A Response to “Never Will be Forgotten: Oscar Grant Tribute”

I am amazed by the dangerously inadequate level of communication between law enforcement personnel and urban dwellers in our communities.

The short film “Never Will be forgotten: Oscar Grant Tribute,” follows the creative process of two Youth Movement Records students as they compose a musical tribute in memory of Oscar Grant, an unarmed 22-year-old who was shot and killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer on January 2, 2009.

Police officers are mandated to protect and serve the people, not pose an additional threat and definitely not to kill them! However, reports of excessive force and police brutality are still commonplace throughout the country.

Remember, Sean Bell, an African American man from Queens, NY who had his life taken away by the NYPD on the eve of his wedding. The same thing happened in the Bronx with Amadou Diallo, for simply pulling out his wallet.

It is stunning how the police simply shoot and kill before becoming fully aware of what’s going on in each situation. In all of these cases, no one was resisting arrest or trying to do anything illegal. Due process was just not an option for these black men.

“Never Will be forgotten: Oscar Grant Tribute,” blew me away because of the clarity, strength and sheer volume of communication it portrays. The film shares personal stories of the African American community of Oakland, CA coming together to stand up for Oscar Grant. There were regular protests, songs being made, and everyone had a powerful message to share with the police and community.

Although the people who are hired to protect us sometimes have little respect for us, it’s great to see that we as African Americans can rely on one another when facing difficult challenges in our communities. Hopefully, one day the police and urban communities will come to an understanding.  Until then, whether it’s in New York or California, African Americans remain strong and united as one.