Carrying recent momentum from demonstrations earlier in the summer, Black Lives Matter protesters marched in downtown Sacramento just over a week ago against police brutality and in response to the “Strong Mayor” measure that was shortly thereafter voted by City Council to be included on the 2020 ballot.
The measure would centralize the power of the mayor and city manager, allowing the city manager increased control over the hiring and firing of city officials, including police officers, and granting the mayor the ability to write legislation that would require a three-quarters majority, at least six out of eight councilmembers, to veto.
The measure has drawn criticism from some, with Vice-Chair of the Sacramento Youth Commission Naomi Piper-Pell noting that the proposal is grouped together with other proposals. These include plans to establish a city ethics committee and create an annually-replenishing $40 million dollar youth fund.
Black Lives Matter protesters in Sacramento had previously demonstrated against City Manager Howard Chan, placing signs in his front yard of victims shot in the city by the police and demanding accountability for the officers responsible for their killings.
“He’s sworn to protect everyone, but he’s kind of picking and choosing who he’s going to protect,” commented one protester in an interview CBS Sacramento.
Between a period of frequent demonstrations earlier in the summer in response to the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police and the recent August protest, Black Lives Matter Sacramento have remained active, hosting events such as a vigil for police shooting victim Jeremy Southern, and speaking out against the treatment of two black individuals who had been injured after a shootout.
During the early summer period of heightened demonstrations, protesters focused one event around black trans individuals and the particular difficulties faced by the community.
“I want people to realize that if you’re going to fight for black lives, you have to include all lives that come under the spectrum of being black,” said Elizah Claborne Crosby of the Sacramento LGBT Center in an interview. “Pay attention to your folks, pay attention to your trans folks! We are here, we’re just as normal as anybody else. We live normal lives, we’re not monsters, and if you got to know one of us, truly, you’ll understand that we’re just like you.”
At the Black Lives Matter demonstration earlier this month, Faison criticized the policy changes declared by the mayor in the wake of the George Floyd protests as not being real reforms and emphasized the motivation behind continued protests.
“They look like they’re reforms but they make no change,” she described. “Our goals are just to keep reminding the city of Sacramento that we’re still demanding the police be defunded.”