‘His brother’s keeper’
‘His brother’s keeper’
By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest” (Job 30:17)
Stevante Clark is one of my heroes. Stevante Clark is the brother of Stephon Clark who was killed by members of the Sacramento Police Department on March 18th of this year. Stephon Clark was fired at 20 times and hit at least eight times in the back. Stavante Clark is determined his brother will not have died in vain.
Not waiting for anyone to lead demonstrations protesting the shooting of his brother or being content with sympathy or soft apologies. Clark is foremost in demanding real and plausible explanations of his brother’s death with a demand that the City of Sacramento Police Department formulate policy changes that insure a similar incident never happens again.
Stevante Clark is no stranger to losing family members to violent death; he lost a younger brother to violence not long ago. A friend has suggested that because of the violent deaths of his brothers, along with living in a “war zone community,” Clark may be suffering from post-traumatic stress. I don’t doubt it and not only Stevante Clark but the huge number of our young people who live, go to school and work in communities where guns, violence, and early death have become an unnatural norm.
These young people and children are victims without recognition of the causes of their victimhood or the amelioration of those causes. One cause is the expectation they will be victims of violence. A great reason for the national response to the Parkland Massacre is no one expected those children to die as they did. It is both expected and accepted by many that our children live in violent communities and die violent deaths as a result. Hence no parades of protest no mass demonstrations, no confrontations with state legislatures. And no change.
Stevante Clark has decided that even if he has to stand by himself, he is determined to stand. He is resolute that this tragedy to his family and his community benefit their well-being in some way. He is advocating not just for justice for his brother but more community resource centers, more libraries, more dollars for families in need of a hand, not up, but just to stay even.
Not everyone will agree with Stavante Clark and how he is doing what he does. And that’s alright. The question becomes not his methodology but the rightness of his cause. He has taken his pain and converted it to energized involvement. He has recognized that someone has to lead in order to get others to follow; even more importantly, to do what the old gospel song directs us to do, “when the Spirit says march, march.” It is way past time to take it to the streets again. Whatever one wants to think of Black Lives Matter, they have understood the need for a visual vocabulary that has impact and insistency.
Martin said this, “If you can’t fly then run,, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward” and 2 Corinthians 6:2 is “behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Stevante Clark understands these reinforcements to activism even if many of us do not. He should be applauded.