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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Twenty minutes for 20 bullets; Campus members stage unauthorized walkout one month after Stephon Clark’s shooting
From the fountain by the Performing Arts Center, Kandra Coleman addresses the participants of an unofficial walkout as they hold their phones up in solidarity with Stephon Clark April 18. Photo by Heather Roegiers | Editor-in-Chief | [email protected]

Twenty minutes for 20 bullets; Campus members stage unauthorized walkout one month after Stephon Clark’s shooting

Members of the main campus community walked out of class Wednesday to hold a moment of silence for Stephon Clark on the month anniversary of the day he was killed by police.

The event was organized by Kandra Coleman, president of the Umoja Success Scholars on campus, a branch of the Umoja Program. Coleman held a sign with a picture of Stephon Clark and the message “20 minutes, 20 bullets,” as she addressed participants from atop the fountain outside the Performing Arts Center. Participants held up their phones as they engaged in a moment of silence.  Other participants shared their thoughts and stories, and some attendees lit candles to close the event.

“I felt the need to organize something to keep everything going, especially seeing as how it was a month after,” said Coleman. “Last month they gave us 17 minutes to walk out for something that happened in Florida. I don’t want to sound harsh, but that personally doesn’t affect me, whereas I knew (Stephon Clark). He was a student; he was a member of my community.  Why wouldn’t I be able to take 20 minutes to walk out for him when he was murdered by the police in his own backyard? So I took my 20 minutes.”

Stephon Clark stopped attending City College in 2015, but according to staff-member Luster Taylor of the IT department, he was about to go back.

“I want to say three weeks before his death he contacted me right here on campus and asked me if I could help him get back into school,” said Taylor. “Right when I got all his paperwork done for him, he was actually killed.”

Taylor said Stephon Clark had a counseling appointment scheduled on Wednesday the week after his death.

Taylor said part of his job was to help find potential students.

“He was special ’cause a lot of times I have to look for students,” said Taylor, “You know, ‘Do you want to come to school?’ And he looked for me, like, ‘I’m ready to come back.’”

Coleman said she organized the event herself, but coordinated via email with members of Puente and RISE after the school discouraged the event.

“We called it the Underground Walkout because I felt like the school really didn’t want me to do it,” said Coleman. “They were saying some things I found offensive like, ‘We don’t want City Hall part two on our campus,’ or they were saying, ‘Well, who are you going to invite to this walkout?’ Or they asked me, ‘Well, haven’t we done enough?’ and I didn’t feel like we did.”

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City College’s public information officer, Kaitlyn MacGregor, said that she was not aware of the protest.

“Following the shooting of Stephon Clark, we encouraged the campus to be courageous in expanding our conversations about violence and inequity, and held a series of events to foster dialogue and community,” said MacGregor. “Yesterday’s event was not one that we were aware was happening on our campus until it was brought to our attention that there were unattended, lit candles by the fountain.”

MacGregor said that because the lit candles violated fire department regulations, the candles were extinguished and brought to Operations.

“Someone came forward asking why they had been removed,” said MacGregor. “Once it was explained, a new location was established at the gazebo where the candles could remain unlit for the duration of the day, as was requested.”

MacGregor said that though the event was never authorized, City College supports the right to assembly.

Coleman said being the mother of three young black males gives her a different perspective. She said Stephon Clark’s death was also something far too familiar for her.

“It happened to a friend of mine, Lamar Alexander, 12 years ago,” said Coleman. “I went to school with him as well. He was shot two yards over, in the backyard of his house, as well. He was shot 17 times and killed. Nobody really did anything, and so that scarred me a little bit. And just to keep seeing this happen and happen and happen, and people keep getting away with it, and people are losing their lives, it’s not something that you can just keep overlooking.”

Coleman said she thought City College had a special responsibility to fight for Stephon Clark since he was a student.

“I just wanted to put the connection back to where he went to school, put the connection back to where he was actually a part of,” said Coleman.


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