Ten years after being killed by a white Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer on New Year’s Day, Oscar Grant III is being honored with a mural at Fruitvale Station.
Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson, unveiled the commemorative mural of her son last week in front of hundreds of family and community members, reports The San Francisco Chronicle.
“The unveiling speaks to me and lets me know that Oscar did not die in vain, but he died for a purpose,” Johnson told The SF Chronicle. “He died so that we could come together in this spot and forever come to this place. I believe that there will be a sense of peace in this place, there will be a sense of healing in this place, and there will be a sense of love in this place.”
Oscar Grant honored with new mural and street signs outside the Fruitvale BART station ten years after his death. pic.twitter.com/cpyRikLLOT
— MoorInfo (@MoorInformation) June 12, 2019
In the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2009, transit riders at Oakland’s Fruitvale Station captured footage of Grant lying face-down on the station platform as he was shot in the back by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle. Video of the slain 22-year-old’s death circulated quickly online, inciting outrage across the world, but particularly in Oakland. Citing that he mistakenly drew his firearm instead of his taser, the officer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, ABC 7 reported.
The artist who created the “Long Live Oscar Grant” mural, Refa One, spoke during the unveiling ceremony: “This is us. This is not just my art, this belongs to the Oscar Grant movement – you did this.”
Following the ceremony, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted a photo and caption highlighting Grant’s mural and dedication in Oakland.
Today, 10 years after his death, a mural of Oscar Grant was unveiled at Fruitvale Bart Station. As we celebrate Oscar’s life and legacy, let us also recommit to reforming our criminal justice system and fighting for a world where black lives truly matter. pic.twitter.com/oi4L2ZL3cY
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) June 8, 2019
During the event, the city of Oakland as well as BART also renamed the street west of the station Oscar Grant III Way.
“I hope the mural opens up dialogue and action to end the challenge we face as the Black community struggles against police terrorism,” One said.