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Southern California African-American Clergy Leaders Opposing SB 128

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June 3, 2015


Sacramento, CA - Several prominent African-American clergy leaders are asking California legislators to say no to Senate Bill 128 - assisted suicide. These pastors represent a larger group of African-American congregations in Southern California that are staunchly opposed to assisted suicide legalization and SB 128.  


This leadership group includes Rev. Norman Copeland, Senior Pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church in San Bernardino, and the board chairman of CLUE Los Angeles (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice). Also asking legislators to say no to Senate Bill 128 is Bishop Philip Powell, Senior Pastor of The Centre at Highland and President of the Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches, and Pastor Kerwin Manning, Senior Pastor of Pasadena Church and president of the Clergy Community Coalition.

These pastors together represent several dozen largely African-American congregations in the Los Angeles and Inland Empire areas of Southern California. 


"This community understands that assisted suicide mixed with a lack of access to healthcare resources in many largely African American communities is a recipe for disaster," said Ken Barnes, spokesperson for the Californians Against Assisted Suicide coalition. "California is not Oregon, Washington or Vermont, we are a far more ethnically and economically diverse state. Many of the communities these clergy leaders serve face hospital closures, lack of primary care facilities and virtually non-existent palliative and hospice care options. These items should be legislative priorities, not assisted suicide."


Senate Bill 128 is opposed broadly by groups including Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, The Arc California, Association of Northern California Oncologists, Medical Oncologists of Southern California, California Foundation for Independent Living, Silicon Valley Center for Independent Living and dozens of other organizations representing a diverse cross-section of California.