In the wake of Stephon Clark’s death by police gunfire, Sacramento’s Muslim and black communities are coming together to demand change.
Basim Elkarra, who is executive director of Sacramento’s Council on American-Islamic Relations and also sits on the city’s police review commission, helped organize a forum after Clark’s death, which Elkarra said drew about 400 people. He says the community will continue to work with the NAACP, Sacramento ACT and other groups to push for neighborhood investment as well as police accountability.
“After this tragedy, a lot of community leaders and community members have been working together to try to address this, and how do we ensure that this never happens again? A lot of courageous conversations have been taking place throughout the city, and I believe we’ll get there,” he said.
Malik Abdul-Khaliq, who is black and Muslim, said many who share his faith understand the stress of racial targeting by police. He has been protesting downtown regularly since Clark’s death.
“This isn’t an isolated event,” Abdul-Khaliq said. “It reinforces the notion for those who are not white, that they too stand to be held as a criminal first, and an upstanding citizen second.”
About one-fifth of Muslim Americans are black, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis.