Local Black community leaders share views on rising violence, national protests and controversial statues

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Many protests across the country are demanding police reform and equality.

Local Black community leaders told FOX40 people in the U.S. are hurting.

“Times in these moments, there’s so many innocent young people being lost,” said Berry Accius, founder of Voice of the Youth. “So, we sometimes think all of it pertains to gang violence and it’s not.”

Sacramento has seen a spike in homicides; there have been 25 since the beginning of the year. Seventeen of those were from April to July 7, with the majority of the victims being young and Black.

“We’re living in a very difficult time right now,” said Pastor Anthony Sadler of Shiloh Baptist Church.

Sadler told FOX40 that it is essential that members of the community have a moral standard in life to help guide them in their daily decisions.

“Whether it be God or somewhere else, but the absence of that moral standard leads us open to everything goes. And when everything goes, someone’s life is not considered important anymore and that’s the problem,” explained Sadler.

“We’ve got to get to place where we can have conversations,” said Jonathan Burgess of Burgess Brothers LLC.

Local leaders said people are fed up and the time for change is happening.

“We know all lives matter. But until Black lives matter, Black Lives Matter because we’re the ones being killed by the same people that will pull you over and, basically, write you a ticket. Pull us over and we might get a gunshot,” said Accius.

Some protests have demanded the dismantling of police departments or defunding them in the wake of death of George Floyd.

San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles have already taken steps to redirect from their local police departments and put the money toward community-based programs.

Pastor Sadler said he cautions those types of changes.

“I think when you do that you’re ignoring the fact that a big reason crime is down is because of the efforts of law enforcement. And if you reduce their budget, then what does that do for calls when we do need them to come?” asked Sadler.

Each community leader who spoke to FOX40 said they want the youth of today to know the history of how America got where it is. But they all believe statues that symbolize oppression and institutional racism shouldn’t be immortalized.

“We do need to acknowledge it and we do need to work together to move past it so that we can have equality within all of our institutions,” said Sadler.

“And if you want to store them somewhere, put them in a museum, someplace I don’t care to visit,” said Burgess.

As far as changing the outdated names of local sites and city nicknames, such as Negro Bar and Hangtown, Burgess said he does not agree.

“My birth certificate says that my father’s a negro and I’m a negro. Are we going to change birth certificates for anybody born in the ’70s? No,” said Burgess.

“I know the history of Coloma. My family came over in 1850. So, if anybody’s got a stance and a say of what happens with that bar, I want to talk to someone from the same era. But I say leave it and teach history.”

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