Students add their voices for Stephon Clark

Students march for Stephon Clark Thursday (Photo by Steph Rodriguez)

By Raheem F. Hosseini and Steph Rodriguez

Thursday, Sacramento’s students took to the streets to speak up for Stephon Clark.

Their voices arrive before they do. They’ve been marching for blocks, their numbers growing with each school that joins them.

They start at Sacramento City College, where around noon chants of “Walk on out!” grow louder as demonstrators march up the library’s spiral staircase holding signs that read “No Justice! No Peace!” “Say His Name” and others with a photo of Stephon Clark’s likeness. Protestors hop on top of large tables shouting, “Walk on out!”

They walk through Rodda Hall before gathering in a small parking lot next to Freeport Boulevard, where organizers take turns on a portable megaphone encouraging the crowd to march on to McClatchy High School.

After a stop at Sacramento High, they arrive at St. Hope Academy in Oak Park. It takes a minute, but the friendly takeover unleashes more students. There are symbolic black caskets.

They number about 300 strong for the long walk to the state Capitol, where a different but like-minded press conference already invoked the name and message of Clark in support of a bill to further restrict when California law enforcement officers can use deadly force.

The marchers take Y Street to Broadway and start crossing numbered streets, passing businesses in gentrifying Oak Park. A man still wearing his bib comes out of a barber shop to join the march.

Marchers confront state Highway Patrol officers positioned on highway off-ramps. But it’s otherwise a much different police response than Monday night, when more than 80 peaceful demonstrators were arrested in East Sacramento. Officers are strictly here for traffic control.

And so the children, the youth, the ones who mostly can’t vote yet, but who have already lived more than their years—they clog the streets with their signs and chants and spirit and their allies, and they march on.

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