On the anniversary of his death, Sacramento remembers Stephon Clark

Legacy Weekend ended with a march and commemoration memorial


Robert Pierce -- The State Hornet

Stevante Clark, Stephon Clark’s older brother, holds a set of balloons aloft during a balloon release ceremony held immediately after a service at Genesis Church in Meadowview on Monday. The service was part of the one-year anniversary remembrance of unarmed 22-year-old Clark, who was shot and killed by Sacramento Police on March 18, 2018.

Eric Jaramishian and Will Coburn

A crowd of about 200 people gathered in a circle in the middle of 24th Street across from Meadowview park Monday evening, less than a mile away from where 22-year-old unarmed Stephon Clark was pursued by police into his grandparents backyard and shot and killed on March 19, 2018.

In the center of the circle, Clark’s older brother Stevante Clark spoke about the trauma of losing his brother.

“It should have been me. I don’t have two kids,” Stevante said.

Stevante thanked attendees for coming out in support of his family and recounted stories from the past year, such as the way many first learned of him, when he jumped on the mayor’s desk during a city council meeting 10 days after Clark’s death.

Stevante said he felt most people remembered the image, but didn’t listen to the words he said as he recounted them to the crowd.

”We want legislative change, but we need change here in the hood,” Stevante said. “The rent’s too high, the gang banging needs to stop, the poverty’s uncontrollable all they see is me leaping on the desk.”

Other members of Clark’s family also spoke in the circle in Meadowview.

Stephon’s mother Se’Quette Clark said that her 7-year-old daughter saw Clark die after being shot.

“‘His feet was kicking momma,’” Se’Quette said. “That’s what my daughter said to me.”

Andre Young, Clark’s cousin said, “I never got to say rest in peace proper.” The crowd responded with a shout of “hell with proper,” leading Young to start a chant of “Say his name, Stephon Clark.”

Other speakers included community members and friends of the Clark family, as well as several people from outside Sacramento who also lost family members to police violence. Names of people killed by police such as Darell Richards, Desmond Phillips, Marshall Miles and Raymond “Auggie” Gonzales were chanted alongside Clark’s.

This rally was the last stop of a march organized by Tanya Faison, founder of Sacramento’s Black Lives Matter chapter.

“It’s a sad day,” Faison said. “We’re angry (and) we’re sad, to say the least.”

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The march started at the Meadowview light rail station and headed down Meadowview Road, where it blocked both sides of the road around 7 p.m. After the speeches outside the park, it returned up Meadowview Road, with the Clark family leading the way.

The march was the final event of the Stephon Clark Legacy Weekend, which kicked off on Friday with an educational summit for teens focused on coping and healing trauma.

The weekend also included a private mother’s brunch on Saturday, a Day of Peace and Love on Sunday and the Remembrance Commemoration at Genesis Church in Meadowview on Monday.

Related: Stephon Clark Legacy Weekend begins with a trauma focused workshop

Robael Gizachew, a University of California, Berkeley student, said he came from Berkeley to participate in Monday’s memorial for Clark.

“I came out because it could have been any one of us. It could have been me,” Gizachew said. “I just put myself in the shoes of the family and I would hope that people like me would come out and support in solidarity.”

The remembrance event was hosted by Steven Parker, executive producer of the Steven Parker Radio Show. The commemoration started with  la rendition of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” sung by Mary Jacobs.

Parker said that he tried to bring out the positive side of a bad situation, and that he wants to bring awareness to issues so members of the community can solve them together.

Related: A timeline of events since the death of Stephon Clark

Maya Coleman, a Sac State philosophy major who attended the commemoration, said that everything said by the speakers at the commemoration was validated and “felt by the entire black community.”

“The black community has a ton of different ways on how we express our frustration and pain, so I think getting insight into how the speakers felt about Stephon Clark was really cool to see,” Coleman said.

Imam Zadi Shakir spoke at the commemoration about victims of police brutality and the 50 people who died in the mass shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday.

“Whenever someone is killed unjustly, they are dehumanized,” Shakir said to the audience. “You cannot kill someone whose humanity you value.”

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump spoke about Sacramento County District Attorney Schubert’s description of Clark during the announcement on March 2 to not charge the two officers who killed him as a “character assassination.”

During the announcement, Schubert controversially included Clark’s criminal record, domestic issues, substance abuse history and phone records prior to the shooting.

Crump said Schubert “made it her business to try and embarrass Stephon Clark.”

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Keynote speaker Reverend Al Sharpton spoke at the commemoration Monday, giving his opinion about the lack of a grand jury when the district attorney made the March 2 announcement, stating that “grand juries ought to be mandatory in any police shooting.”

Yolanda Stevenson shared a poem titled “I’m Tired of Crying for Our Brothers” to honor Clark, closing the remembrance event.

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Around 100 balloons were released in honor of Clark after the remembrance memorial concluded.

Kelly Kiernan, Mitchel Bobo and Robert Pierce contributed to this report.