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Now, as the San Francisco Bay View newspaper’s 40th birthday year comes to a close, is the time to bring up to date the historical sketch of our paper that I began with Part 1 in the January paper. Piles of old papers rest on my desk, waiting to be read once again – a banquet of stories and pictures of our lives, our hopes, our goals. Let me let you taste the flavor of the freedom we continue to fight for in the age of Trump.
The 2016 Oscar Grant birthday “Love Not Blood” Campaign and the Oscar Grant Foundation sponsored a Policing in the 21st Century event, about “Where do we go from here,” on Saturday, Feb. 27, at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Oakland. The community packed the event to witness the testimonials from police victims’ families across the United States.
The activism in Oakland today parallels both the activism to end police brutality in Oakland in the 1940s and 1950s and the Black Panthers’ activism beginning in 1966. A new source of activism has been added today: the victims’ families. “Policing in the 21st Century: Where Do We Go from Here,” uniting police victims’ families with Black Panther Party veterans will be held Saturday, Feb. 27, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at First AME Church, 530 37th St., Oakland; it’s free and open to the public.
With everything that has been going on lately in my life, I am just realizing that my picture is on every major news outlet that I can think of. Yes, that is me that you see in the many pictures floating around the internet with world renowned movie director Quentin Tarantino, holding a banner of my loved one. But what you may not know is the story behind why I was marching that day in New York and why I continue to fight for justice for Mario Romero.
More than 200 public defenders and allies held a protest Dec. 18 on the steps of San Francisco’s criminal courthouse to show support for racial justice and stand in solidarity with protesters around the country. At least 200 public defenders walked off their jobs in Brooklyn on Dec. 17, staging a march and “die-in” to highlight the pervasiveness of racial inequality in the criminal justice system
On Aug. 9, police in Ferguson, St. Louis County, Missouri, murdered Michael Brown, 18, as he put his hands in the air to let his friend escape. Then the police aimed their full U.S. military-strength force at all the youth of Ferguson who dared to demand justice. With the world watching and their hands in the air, identifying the police as the source of the violence, night after night, young people waded INTO the tear gas and stood unflinching with guns in their faces. Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby, Cephus Johnson, calls them the most fearless youth of our generation. And they vow not to stop until killer cop Darren Wilson is brought to justice.
I was armed when I entered the darkened studio room on Yosemite in San Francisco’s Bayview District where Zaccho Dance Theatre resides. When I opened the black curtain and stepped into the darkened room, I stood still for a moment to let my eyes adjust and noticed chairs where a few patrons sat. I decided to wander through the huge open space.
There was an ocean of signs in a sea of banners of struggle and liberation in front of Anaheim’s City Hall and the adjacent park on July 21, 2013. The signs held faces of those cut down in the prime of their lives in loving memory and detail. There were informational signs and signs with slogans of liberation, with demands, statements of fact and advice – such as “Fuck the system” and “FTP” (“Fuck the police”).
With a banner reading “From the Mission District to the whole Bay Area – Stop Racist Police Brutality,” over 300 community members rallied against the most recent case of police violence in San Francisco. The event was prompted by a video that became widespread showing 18-year-old City College student Kevin Clark being brutalized by two San Francisco police officers.
Anthony “Tony” Pirone, the police officer who had his knee on Oscar Grant's back while Grant was laying on the Fruitvale BART platform in Oakland as Officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed him, is seeking arbitration with BART to be reinstated to his previous position with the BART police. Many consider Pirone as one of the main instigators in the events leading to Grant’s murder.
Judith Jamison looked regal on stage with Farai Chideya last month in The Forum Conversations at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Her message seemed to be one of preparedness and presence – being, as our sister Ayana Vanzant says, in spirit. Muslims call this the sirata-l-mustaqim or the path of the rightly guided.
Derrick Gaines, 15, was shot and killed by Officer Joshua Cabillo of the South San Francisco Police Department on June 5. His family continues to courageously demand that the truth be heard. Join Derrick’s family and friends Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Arco station where he was murdered, at 2300 Westborough Blvd, South San Francisco, for a speakout at 4 p.m. and a march at 5 p.m.
Over 100 family members, religious leaders and community supporters held a prayer vigil and speak-out on New Year’s Day in front of the Fruitvale BART station to commemorate the second anniversary of the BART police killing of Oscar Grant, a young Black man.
Local 10 of the ILWU is calling for a labor and community rally on Saturday, Oct. 23, 12 noon, at City Hall, near 14th & Broadway in Oakland, to demand justice for Oscar Grant and the jailing of killer cops. Bay Area ports will shut down that day to stand with the Black community. Get ready for the rally Friday, Oct. 22, 6:30 p.m., with a screening of Minister of Information JR’s film ‘Operation Small Axe’ plus revolutionary art by Black Panther Minister of Culture Emory Douglas at the Black Dot Cafe, 1195 Pine St., West Oakland.
Community groups are denouncing an announcement today by the defense team for former BART officer Johannes Mehserle that they are seeking a retrial in the shooting death of unarmed Oscar Grant III.
Supporters of killer cop Johannes Mehserle rallied in San Jose Aug. 2 with no counter-demonstrators. KTVU was there and last week presented two features on Mehserle’s life story, presumably intended to soften his public image and engender sympathy for him as the Nov. 5 sentencing date approaches. Justice for Oscar Grant supporters will protest in the parking lot outside KTVU on Thursday, Aug. 12, 12:30 p.m., at 2 Jack London Square, Oakland. Be there to honor Black August! And Oscar Grant supporters are asked to demand the maximum sentence for Mehserle.
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums had a chance to shine last Thursday, after the verdict was announced in the murder trial of transit cop Johannes Mehserle for the Jan. 1, 2009, killing of 22-year-old unarmed Black man Oscar Grant. But instead of standing with the people, Dellums stood with his police chief, and together they proceeded to criminalize the entire community.
Oscar Grant's family told reporters Saturday that the letter of apology from Mehserle should have come much sooner and should have been directed to them personally. Mehserle's attorney, Michael Rains, told KGO-TV on Sunday, “I don’t think that when the family remains that hostile and that nasty and mean-spirited that Mr. Mehserle should be out there offering olive branches because they will not be received.”
The female BART officer that was on that platform even stated in her testimony that she supposedly feared for her life, and she just knew that she was going to have to shoot somebody or kill somebody that night. Those were her words in court. The judge said: "Hold up. Wait a minute, who were you going to shoot first?"