An Open letter to President Obama about Oscar Grant

I sent this to the White house. Although it may never reach him, I sent it anyway.

“The price of having hope is sometimes disappointment, but the price of having no hope is always failure…” ~ Immortal Technique

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to ask that you bring national attention to the Oscar Grant trial in Los Angeles, CA. While I know you have other priorities, this too should grab your attention, if at least not your compassion.

Injustice is once again being administered through the justice system. A life was unjustly lost & publicly recorded. Please take notice.

Many have lost hope in big government because it proves over & over that it fails to protect those who are not the wealthy and privileged with resource and access. The common man helped you win your presidency, so please don’t forget about the common man now.


Sara Hill

I think this was an important letter to write..Thanks for doing this Sara… We just did a radio show today where Wyking an activist and freedom fighter out of Seattle reminded us that we should be hitting at all angles-inside, outside and everyway in between.. Sure we can rally the troops out on the streets and we should, but the President can make stuff happen with the stroke of a pen.. one that was paid for by our tax dollars..
-Davey D-

18 comments on “An Open letter to President Obama about Oscar Grant

  1. Davey I just hope that my letter inspires others to write letters too.

    The most confusion and uproar we cause, the more people will be forced to take notice.

    Tupac and Biggie got the attention of the White House over some Bull, so why can’t we (as a people), capture the attention of the government over something that is JUST?

    Please bombard whomever has power, authority & notoriety until our voices are heard.

    They expect us to riot, to set the city on fire, etc… giving ” just cause to use excessive force” if necessary… How many more of us will be Oscar Grant, before his blood cries out?

  2. Pingback: An Open letter to President Obama about Oscar Grant (via Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner-(The Blog)) « Davey D’s Archived Essential Hip Hop Articles

  3. Big ups 2 Sara Hill! Here is a quote from the website for the White House, “President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history.” We’re gonna see. To contact them via web just go to —>

    Thanks for posting this Davey!

  4. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Why do we refuse to see what is right in front of our eyes? :o(

    For some reason we’ve come to believe than an adherence to “Hope” is proven by our adherence to excuses.

    Case in point: This letter starts off with “While I know that you have other priorites…”. “Other priorities”???? What could be more of a priority than protecting and defending the citizens of America from enemies foreign and domestic??? In fact, isn’t that “supposedly” why we are in the Middle East in the first place, to defend and protect America?

    Yeah, right.

    Apparently, the liberation of Iraqis is more important than the liberation of African Americans, and the governmental silence on Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, and the like is no accident or unintended oversight. How hard does history and truth have to smack us in the face before we realize this???

    While I whole-heartedely understand the appeal and desire to want to believe in this president, especially considering the history of this country, the fact of the matter is that he has proven – and continues to prove – that he is no different than any president before him. However, we choose to make excuses to defend our disappointment.

    A politician, is a politician, is a politician. True greatness has NEVER come through a politician, but rather, through common people who took a stand against politicians (i.e. Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Jesus, etc.).

    Secondly, to beg from someone to do the job that you hired them to do (yes, the President is hired by the people), is simply ridiculous. A manager has 2 options when an employee doesn’t do what he is hired to do: 1) Do the job himself, or 2) Fire the employee and find somebody else who will.

    Here’s a blog that I wrote that outlines this relationship.

    A revolution is at hand, however, it does not have to be conducted in the way that the police are attempting to incite. Their antagonism is very intentional. The war that we are currently fighting is a psychological one, therefore, it is imperative that we “out think” them, because we can never “out gun” them. Not yet at least.


  5. hit at all angles.. U write the president, you call the DA, you protest in the streets.. you kick all doors till one opens.. In todays society you will ultimately have victory bc a politician wavers and does the right thing via voting in ur interest.. You pressure him by calling and agitating

    A letter to Obama is symbolic.. Maybe he’ll respond behind the scenes. Maybe he’ll go infront.. can’t hurt.. and at the very least one can make the claim you even wrote the president for redress on an issue..

  6. Davey D,

    A wise man once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Letters are always being written to the President; to even the past presidents, to which they’ve only served to provide a warm-and-fuzzy for the sender, not the receiver.

    In fact, you can almost guarantee that the President himself doesn’t even read the letters.

    Politicians aren’t concerned with what you say, they are concerned with what you”do”. Although writing a letter can most certainly be considered as doing something (as opposed to doing absolutely nothing), the real efforts should be concentrated and directed to doing those things that are most effective.

    Civil Disobedience (i.e. boycotts) for example is one thing that has historically and currently proven effective. Don’t you think that MLK and Ghandi wrote letters to the powers-that-be begging for their complicity?

    Letters are only effective to the degree of action that is put behind them. Aside from that, they are only letters, and the receiver will treat them as such; idle rants. It makes no sense to beg politicians to do what we pay them to do.

    Will it be easy? No, the momentum has already be set against us. But would we succeed? Absolutely; especially considering that we are the oil for the wheels. None of these things – even the bad ones – could work without our consent. We just need to realize our individual and collective power, and stop buying into the lies that come in the form or eloquent speeches and political postering.


  7. That’s a cute saying that folks fall back on to explain lack of effort..I know quite a few people who’ve written letters to elected officials with great results including the white house.. and yes the prez doesn’t read them.. but staffers who are usually not too far removed from you or me do..So the insanity thing don’t apply..

    Sometimes you get the same result bc u haven’t written the right type of letter..Didn’t have the right tone, didn’t use the right words versus the act of writing..

    The letter was symbolic.. It was going on the record.. It wasn’t a life altering investment in time and resources..part of a larger plan..Sometimes its the small things that count the most… what we know doesn’t work is sitting back telling folks not to do anything and discouraging honest efforts.. We have enough of that already.. You should be more encouraging to those who are trying to do better and perhaps engaged the sister to see if she has a long term plan..or if your take on things matches hers.. Knowing her..I’m willing to bet her letter gets read..

  8. I know quite a few people who have written quite a few letters as well; myself included.

    What you apparently fail to realize is that the staffers are just that; staffers. Officials at this level respond to power, not compassion. Therefore, regardless of how much a staffer may agree with or support a letter, they now their place and their role, and are more reluctant than most to cross those lines.

    But feel free to convince yourself that this administration – as well as the last 4 or 5 administrations – will find the compassion in their hearts to respond to the appeals of letters; just like many of us have convinced ourselves that this president has the equality of minorities at heart, as we are rudely awakened to the silence of Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, and Anthony Hill (the black man who was shot and dragged in South Carolina last month).

    I happen to know of at least 40 people who wrote letters to the local and Federal government regarding Anthony Hill, and I would bet that less than a quarter of your readers heard about it on the news, much less garnered a response from the President.

    However, you know just as well as I do (although you probably wouldn’t admit it) that if these victims were off a different hue, that not only would it make national news, but that the white community would go far beyond writing letters to demand justice.

    And maybe I didn’t make myself clear initially. I wasn’t saying that writing letters wouldn’t accomplish anything. What I am saying is that writing a letter asking the president to do something that he should be rightfully doing anyway, without a consequence to the lack of accountability, is about as benign as a magazine insert, and will likely get treated the same.

    Therefore, my comment wasn’t personal; but I wouldn’t sugar-coat my request to anyone who I pay to have my life and livelihood in their hands. They work for US, not the other way around.

    Therefore , what I am saying, and as I stated previously, when you have an employee who refuses to do the job that you hired them to do, what do you do?

    I can think of several things. But writing thema letter asking for their compassion is not one of them. But I guess that’s just me.


  9. The point is this: There is something incredibly wrong when we’ve reach the point of having to write our “leaders” letters in order for them to notice and address such blatant injustices as in the case of Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Anthony Hill, and the like, ESPECIALLY a Black president whom we assume could AT LEAST sympathize with such a plight.

    But instead of facing reality, we choose to make excuses for them (i.e. “his plate is full”, “he’s the American president, not the ‘Black’ president”, etc.).

    A true leader would fight injustices wherever they lie, and to claim that a leader’s plate it too full to address such – as if that leader is doing it all himself without appointing tsars and Directors – is ludicrous at best.

    They can address whatever they want to.

    The fact of the matter is that these politicians – Obama included – in reality, don’t work for YOUR best interest, they work for the best interest of Big Business at OUR expense. They only care about us to the degree that we impact their (Big Businesses) bottom line. That is the very reason why Wall St. was bailed out and why Main St. continues to increase in unemployment. Ask yourself: What sense does it make to give 700-billion dollars to 1% of the population in order to bailout the other 99%???

    If we were to be honest with ourselves, we would see that nothing has “changed” except for the worse [insert Arizona here]. But it’s all done by way of our complicity.

    Letters are cool, but only to the degree that they express and are followed up by a course of action.

    But don’t take my word for it. Research history, and find out what steps were taken to achieve the greatest and most necessary changes (i.e. French Revolution, Haitian Revolution, American Revolution, Indian Revolution, Civil Rights Movement, etc.).

    Alright, I’m done. :o)


  10. What’s incredibly wrong is when we are in the majority and many of don’t bother to engage those in power in any shape or form thus allowing them to get in position to do the wrong thing.. why are we writing letters bc.. Tungz ain’t run for office yet.. The rhetorical and figuretively.. So yes we don’t have ‘true leaders in office we have politicians.. They respond to money, and votes.. So instead of reaching out and suggesting that if people write a one paragraph letter which is within reach and connecting it to a larger action that can move things forward we spend time smashing on someone who actually does many of things u suggest as an organizer.. meaning her letter is backed by action.. but for many a letter is a good first start..

    All I’ve read so far is that letters are a waste of time and u discounting the success that I said many have had with them especially on local levels.. Why not enage people who want change, combine egfforts compare notes and build from there.. That was my larger point..?

    None of us on this board are under a cloud we all know Obama is a politician, No one here is unaware of his ties to corporations.. What president would not be at this date and time..

  11. Mr. Davey D,

    What you fail to realize is that you will not get compassion and/or results from a politician at this level by asking for it in a letter.

    Trust me, the administration is inundated with letters on a daily basis regarding many concerns in the Black community. Give me ONE example of when a politician at this level has done anything to improve the black community from the strength of a letter. In fact, give me one example of when the last 3 administrations have addressed ANY concerns in the black community; Obama included.

    Secondly, there are tons of people who are engaged to inact change. Then, on the other side, you have tons of people who are more concerned with not criticizing the Black president than they are to holding him accountable…..amounting to being no more than myrmidons and sychophants.

    Fact of the matter is, if this were George Bush, we would have criticized him a long time ago and taken the steps to right the wrongs.

    But mark my words. Your tone will change soon. In fact, it already has; changing from one who once felt that Obama could do no wrong, to now realizing that just because it is your color doesn’t mean that it’s your kind. At the end of the day, his allegance is to those who really put him in office.

    Peace, King…..and happy awakening. ;o)


  12. Tungz what do u think I am some sort of naive rookie..? and what are u basing this upon.. certainly not my experiences..
    Second, I never came to the table thinking that a president will improve the community sans me pushing him to do so..Also whats the stuff about people being afarid to critcize Obama.. Who exactly are you saying is afraid? I’m curious as to your peceptions on this.. who is letting Obama slide on key issues..Give me a few names..
    Third, what do you consider an across the board universally improved ‘Black’ issue..and what would be the measure to determine that??

  13. Write letters to President Obama won’t change a damn thing.This is what they call politricks.Politicians by nature don’t care or help the poor people who vote for them .If Obama never helps black people or addresses black issues, then he’s just a BIG FRAUD DAVEY D!!!!!!Democrats and republicans are 2 sides of the same quarter, there’s really not that much difference when it comes to Black People.Republicans are good ole’ boys aka KU KLUX KLAN and hate blacks,latinos,native americans by nature. While the Democrats alot of these so-called white progressive liberals like deceased senator Robert Byrd from West Virgina was a Klansman back in the day and was always on the wrong side of history.Let him rot in HELL forever!!!!Former President Bill Clinton didn’t do anything to stop the Rwandan genocide back in the 1990’s.President George W. Bush let black people die in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.He was probably dancing with glee see black bodies swollen and decaying floating in New Orleans bayous.The US always help overthrow leaders and governments in Africa and replaced them with dictators and phony puppet leaders loyal only to their white oppressors.My point is people are just wasting their time writing letters. They don’t solve anything and really are just a waste.POLITICIANS DON’T REALLY CARE ABOUT US!!!!!!

  14. One more thing, President Obama is a friend of that fool Professor Henry Gates and believes if the police beat or kill innocent black people, the best way to solve the situation is to have a beer with those devil cops.GTFOH with that bullshit.Look at the killings that happening right in Chicago.54 shootings in one weekend. Obama is quiet because he’s a fraud and doesn’t want to talk about racism and poverty.He’ll never address the killings of unarmed black men such as Oscar Grant, Sean Bell,Kevin Brown, Nathaniel Sanders in Austin,TX and so on and so on.There are too many Brothers And Sisters shot dead by these racist pigs aka the crackas in Blue.Inshallah one way or another, Black People will unite and find solutions to our problems in our communities without the so-called help(oppression) by our open enemies.

  15. This short letter to Obama has really touched a nerve.. Seems like we have a lot of people really vested in trying to tell other activist what works and ignoring them when they say it has worked for them… In my book that’s called being dismissive and not respecting ur fellow freedom fighter..That’s why we often have problems of moving forward.

    So again, what I will suggest is b4 we get into a convo about politrix and what politicians do.. How about starting off with a simple convo of asking..

    1-what results were u hoping to achieve by writing a letter? 2-Has this worked b4? 3-Do u think it ties into other effort?

    Let’s stop assuming because one takes a method that they don’t know what their doing?

    You telling me Dems and Repubs are one and the same is a faulty analysis on a number of levels.. It one assumes that I am invested in one party over another versus having the sophistication to know that to get from pt A to pt B one may using one over the other bc they aren’t the same..

    We have two corporate backed entities battling and using various groups to maintain power.. GOP is uses poor whites / tea part types.. Dems use minorities, young people etc..
    Thats in a general sense.. It may change from state to state and on local levels.. lets start having a bit more sophisticated convos versus things that have very little relevance..
    This is a two [party system and if we enage on an electoral level then we at least need to know the game..

    Thats like me looking at your handle Fruit of Islam and me giving u a long lecture about elijah muhammad or minister farrakhan b4 asking you ur take on a position he holds or asking you what u think about the NOI.. You may know you may not know…

    Here I have guy Tungz telling me my eyes are finally open to Obama.. which assumes that I was one who had no idea that this was a middle of the road guy who was beholden to corporations.. That’s wasting time.. when the convo of substance might be.. how do u work under him vs Sarah Palin and McCain.. There would be a difference even if its on one or two lets not insult each others intelligence..especially when all of us at the end of the day want better conditions for our folks..

    What annoyed me about Tungz.. to this day he has yet to ask me about the background of the author Sara who wrote the letter or even engage her…
    We got to start talking with one another and not at one another when having these discussions..

    As former Black panther emory douglass said a few weeks ago when the issue of voting came up.. he noted the panthers used all sorts of tactics..inside/outside.. they used agitation and voting..They used entertainment and used political education.. They ran folks for office because a sizeable number of people in the community spoke that langauge.. They hit from the outside bc a sizeable number of people spoke that language.. he said we need to go to where the people are at and start building WITH them from there..

    So lets start from the beginning.. the purpose of an open letter to Obama was not because one thought he would do something persay it was a symbolic gesture. Part of it was to bring awareness to a important trial that has essentially been blocked from the mainstream news coverage..and has not been picked up by our black press even in LA.. Final Call and SFBayview have covered this.. but many have not…

    I can tell you for fact out of all the articles and videos that have run on my site about oscar Grant…this open letter to obama dwarfs them by overwhelming amounts… I mean its been a HUGE HUGE difference..It was picked up by alot of folks..

    2- the sister that wrote it is an organizer with a big following herself….shes a sister who knows her community and what makes them her circle a letter to the president means something. To her friends and FB buddies a letter to obama made someone pause and take a second look.. Telling her crowd about politix wont work bc for them the president is doing a wonderful writing a letter to him they became aware of something they had probably overlooked..Her open letter caught the attention of a radio show host who is having me on today to speak about what’s going on around this..It caiught the attention of a few bloggers who hit me up about the videos..

    This open letter was needed because even amongst our own we have more folks who immediately rushed off to pen blogs and prime themselves to give commentary about Mel Gibson telling his girlfriend that she needed to be raped by a pack of niggers than we did people writing commentary about a young man who shot point blank by an officer who called him a bitch ass nigger seconds before he was killed.. Hell none of you guys even commented on that..

    We have more people that have waxed poetic about us writing letters to obama versus a conversation about how the oscar grant movement managed to deal with someone who infiltrated the movement as an agent for the police and was later discovered.. We should be building on that. This was something we addressed and highlighted in other posts..

    We have no commentary about the build up of national guard around a mid size city (oakland) in anticipation of the verdict and what that means for Black folks in the next week or so.. lets talk about that versus telling folks our eyes need to be open…

    what strategies do we have around that?

    There’s a debate about whether we should be calling for peace or sit back and let folks rebel if the verdict is not just.. lets build around that.. Those are much more complex and sophisticated issues than a one paragraph letter that took less than three minutes to write and was more of eye opening tool for the community.. Thats why it was an OPEN LETTER.


  16. Mr. Davey D,

    Like I told you earlier, my retort is not personal and has noting to do with Sara. It is not her heart/intent that I am questioning, it is the method.

    As for you, their have been NUMEROUS posts where you implied and/or blatantly stated that Obama is the one to bring positive change (you stated this even while he was campaigning), or where you justified and or made excuses for some of his actions that many people considered nefarious.

    In fact, MANY of your readers challenged you on these positions. I’m sure that you still have these posts in your archive. If I had the luxury or capabilities, I would gladly repost them, but that would probably be superfluous. But I’m sure that those who are reading this my recall them.

    You clearly thought Obama was other than who and what he is proving himself to be at this moment.

    Secondly, as for McCain/Palin versus Obama, the only difference between them – in term of political policy – is that one is far more charismatic and magnetic than the other and it able engage a larger demographic. That’s it!

    Truth be told, EVERYTHING that Bush wanted to (which is also what McCain wanted to do), Obama has accomplished plus some. Bush wanted to enforce illegal wiretapping, and Obama signed the FISA bill. Bush wanted to send 20,000 troops to the Middle East, Obama sent 30,000 (after campaigning to bring them back by 2010). Bush wanted to detain Iraqis without proof of a crime or legal representation, and Obama signed the Preventative Detention Bill. Bus boycotted the World Race Summit. So did Obama. Bush wanted offshore drilling, Obama campaigned against it, then changed his position when he became president, and now look what happened. :o(

    So tell me, Mr. Davey D……what is the difference? A duck covered in black oil is still a duck.

    I could go on (I really could), but hopefully you get the point.

    And you think that a letter asking for his compassion will stroke the heart strings of politicians like this????

    It’s been over a year, and the Administration has yet to even utter a word about Oscar Grant or any such crimes; not even of the weekly killing of black kids in the streets of Chicago where the President is from.

    I FULLY support ANYONE who rallies for Truth and Justice for all people. But I don’t believe in expending positive energy on benign efforts; especially when time is of the essence.

    Again, this is nothing personal to Sara. I would say the same thing t Mother Theresa if she wrote the same type of letter “asking” the president to do his job.

    But since you believe that I’m being pessimistic as opposed t realistic, let’s just wait and see if this letter implores this Administration to speak on the Oscar Grant issue.

    Again, dont take my word for it. See for yourself.



  17. Tungz you show me those archives..please show them..Dont tell me I implied.. I’m a pretty straight forward cat..I don’t imply anything I speak it.. I’m quite clear..
    Did I voted for Obama yes..Do I regret that? hell naw.. I made no excuses and don’t make them now..Was I under any illusions? Nope.. I was well aware that anything i wanted I would have to push for.. like any other president and politician…have I been surprised at some of his stances..on occassion..

    Second.. a duck covered in Black oil is a duck covered in Black oil vs a duck that doesn’t have that extra burden and hardship.. They are ducks but very different..
    Thats like me saying Clarence Thomas and Huey Newton are standing in a room and we see them both as Black men.. But very very very different black men. so no Tungz I don’t get your point..

    Would it make a difference having John McCain and Sarah Palin in the white house versus Obama in my humble opinion.. hell yeah..

    And sadly Tungz your reply underscored my point.. I suggest you read what i wrote before responding.. I find it disrespectful that you didn’t do that..It’s either that or you don’t listen..which is also disrespectful..You’re still telling me about engaging a president and that was not what that was about which is what prompted the conversation in the first place..Show a little respect and start speaking on the issues laid out and stop preaching..You are not an elder to me.or my spiritual counselor . you’re a peer.. and as one we can share perspectives and opinions.. You’re not here to lead me to ‘the light’ especially since I didn’t ask that of you.. Nor is this a conversation about right or wrong.. Since I already indicated letters work for me and have worked for sara.. you saying they don’t work is mute point..

    Conversation should be about ways in which to bring attention and ultimately justice to Oscar Grant and other issues we find egregious .. now we build on ways to do that and share angles on that or not, but don’t get it twisted fam.. Now if u feel what I’m doing is somehow beneath you then I get that and we can end the hard feelings..but from where I sit…

    This line spells it out.. you misread the point totally


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