SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s a push for peace as faith leaders come together to bring unity to Sacramento at a time of crisis, and heightened tensions.
Emotions have been running high for months now since the controversial shooting death of Stephon Clark, who was shot by police after they mistook his cell phone for a gun.
And just this week Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputy Mark Stasyuk was shot and killed by a suspect after responding to a routine call for service.
On Wednesday night, a large crowd filled the Unity Church of Sacramento, desperate for healing.
“At this time clergy play an important role,” said Rev. Kevin Kitrell Ross of
Unity of Sacramento.
It was an urgent message of unity both for those mourning the death of 22-year-old Clark and the 27-year-old Stasyuk.
“Tonight is about recognizing that deep pain does not have a race,” said Ross.
But just one day ago, on the six-month anniversary of Clark’s death, tensions once again spilled over onto the streets of Sacramento with police in riot gear lining up to control the crowds and community members locking arms demanding justice.
“There is a timing that we are in that puts us on display. On how will we in Sacramento respond to the tension that’s present and prevalent in every city,” said Pastor Joy Johnson with Agape Alive Church in Roseville.
Johnson, Ross and Pastor Alan John of St. Mark’s Methodist Church are some of the faith leaders in the city.
“We are discovering that the work that we’re called to do in this hour is not inside a crystal cathedral. It is in engaging and creating healing circles,” said Johnson.
Johnson says for the last six months clergy leaders have set up a number of healing circles to open dialogues within different communities, and have met with a number of law enforcement agencies from Sacramento Police to the sheriffs department to find a better way.
“These conversations, these assemblies, these dialogues are happening all over,” said Johnson.
“I want us to do some heart searching, some soul searching, and I’m finding with people in the congregation there is a new readiness to do some of that,” said Jones.
Jones adds, “There is great sadness with the death of the Sheriff’s deputy. We’ve got a great police force in Sacramento, great police officers, but there are still problems of procedure and policies that are still causing this disproportionate impact on young lives in the African-American community.”
Amid the crisis, faith leaders are hoping to bring back the humanity.
“We may have opposing views, but we are all human, but often times we forget that in all this tension,” said Johnson.