Two months in: The maturing of the
Oscar Grant III Justice Movement
by POCC Minister of Information JR
In the two months since the police execution-style murder of the 22-year-old unarmed and handcuffed Hayward father of a 4-year-old girl, Oscar Grant III, there has been an awakening of the sleeping giant, the social consciousness of the people, around this and connected issues. There are all kinds of coalitions formed as a result of this act of police terrorism and murder that consist of people from all ethnicities and various economic classes and walks of life.
The blessing in this tragedy is that Oscar Grant's murder reawakened militant resistance in the Bay Area that has not been seen since the demise of the Black Panther Party. As well, the fight for justice has aligned many different groups of people who don't normally work together.
BART Boycott/Jump the Gate Days
The POCC and Black Dot coalition have called for a boycott/jump the gate day on Friday, Feb. 27, to commemorate the birthday of Oscar Grant III. His birthday is just a jump-off for the campaign to make BART more accountable in this case and in general.
Some have had questions about the effectiveness of this campaign, so I must explain that although boycotting and jumping the BART gate are acts that are targeted at hurting the income of BART, we realize that two weeks is not enough time to organize people by the thousands to stop supporting BART with their BART fare. That is why it is a jump-off for the campaign.
The real plan is to give people who are not on the front lines, people who do not go to rallies and meetings, a point of entry into this movement, where they can participate discreetly and without a whole lot of work on their part.
Future dates that we plan to boycott or jump the gate are the days on which Mehserle and hopefully other involved police go to court, as well as days when members of the Oakland 100 go to court. The Oakland 100 are the approximately 160 people arrested over the three days in January in which there were rebellions in downtown Oakland. We are asking for as many coalitions, organizations and individuals to support this demand as possible and to mention it in interviews, in speeches and in their literature that pertains to this case.
The Oakland 100
According to lawyer John Viola of the National Lawyers Guild, out of the 160 people arrested in the Oakland Rebellions, all of the misdemeanors have been dropped except three or four, and the people still charged go to court at 661 Washington St. in downtown Oakland on Friday, March 6.
All four of the people charged with felonies are still facing felonies. Two of these cases will be heard on Friday, April 3, at 9 a.m. in Courtroom 112 at 661 Washington St.
We are urging everyone to email District Attorney Tom Orloff's office at firstname.lastname@example.org and demand that the charges against all of the protesters be dropped. You can also call Flora Passaglia, the prosecutor assigned by the DA to at least two of the felonies, at (510) 268-7500.
KPFA was the first listener sponsored station in the country when it went into business in 1949 and was seen as a beacon of audio resistance in Northern California. Sixty years later, East African born General Manager Lemlem Rijio has had broadcasters reprimanded because of their support for me and the Oakland 100. Those broadcasters that I know of at this time are Noelle Hanrahan, Nina Serrano and the La Raza Chronicles crew.
Noelle was written up and charged with "the violation of station policy in 3 regards." Those are, first, "station policy prohibits any broadcasts which can be interpreted as a direct 'call to action' or advocating action on the air," second, "you were not authorized by KPFA or Pacifica management to broadcast this information over the air," and third, "you did not present this editorial with proper disclaimers indicating that the information being broadcast was not the opinion or position of KPFA."
All of this is some bullshit, considering that KPFA is constantly begging for money. Isn't that a "call to action" or "advocating action on the air"? What about all of the concerts and other events that are announced. Wouldn't those fit under "calls to action" or "advocating action"?
Secondly, since I have been volunteering at KPFA for over six consecutive years now, no broadcaster to my knowledge has ever asked or gotten authorization to broadcast information. We just do it. If this rule were really followed, management wouldn't be managing anything because all of their time would be consumed with previewing what is going to go on the air 24 hours a day.
Thirdly, I've heard members of management broadcast editorials without proper disclaimers. A case in point is the Local Station Board shows after the police beating of Nadra Foster in KPFA in August, Lemlem lied on the air to cover up her management team's role in the police beating and the staff was never consulted. How can Lemlem take bogus positions on the air without any oversight, but broadcasters are supposed to jump through hoolahoops?
This recent attack on Noelle, Nina and La Raza Chronicles illustrates, during the 60th anniversary year of KPFA, just how far KPFA is from being the progressive, radical, grassroots community station they claim it is. We are urging everyone to call KPFA and tell them that you will not give them another cent until the General Manager Lemlem Rijio is fired or steps down. We need a constant inundation of calls to kick off this part of the campaign.
Farrakhan came to West Oakland
The best thing about Min. Louis Farrakhan coming to West Oakland on the birthday of Black Panther Minister of Defense Huey P. Newton was that his speech helped to mobilize people to go to Sacramento to lobby and protest. I wasn't able to join the Caravan for Justice to the state capital on Feb. 19, but Francisco Da Costa, who did attend, wrote more extensively about this event.
'Fuck the Police! We Ain't Listenin!'
Last but not least I have to mention the phenomenal Oscar Grant anthem by Oakland rappers Beeda Weeda and J. Stalin called "Fuck the Police! We Ain't Listenin!" If you haven't already heard it, you could find it at www.blockreportradio.com. This song is a testament to the fact that youngstas in the streets, in the ghetto, are just as involved and concerned about stopping the rampant police terrorism and police killing in Black neighborhoods as everybody else and are not going to follow the suit-and-tie leadership that was not in the streets on the nights that downtown Oakland was on fire.
To all of the people on the frontlines, continue to fight. Look at what just happened with the officers being convicted in the police murder of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta. We did not get them on the charges that would have put them away forever, but best believe what happened in Oakland had a lot to do with the Atlanta jury convicting these pigs, and not just letting them walk. It can't be peace, until we get a piece.
KPFA broadcasts two interviews with Minister of Information JR on Oscar Grant's birthday, Feb. 27
Anita Johnson, host of Hard Knock Radio, the "news, views and hip hop" show heard weekdays at 4 p.m. on KPFA 94.1 FM or KPFA.org, interviews Minister of Information JR and reveals a new twist in the struggle by young people of color at KPFA and their supporters to stop the station's censorship of their top priority issues. That interview, which starts 23 minutes into the show, is followed by Anita's interview with celebrated playwright Ntozake Shange about her play, "for colored girls who have considered suicide with the rainbow is enuf," currently playing at the Black Repertory Theatre in Berkeley.
Click to listen (or download)
Full Circle, a production of KPFA's First Voice apprenticeship program, devoted its entire show, 7-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, to police terrorism and especially the case of Oscar Grant. Hear an interview with MOI JR, segments from the first Town Bizness Townhall Meeting he hosted, on Jan. 23, and segments from the first town hall meeting at Olivet Missionary Baptist Church.
Click to listen (or download)