This last week I was given the chance to be near the Oakland area and when I saw the videotape and learned about what had happened just a week before, I was outraged. I then discovered there were going to be protests in downtown Oakland and decided I felt it was important that I joined in. What happened next could not be worse that the initial incedent, but I have now learned how the media distorts, corrupts, and completely changes what happens in real life into what they want the country to believe.
I got there about 5:30 pm on January 14th, 2009 and discovered in order to get to the group, I first had to park 3 blocks away. Then I had to walk these three blocks with police in full riot gear shoulder to shoulder on each side of me. I couldn't even think straight from the helicopters flying overhead. Imediately I thought to myself, Damn! there must be some crazy shit going on!!! I then turn the corner to this group of hundreds, possibly thousands, marching, peacefully, some with tears in their eyes, wanting nothing more than to be heard. I felt their hearts and followed along until we all conviened on the steps of City Hall.
There waw then a speaker, followed by a hip-hop artist, ending with another speaker, all speaking positive messages telling no one to fight, riot, or cause any damage to anything. They explained the shop owners were there with them. They agree that this kind of brutality needs to end. They told everyone to go straight home and give their kids a hug. Spend time with thier family. That the whole world was watching them and they needed to show love, respect, and peace. "Go home and tell your kids you love them very much!" they said. That was all. the group disbanded, and did what they asked.
I was in shock. What happened to the riots??? what happened to the crazies destoying everything? Why the hell were there so many police? I mean, I couldn't breath without a cop noticing it. I saw more police on that block than ever in my life. It felt as if they were just waiting for an opportunity to beat someone down. I felt the same way with bullies back in Junior High. How ironic.
Eventually, one group decided they would break some windows down the street. One group of less than 30. Keep in mind there were thousands of people there. I felt the pain. I felt the heartbreak and even myself wanted to contribute and felt like marching wasnt enough. But I did what they said. I went home to my kids and prayed that what happened to Oscar Grant, never happens to them or anyone else again.
Here's where I became outraged. I turned on the TV and they are showing those 30 people rioting. I turn the channel to see the same group. I then think to myself, well, they will get to showing the rest of the night soon. They never did.
I have heard and thought the media was altered, sometimes misleading, probably biased, but this was fucking rediculous!!! 5 hours of peacefull protesting and 30 minutes of a group going to far and that 30 minutes is all they show??? WTF???
And a side note. Now thinking about this later on. With so many police there, watching, waiting in anticipation, almost urging the group to make the first move, how the hell did anyone "riot"? I honestly believe theres a possibility they let it happen. I believe the protest went so smooth the entire night, they wanted to make it look. Maybe not, but if you had seen how many cops were there with riot gear, cars, bikes, motorcycles, helecopters, and everything else, I can't imagine more than one window getting busted before they got tackled to the ground.
In conclusion, this experience has changed me. It has begun something in me that I'm not sure what the result will be, but I know my kids will not experience this same shit, even if my life depends on it.