Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oscar Grant III birthday Hayward march

Friday was Oscar Grant III's birthday. The family celebrated with a march in downtown Hayward where Grant was from. The city should have done something special for the family, declared Friday, February 27 as "Oscar Grant Day". Instead, they attempted to intimidate the marchers lining the streets with club wielding police clad in armor. The city missed a real opportunity to heal some wounds, to connect with a rightfully, understandably angry and mistrusting youth. What they accomplished was to create a larger divide between the police and the youth.
Yes, there was no violence that day. But at what cost. In the police's attempt to overt any potential problems, they closed the downtown to everyone. Hayward police, similar to what Johannes Mehserle did, assumed that a young black man was dangerous and violent, and took preemptive action.
Hayward has a new downtown that desperately needs these young people. They should have embraced them, used the opportunity to bring the community together, showcase it's movie theater, and restaurants. I was sorry to see the city drop the ball on this opportunity by gearing up for major arrests and intimidating peaceful marchers who were there for a birthday party.
The city's own son, shot at the hands of authority. I watched as his mother was denied to walk down a pubic sidewalk by one of those club wielding cops. The mayor should have been handing her the key to the city, and discussed ways to bridge the divide.
Some photos from the event below.