In 2018, Stephon Clark was shot and killed in the backyard of his grandmother’s house by two Sacramento, Calif., police officers. He was 22 years old, unarmed, with just a phone in his hand. His untimely death at the hands of police sparked a movement in Sacramento, his hometown, with his mother, Se’Quette “Mama” Clark, leading the charge.
“I’ve become a voice of the mothers. I’ve become a voice of the tragedies that have taken place,” Clark tells Yahoo Life.
In this week’s episode of Unmuted, Yahoo Life spoke with Black leaders helping to spread the message of Black Lives Matter in their own unique ways.
Since Stephon’s death, Clark and her community came together to create the IAMSAC Foundation to honor her son’s life and legacy.
“The city went upside down after Stephon was killed. And so, by the officers not being charged, we had to come up with something to protect ourselves,” she says.
Today the IAMSAC Foundation is dedicated to creating programs at “Stephon’s House,” a resource center that aims to amplify health and wellness, trade school training and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education in local communities.
Stephon’s family turned their tragedy into a beautiful movement. In July, the NFL released a PSA about his legacy that will live on forever.
However, it did not stop the disproportionate killings of Black people in the United States by police.
Stephon Clark’s story has become all too familiar in America. In 2020, the excessive force used by police officers, which led to the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Daniel Prude, and the paralyzation of Jacob Blake, has propelled the IAMSAC Foundation and the Black Lives Matter movement even further.
“Enough is enough,” says Clark. “I believe change is here.”
Marquise Francis, a national reporter and producer for Yahoo News, has long been vocal about what policies need to change in America in order for racial equity to be a serious conversation.
“When we’re seeing what’s happening in Kenosha [Wisconsin] right now, if you’re watching these daily press conferences, you see how incompetent these police forces are,” Francis says. “As citizens, it’s really important for us to vote in people who are going to make these changes and hold politicians accountable. But across the board, it’s important not only to say ‘Black lives matter’ but to show Black lives matter by instituting some of these changes.”
Chelsea Miller, co-founder of Freedom March NYC, says conversations around police brutality and racism are about “real people; we’re talking about real families — we’re talking about the sons and daughters.”
“[Community activism is] about reimagining systems that initially weren’t even designed to serve us in the first place in a way that ensures that we are humanizing communities. That we are ensuring that this very democracy we are talking about is applicable to everyone,” Miller says.
Watch the video above to learn more about how we all can effectively help the fight against racial injustice in America today.
Video produced by Kelly Matousek and Gisselle Bances
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