The Grant Station Project.
During an interview with Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums in early July 2010, we discussed the video taped murder of unarmed Oscar Grant at the hands of transit officer Johannes Mehserle, the ensuing protests and uprisings by the people in Oakland, Ca., and the impending trial verdict. I then asked him what he thought of the possibility of renaming Fruitvale Station in the name of Oscar Grant?
The Mayor was taken by this question, he told a brief story of his mother’s appreciation of seeing a building named after her son, and connected the story to Grant’s mother, and how renaming Fruitvale Station to Grant Station might bring relief to the family. He then asked if he could have permission to take this idea to the necessary individuals in effort to bring this idea into fruition. Gladly, I said yes.
(Video complements of Youth Radio.)
But the question didn’t stop at Mayor Dellums.
I sat down with music producer Jamon Dru and lyricist Young Gully, we discussed the concept. The two gentlemen told me that they had been constructing an idea of their own: an album inspired by Oscar Grant.
We shook hands and agreed, in the name of the Oscar Grant, we would create an album that would shine a police helicopter sized light on police brutality, the state of the young citizens of Oakland, California, and the death of Oscar Grant.
I sat down with organizers of the Oscar Grant support movement, journalists that have been constantly covering the situation, and I even had the opportunity to speak with members of Oscar Grant’s family. We discussed everything: I asked about what was said on the platform on the night of Grant’s murder, I asked about what was said in the court room during Mehserle’s trial, and I asked Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby what he would say if he could speak to Oscar now…
This resulted in “The Grant Station Project”, an audio documentation of lyrics, music, and interviews all full of emotion; an ethical response from the people to a blatantly unethical action that took place in our community.
But the album isn’t enough. The people want justice served to the fullest extent. The people want Mehserle to receive the maximum sentencing for his crime. The people want this instance to stand as a constant reminder to the officers of our community ,that they have a sworn duty to uphold the well-being of the people.
The question has now turned into a statement: the people want Grant Station.