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March 21 marks the seventh anniversary of one of the biggest events in Oakland history and in the nation’s fight against police terror in recent times. I am talking about the police murder of Lovelle Mixon two months after the videotaped police execution of Oscar Grant. Mixon’s fearlessness, audacity and strength in the heat of battle against the police, who have been rampantly killing Black people in Oakland’s Black community with impunity for decades, created a snowball effect of frustration and courage, which, in combination with the half a dozen rebellions in downtown Oakland surrounding the Grant case, pushed the tide of popular opinion in California towards the conviction of Mehserle.
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.
“Fruitvale,” the award-winning movie about the last 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant, is set to debut in mid-June in Los Angeles. I caught up with the Bay Area’s own Ryan Coogler to talk about the film. I had some questions about why this film did not include the life and death of Lovelle Mixon and would it be able to be used as a weapon against police terrorism. Read Ryan Coogler’s answers in his own words.
"People leave feeling alive when they see the film. The brutal police murders that are shown in the film, the drive and motivation of the people of Oakland who organized against all odds to chop down the big trees of terrorism and oppression leave audiences stunned," says Adimu Madyun, director of "Operation Small Axe," winner of the Rise Up Award for Most Motivational Film at the New Orleans Film Festival. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a screening.