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    Honoring the Oscar Grant Foundation and Love Not Blood Campaign

    By Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large–

    This year my office has chosen to honor the Oscar Grant Foundation and the Love Not Blood Campaign for Black History Month.

    Oscar Grant III was fatally shot in the early morning of New Year’s Day 2009 and his death sparked an international movement. Oscar’s mother Rev. Wanda Johnson, his Uncle Cephus “Uncle Bobby X” Johnson and his Aunt Beatrice Johnson, through their personal journey of grief, founded the Oscar Grant foundation in August of 2010 to bridge the gap of distrust between at-risk individuals and law enforcement.

    From that organization was born the Love Not Blood Campaign, a social justice organization that brings families united by police or communal violence together to experience healing and to build a powerful political movement focused on police accountability and transparency.

    On January 22 at the Oakland City Council Meeting, the Resolution introduced by former Councilmember Desley Brooks, and co-authored by me, to rename the unnamed road adjacent to the west side of the Fruitvale BART Station to “Oscar Grant Way” was passed unanimously.

    On February 14, the BART Board voted unanimously to make this a reality. Soon we will have a visual reminder that we need to work tirelessly—as the family of Oscar Grant has since that fatal day—to assure that all of our communities are treated equitably.

    As I stated in committee, in Council and to the BART Board: “We are here today to honor a life that was tragically cut short at the Fruitvale BART station. The activism of the family and the community sparked an international movement. We need to honor the life of Oscar Grant, the activism his death has sparked, and we need to continue to fight for a world where black men and boys are not targets of these types of killings.”

    It is with gratitude and appreciation that I honor these organizations, which have brought international attention to the issues of police violence and accountability, and that are a source of great pride for the City of Oakland.

    Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember; she was re-elected in 2016. She also serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC). Follow Councilmember Kaplan on Twitter @Kaplan4Oakland ( ) and Facebook ( ).