My thoughts about yesterday’s town hall meeting for Oscar Grant
by Ner City
original story: http://bit.ly/9di80X
Yesterday’s town hall meeting was very interesting. It was sad that it wasn’t really a “Town Hall Meeting” but more like a “Street Hall Meeting”. What I mean by that was I wish there were more people there. No Oakland Raider, Athletic, Golden State Warrior rep, no KMEL rep, KTVU, NBC, CBS, ABC (Shout out to Greg Bridges from KPFA for being there) but besides him and maybe a few people from grassroots movements everyone else seemed M.I.A. The church was maybe half full. Maybe a lot of people were like me out of the loop and found out about this meeting at the last minute or not knowing at all. *shrugs*
Things that I learned:
There are tiers to Manslaughter, Involuntary Manslaughter & 2nd Degree murder. Meaning that a person convicted of involuntary manslaughter can still get a lot of years if a gun was involved. Same for Manslaughter & 2nd degree murder. So if Mehserle gets a guilty verdict for whatever he can still have 10-21 years added mandatory. .
There were some disturbing things that I learned also. As reported on my status update Mehserle was kicked out of the same high school where he was voted “Most huggable” for slapping a Latina woman. This evidence was not allowed in court for some strange reason.
The Judge’s final instructions to the jury were that if they felt that Mehserle was going for his taser they must find him not guilty.
Things that moved me:
Oscar Grant’s mother being there. It’s one thing to see the woman on TV and try to feel her pain, but it’s a totally different thing to see her in person. She’s a very strong woman and probably wishes she didn’t get so much attention. A mother losing her son has to be the biggest pain ever felt. 9 months carrying the child, all those years raising them and now you have to spend the rest of your life trying to cope without them. Damn.
My feelings about the Town Hall Meeting:
I have mixed feelings. For two hours only 4-5 people spoke. Two Muslim ministers, this guy named “Tony”, Oscar Grant’s uncle, Donald Lacy and the pastor of the church that we were at to wrap things up. Though all of them said things to move the crowd (though some of them started preaching, ranting & going on a tangent a little too long) to me there wasn’t any “So this is what we’re going to do now.” Moments
I wanted to know what are we as a people in this room going to do to spread the message about the different tiers of involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter & murder to the people that don’t know because the news isn’t doing that.
How do you feel if Mehserle gets involuntary manslaughter but gets 14 years? Will you say that it’s “Injustice”? If so will you riot? And speaking of “rioting” I highly doubt one person in that church would throw a brick, kick out a window, jump on a car or start beating white people which is being said by so many people if the verdict doesn’t go their way. My point is that we need to talk to the people that will or might want to do that. Hell, we were on 27th & San Pablo (Just a few blocks where my Grand Father lived in some of the most hood spots) and I bet you a few of these young kids would love to “tear some shit up for injustice and rage”. We need to touch them.
So Monday I’m going to do my part and walk the streets of both East & West Oakland to talk to some of these young men and just to see where their head’s at. People are quick to say that the riots could happen downtown but what about the rest of “The town”? What about the Fruitvale area where Oscar was murdered? What about East Oakland where if you remember our people went wild twice, once over the Raiders winning the AFC championship & another time just because there was suppose to be a Tupac & Dogg Pound concert at the Eastmont Pavilion <—– I’m showing my age. What about Oakland’s west side? Those are questions that need to be asked and addressed don’t you think?
These were the things that Josh and I were talking about as I was dropping him off from the meeting. It was strange how our conversation just stopped when we pulled up & seen two Oakland’s police cars near Josh’s “favorite taco truck”, that just shows you there’s still tension in the air, my question that I asked Josh that I wished I could’ve asked the people in that room, or the mayor or the police chief (Both who weren’t there) this…
My Question- Everybody’s worried about what Oakland is going to do if they don’t get the verdict they want and how are they going to react, but how will Bart Police, Oakland Police, SFPD, Richmond PD, LAPD and every PD in the state of California and outside of it..how will they react (to us) if they do not get the verdict they want? Will they feel that justice was not served and lash out at us in their own special way?
Just something to thing about.
BTW I hate that picture of Oscar Grant wearing all black with the beany. To me it helps play into people’s ignorance and fear of a dangerous black man painting a picture of him being a thug and the media, defense attorney and police on the scene can hype that bs so I found a better one to post.