On Thursday 29th May 2014, I attended The New Black Film Collective London screening of Fruitvale Station produced by Forest Whitaker at the Stratford Picturehouse. The multiple Independent Spirit Award, Cannes and Sundance Film Festival winning film follows the true story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Oakland, California resident who was murdered by Bay Area Rapid Transit agency officer Johannes Mehserle on 1st January 2009.
As I was aware of the story of Oscar Grant, watching this film made me even more emotional and many tissues were used at this screening. Watching this film left me feeling quite angry as Oscar Grant was shot in the back while lying face down on the ground on a subway platform and his killer only served half of his two year involuntary manslaughter sentence. No Justice, No Peace!
The screening was followed by a panel debate, with activists and filmmakers, to question whether it is ‘lawful’ to kill Black people today in the wake of the recent controversial Mark Duggan and Trayvon Martin cases’. The panel consisted of Fidel Santigi (Mark Duggan Campaign and Riot from Wrong Documentary), Dean Williams (100 Black Men of London), Andy Mundy-Castle (Filmmaker) and TNB Chair Yvonne Connikie.