Sacramentan’s welcomed families from the UK to a rally outside their state Capitol building today. Protestors from across the state had been camping outside the Capitol in order to place pressure on Governor Jerry Brown to sign AB 953, a piece of legislation that forces law enforcement to record stops, including information on race and gender. Yesterday Governor Brown signed this legislation into law, giving campaigners a victory to celebrate with the #CaravanForJustice.
‘Folks from the UK are part of my family now, we always say it’s not a family you want to be in, but welcome,’ said Christina Arechiga. Her cousin Ernest Duenez was horrifically shot dead by police officers and she has been a campaigner for justice ever since. Their family took the difficult decision to make the video of Ernest being killed public in order to share his story. After hearing stories that family representatives on the #CaravanForJustice had to tell a collective recognition of the common fight for justice against state brutality began to come into focus. Christina continued, ‘we will not forget the stories you’ve told we will tell them along with our stories, you’re making our fight stronger.’
Marcia Rigg and Kadisha Brown-Burrell both highlighted the strong failings around mental health that led to their brothers’ deaths. Elizabeth Henning-Adam drew on this same concern in sharing the case of her son Bobby Henning, murdered execution style by police during a mental health episode.
She noted about all killings ‘I don’t care if you robbed something. I don’t care if you were drunk in the street. I don’t care if you were high. I don’t care if you were mentally ill. I don’t care what the reasons are, there is no reason to shoot and kill unarmed people in the USA or anywhere in the world. There is no excuse for that.’
We are learning that activists in the US have built a close community of solidarity and support, allowing space to share experiences of police brutality. This trip not only allows us to hear of their struggles, but has shown people in the US how far the issue of state violence extends.
The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment were partners for this rally