Faith Leaders Ready to Provide Support Ahead of DA’s Decision on Clark Case

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SOUTH SACRAMENTO — It has been more than 10 months since Stephon Clark was shot and killed by Sacramento police in his grandparents’ backyard.

Any day now, the city is expecting the district attorney to announce whether or not the two officers who shot him will face criminal charges.

In the meantime, Sacramento faith leaders have been preparing to deal with the fallout of that decision.

“I think there could be some situations when the DA comes out with the findings for the killing of Stephon Clark that I think clergy will be called on to help heal, to help stand, to help community through really a moment,” said Pastor Les Simmons with Sacramento Area Congregations Together.

It’s that moment Sacramento Area Congregations Together, or ACT, wants to be ready for.

“These are faith leaders that have been in position already waiting for almost a year now,” said Pastor Joy Johnson, president of ACT. “And so, we’re coming together and gleaming some support from each one of the houses of faith that would be represented.”

Pastor Johnson said often during demonstrations, clergy can be used to calm tensions between protesters and the police.

Faith leaders can also help keep the community’s message on point.

“If we are going to make our voices heard, we’re going to do so with thoughtfulness and not impulsivity,” Johnson told FOX40.

ACT knows if the officers are not charged there could be a lot of frustration within the community.

“What does justice look like in the event the officers aren’t held accountable from the DA’s standpoint?” Pastor Simmons said. “What does justice look like? Where’s our moral compass in that?”

Over the past year, Simmons has been to most of the Clark demonstrations and was on the ground during the Ferguson, Missouri unrest in 2014. He’s shared his experiences and lessons learned with other clergies to be ready for whatever happens next.

“If we listen, if we lean in, we could create something better for the next generation and clergy are definitely going to be positioned to be able to be a part of that process,” Simmons said.

About once a month, ACT has also been holding healing circles throughout the city for anyone feeling anxious about the Clark case. They told FOX40 they are increasing those meetings and want to encourage anyone who wants to talk about the case to attend.


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