If you’re unfamiliar with the case of Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old Hayward, California native who was executed by Johannes Mehserle of the Bay Area Rapid Transit Police on January 1st, 2009, I suggest that as a citizen of your community, as a mother of a child, as a brother or a sister and as a human being who cares, you familiarize yourself with the case. You need to understand what justice meant to Oscar Grant. To understand what justice has meant for Johannes Mehserle. To understand what justice might mean to you in the future.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, three out of every four prisoners in California are non-white. PPIC reports that in 2005, among adult men, African-Americans were incarcerated at a rate of 5,125 per 100,000 in the population, compared to 1,142 for Latinos, 770 for whites, and 474 for men of other races.
African-Americans comprise seven percent of the population. Are we going to continue to accept the racist and criminal notion that African-Americans have a genetic predisposition to crime? I hate to break the news, but we already are. Every day we wake up, drink our coffee and send our children off to school without speaking out against racial injustice and police brutality, we are accepting and paying for the inequalities suffered by our African-American and minority communities, families and friends.
I take responsibility for this injustice. I’m sick to my stomach when I think of Oscar Grant and his family and friends. This happened on my watch. I will do more.
A little while ago, I re-read the Socialist Party platform, and remembered that there were others out there who might feel sick as I do. Who might feel responsible as I do. Who might want to do more as I do. Please join me in the effort to do more to give our minority communities justice.