This week has been an emotional rollercoaster beginning with the viewing of “Fruitvale Station” at Grand Lakes Theater on Friday. The movie features the last 24 hours of Oscar Grant’s life, an Oakland resident who was shot and killed by BART Officer Mehserle at Fruitvale Station on January 1, 2009. A former Saint Mary’s student, director Ryan Coogler provides an authentic, provoking, and a powerful portrayal of the life and death of Oscar Grant. By the end of the movie, there wasn’t a pair of dry eyes in the audience. Outside the movie theater, activists raised awareness about police brutality, the hunger strike at Pelican Bay Penitentiary, and the ongoing George Zimmermon trial. Watching “Fruitvale Station” at Grand Lakes Theater amongst Oakland locals, I couldn’t help but feel a part of the community. I can sincerely call Oakland my “home.”
Not even twenty-four hours after the movie, the jury for the Zimmermon trial came to its verdict. Not guilty. Upon hearing this, all I felt was numbness, the first of many emotions; next shock, then sadness, and finally rage. I cried for Trayvon, for Oscar Grant, for the parents torn too soon from their children, for racial and legal injustices. I am angry that an unarmed teenager was shot, murdered, and he who killed suffered no repercussions. Following the verdict, Oakland awoke rousing local activists to rally. On Monday, the four Micah Fellows attended a rally in Oscar Grant Plaza which garnered over 500 people. People expressed themselves through slam poetry and song, others held signs. The crowd walked down Broadway, stopping traffic on its way, crying “No justice, no peace” and “Black lives are precious.” In the midst of my personal rollercoaster, I found inner peace at the rally. My anger, frustration, and sadness subsided amongst the crowd. In the wake of this tragedy and injustice, I find peace amongst activist, rallies, and dialogues with my roommates.
This week has especially inspired me to continue being an advocate for social change. Social change is not instant, but nevertheless we must push forward even if our vision is not clear but blurred by tears and marred by anger.