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Post-Trayvon: In Oakland, Healing and the New Radicalism Take Root

If 'compassion is the radicalism of our time,' how do we bring healing to our communities?

A little over a week ago I sat in shock as text messages flooded my phone. Everyone from the NAACP to friends all around the country were sharing the news that George Zimmerman was acquitted on all charges in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. I managed to hold back the flood of tears and an angry "WTF??" outburst just long enough to get myself across town to meet friends for another racially heated event—a Saturday night screening of Fruitvale Station, a film which covers the final few days of Oscar Grant, an unarmed 22-year-old black father who was shot and killed by a Bay Area Transit Authority police officer at the Fruitvale Station train platform on New Years Day 2009.

These two events—Trayvon's and Oscar's murders—have resurfaced the deep wounds of racism, classism, and discrimination that many in the black community know too well. In response, we in this country have historically—and rightly so—boycotted, protested, and organized resistance campaigns as our main calls to action to protect our children's future from further ignorance.

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