The Sacramento Kings have formed an alliance with Black Lives Matter. The same group which has disrupted two of the last three Kings games at Golden 1 Center, while protesting the police shooting of Stephon Clark.
According to the Sacramento Bee:
Among other things, the Kings announced late Wednesday they will set up an education fund for Clark’s two young children, co-sponsor a forum in south Sacramento Friday night and work with the fledgling Build. Black. Coalition “to support the education of young people and to provide the workforce preparation and economic development efforts” in a multi-year effort.
Activists have blocked off the Kings’ arena for two of the team’s past three home games in protest of the Sacramento Police Department’s March 18 shooting of Clark, who was armed with what police thought was a gun but was later determined to be a cellphone.
The protests thrust Sacramento’s Black Lives Matter group back into the spotlight and prompted the formation of Build. Black. Coalition, which operates under the slogan ‘this is a movement, not a moment.’
According to Build. Black. Spokeswoman Darcy Totten, “This tragic death really humanized something that’s been felt deeply in this community for a long time, something that’s been brewing. Our goal is to fundamentally transform the conditions that led to the death of Stephon Clark, because those conditions are systemic.”
The Sacramento Bee reports, “The announcement represents a potential breakthrough after days of tension that have disrupted a City Council meeting, blocked traffic throughout downtown Sacramento and set the city on edge. Police plan to beef up security for the Kings’ 7 p.m. game against the Indiana Pacers Thursday, knowing protesters will be shouting outside District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s office mere blocks away and could migrate to Downtown Commons. The Kings met with Mayor Darrell Steinberg, law enforcement and community leaders Wednesday to figure out how to get fans past the protesters.”
Steinberg hailed the union between the Kings and BLM in a statement released on Thursday, “I love that the Kings have joined the Build.Black coalition and are stepping up to provide an education fund for Stephon Clark’s children in addition to commuting to new investments in Sacramento’s African-American youth.”
Black Lives Matter also applauded the arrangement:
— BlackLivesMatter Sac (@BLMSacramento) March 29, 2018
Having successfully used protests to form an alliance with a pro sports team, there’s a strong likelihood BLM will repeat that formula in the future.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn