Clark Turns Inspiration Into Voting Action
MEADOWVIEW – From amplifying the discussion surrounding the need for change in how law enforcement operates in the Black community to showing younger generations that there is a blueprint to their call for social justice and equity, there were plenty of takeaways for the thousands who attended the new March on Washington back in late August.
For Sequette Clark, it was the Rev. Al Sharpton’s emphasis on the importance of the upcoming election that sparked a fire within her, motivating her to come back home to Sacramento and roll up her sleeves and get busy.
“He inspired me when he began to speak about the need for a voter’s brigade, the need to take away the suppression of the vote and take away (barriers) to how we are able to access the vote. I just was inspired by that and decided to become a part of it,” she shared.
Ms. Clark unveiled a new drop box in Meadowview, that will allow voters to turn in their completed ballots, 24 hours a day, now through election day, November 3. The box, delivered and installed by the Sacramento County Registrar’s Office on Tuesday, is located outside Tecoy Porter, the Fortune School charter campus located a “stone’s throw,” from the home where Ms. Clark’s 22-year-old son Stephon Clark, a parent himself, was fatally shot by two Sacramento police officers in March 2018 after they mistook his cell phone for a gun. Clark’s death, and the decision by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and the California Attorney General to not charge the officers involved, sparked protests locally and across the country and left the Clark family demanding justice and with the Herculean task turning personal pain into purposeful action.
They first met Rev. Sharpton when he delivered a stirring eulogy at Stephon Clark’s funeral. The recent March on Washington sprang out of outrage stemming from the tragic deaths of African Americans like Clark, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
The drop box placement is a part of a larger voter outreach effort that Ms. Clark has launched, “The ERA of the Vote,” through The SAC Foundation, which she now leads to preserve her son’s legacy. ERA stands for educate and inform and register and assist.
“The voters that we are highlighting or targeting are voters who are uncounted voters, who are forgotten or overlooked–homeless communities, areas like the Meadowview area people who are not even considered to vote,” Ms. Clark shared.
“Our first step in The ERA of the Vote would be to educate and inform those who are uninformed about what’s on the ballot, what the actual propositions mean,” she continued.
Ms. Clark conducted a recent podcast featuring a breakdown of propositions that are on the ballot for the General Election. The SAC Foundation team has also visited local homeless encampments, registering people to vote. Part of that work is making people aware that they can in fact register without living in a house or apartment. They’ll also provide rides to those wanting to go to the polls on election night.
“Homeless does not mean voteless, Ms. Clark said.
Fortune School co-founder Margaret Fortune said having a ballot box in Meadowview is historic.
“This is the first 24-hour ballot box brought to this area, this zip code, ever,” Ms. Fortune shared.
“Sequette Clark deserves a lot of praise and a lot of credit for thinking about this way to continue the legacy of her son Stephon Clark, who was about engagement and activism,” she continued.
The education leader said she’s excited to have the new Tecoy Porter school, which has an onsite playground named after the late Clark, act as a “real community center in this important way.”
The school is located alongside Genesis Missionary Baptist Church and bears the name of its pastor, who is also a leader with the Sacramento chapter of Rev. Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) and California State NAN. Dr. Tecoy Porter called the upcoming election vital. Dr. Porter applauded Ms. Clark’s effort to “make sure everyone has the right to vote without hassle or obstruction.”
“She said, ‘you know what, let’s do something different.’ She created the vision. She called the Secretary of State on her own. We happily support her,” he shared.
By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer