Comedian Cedric The Entertainer Leads Protest March In Hollywood

By: Giovanni Zaburoni

Black celebrities are using their money and their platforms to support a growing movement that is spreading across the country, the call for police reform and reminding the public at large that Black lives in fact do matter.  The latest celebrities to join in the nationwide call to action is Cedric the Entertainer and Kendrick Sampson who has steadily been getting attention for his role on the hit show “How to Get Away With Murder.”  Cedric led hundreds of people down Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood to peacefully protest the deaths of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, and other unarmed Black people who have died at the hands of police, according to the New York Daily News.  During the protest, Cedric said, “it’s sickening and it’s tiring that you see these as little news bites on your phone. You see them and you have this instant outrage, but you’re only looking at a clip of it.  You’re not there in the situation, but all you can see is that a person was unarmed and they just shouldn’t have had to die.”

The idea of Black life being seen as disposable has also touched Sampson’s life in a powerful way.  “It’s become more and more surreal. As soon as I hear about another one, tears come up and then I swallow them and it just motivates me that much more to get involved and text my friends and family and tell them I love them, especially the people of color my nephews and nieces.”

Soon after the deaths of Crutcher and Scott, police in El Cajon, California shot and killed an unarmed Ugandan immigrant named Alfred Olango.  Olango’s sister called the police because her brother was having a mental issue and she needed assistance.  When police arrived, Olango raised his arms in what authorities are calling a “shooting stance.”  He had an e-cigarette in his hands, but police still opened fire.  Cedric spoke about the Olango shooting too saying, “They called for help and they murdered him.  We want to see change. We want to see reform in policing.”

Cedric says training is needed when it comes to responding to medical emergencies such as the Olango case. He says police need “to be able to restrain someone and calm a situation down without it being a fatality.  We understand (police) have to make these split-second decision and they do have to deal with villains and lascivious characters in the world, but in so many of these cases we’re talking about, these are people who are unarmed who are dealing with some kind of mental health issue.  We all need the police and are glad that they exist, but this kind of behavior is unacceptable.”

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