come to these meetings DEEP, those of us who care about fairness, equality, and social justice can actually influence the decisions being made.
Mario Galvan, of the Zapatista Solidarity Coalition, made connections between resistance here in Sacramento, and internationally. He explained how Zapatistas managed to take over the governance of a part of a state in Mexico and maintain their sovereignty.
The Brown Berets Sacramento talked about solidarity across ethnic and ideological groups; because together we are stronger than this system that seeks to keep us quiet and complacent, while stealing from us with one hand, and abusing us with the other.
The whole system is guilty- now, how are we going to hold them accountable?
Upcoming Events with Black Lives Matter Sacramento:
Join us! Find out more and RSVP by clicking on the links.
May 7, BLM-Sac is co-hosting a tour of historic Oak Park with Preservation Sacramento. Did you know the Black Panthers had a chapter here?! Find out more on the tour.
May 9, BLM-Sac will be attending the Sacramento Community Police Commission Monthly Meeting. Come make your voice heard!
May 21, BBQ and Chill with us at our Reclaim Malcolm BBQ. Get to know the members of BLM- Sacramento and just have fun.
Video of The System is Guilty event, video credit to Allen Asch. (Thank you!)