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Town Hall on BART Settlement, Haiti Donations, and Bay Area's Toxic Triangle, 2/6/10: audio
In this week's Town Hall for Justice for Oscar Grant, Minister Keith Muhammad follows up on the John Burris and Oscar Grant family press conference. Judy Bias announces six locations in Oakland that are or will soon be donation centers for the people of Haiti. Nehanda Imara announces a series of hearings on the Bay Area's Toxic Triangle (San Francisco to Oakland to Richmond) with the first on Saturday, February 13th, 2010 in East Oakland.
Judy Bias reports that her efforts to collect donations for Haiti are going well. There will be barrels for donations at as many as six or more locations soon. She wants an overflow of donations. There is a contact at the Port of Oakland to ship supplies donated directly to Haiti. [flier below]
Minister Keith Muhammad says we have to use the media tools at our disposal because the mainstream media is not reliable for justice. When Minister Farrakhan came to Oakland, the Tribune and others largely ignored it, not writing anything original or constructive. The mainstream media will show up to big events, take some crowd shots, get a few statements, and then leave. KTVU broadcast the first footage of Oscar Grant's murder which was helpful, but their goal wsa to draw viewers and they are not our friend. The mainstream media wants Mehserle to go home. Minister Keith expresses thanks for Indybay and Block Report Radio coverage of the case.
Minister Keith continues that the partial settlement announced last week did not do justice to the case and caused trauma to Wanda and the family. Community members wanted to meet with family attorney John Burris about holding a press conference after BART announced a partial settlement with Sophina Mesa, the mother of Oscar Grant's daughter, to be held before the next BART Board meeting on February 11th, but KTVU came out with more info this week so Burris held a press conference on Friday to address the leaks from BART. [A separate community press conference has been scheduled for Wednesday, February 10th.] The accused in this case is Johannes Mehserle and Mehserle only. BART began releasing info to try to circumvent justice. Oscar's friends are all victims of loss and trauma, but now they are on TV for every little incident they might be involved in. The settlement has NOT been settled, and the leaks to the media violate agreements. Metaphorically, the family is like sheep. WOlves are always looking for sheep who have gone astray from the flock. Predators look for certain characteristics. We have obligations as sheperds. Sophina, Wanda, and the young men are sheep who need *good* watchful sheperd. Burris spoke out to defend against wolves. And then you have foxes, too, and they are slicker. Linton Johnson (BART PR rep) accused Burris of misleading the community all along, but first things he said were to call out actions seen in video as attrocious. Minister Keith talks about early meetings with Oakland Councilpersono Desley Brooks, Alameda Supervisor Keith Carson, etc focused on meeting with then-District Attorney Tom Orloff. Orloff filed charges but retired later in the year. Likewise, BART police chief Gary Gee retired by the end of 2009. In the press conference, the family re-constituted itself and the settlement is not settled.
Minister Keith discusses how justice is supposed to be blind, but because Oscar's friends are non-white and may have criminal records that is counting against them legal experts are saying. He talks about the unwarranted police contact and abuse on january 1st, 2009. Oscar's friends were not criminal on january 1st but were victims of police. Any apologies that have come from BART Board members has been personal and not from the agency as a whole. And any progress made from January 1st to now is due to demands of people united for justice (as Fredrick Douglas once said, power concedes nothing without a demand).
February 18th -- Oakland/Los Angeles Town Hall in Los Angeles
February 19th - Mehserle court hearing in Los Angeles
We don't all have to think alike but we have to talk and stay together as a flock.
Nehanda Imara, of Communities for a Better Environment, closes the Town Hall by announcing a series of hearings on the Bay Area's Toxic Triangle (San Francisco to Oakland to Richmond) with the first on Saturday, February 13th, 2010 in East Oakland. [flier below]
previous Town Hall on BART Settlement with Oscar Grant's Daughter and Haiti Relief, 1/30/10: audio
Town Hall Meetings
Every Saturday 4pm - 6pm
Olivet Institutional Missionary Baptist Church
807 27th Ave, Oakland
Olivet Missionary Baptist Church
807 West 27th St.
True Vine Bible Institute
Merritt College, rm A218
12500 Campus Dr
If you have questions or comments please contact Judy Bias at judybias [at] berkeley.edu or 510-872-6377.