It didn't really catch up with me until I was standing on the platform waiting to take BART into the city, but I was feeling proud. Sometimes I switch up the BART station that I go to, moving between Fruitvale and Rockridge. There is something I love about the layout of Rockridge, plus more parking (awesome!), but minus the numbers of Black and Latinos that board at Fruitvale (fail!).
Still, my home station is Fruitvale.
I can't really explain the pride I felt walking up to the station yesterday. I still don't know what it was, really. Just a sense of pride. The place was packed, I strutted in and out, around people in my boots and cute skirt, smiling. Lots of Black, Latino, and Asian folks standing around: talking to one another, waiting for the bus, sometimes holding picket signs, shopping at or staffing the tables at the small farmer's market, buying tickets, holding hands with their children, etc. I didn't grow up in Oakland, like so many others, I'm a transplant to the Bay. A runaway. But, I've always felt embraced by the city. I first moved to Lake Merritt as any good young adult, queer girl of color does, and lived there for a decade. Joan and I moved to the Laurel/Allendale/Maxwell Park(ish) district four years ago and, I have to say, I've felt that same sense of embrace. I love it here, love the working class Black and brown folks that live here, some on my street, the queer folks, the families with strollers that cost a reasonable amount (i.e., not $600). This neighborhood, this city feels like home.
Maybe that's what I was feeling as I took the escalator up to the platform to wait for the train. As I stood there, finishing my breakfast and enjoying the sunshine, I looked across the tracks where the trains from the city stop. And I realized what we all already know: this station is haunted. Probably by many things, but notably by the murder of Oscar Grant, something that will be re-enacted on screen beginning today in Oakland. Based on everything I've heard, Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale Station is beautiful, a true testament to young Grant's life. It looks like it: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz--some of my favorites--and Octavia Spencer lead the cast. I'm positive Jordan's portrayal will surpass and possibly replace the embedded place in my heart for young, sweet Wallace from The Wire.
But I don't know if I can see it.
The trailer alone gives me chills and tears. And that's ok. Crying is good. Plus, I live here. Although in such a different way as an older, light skinned Black woman, I walk some of these same streets that Grant walked. I shop at Farmer Joe's (and Little Joe's), where he used to work. When I first moved here, my first jobs were with youth of color in the city. It's visceral for me, as someone who never met Grant, but who is a community member and resident of this city, this neighborhood. Not to mention that it's opening on the weekend that the consequences for the murder of another, teenaged Black boy, Trayvon Martin, will be decided by a non-Black, non-male jury. I don't know if I can do it.
But I will.
Eventually. Just to honor the story that's being told about Grant. Honor the work that Coogler, an Oakland native, put into it. And honor the ghosts that inhabit this space, this city, and all the cities we live in.
In heartbreak, love, and pride.