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Bakari Kitwana speaks with Oakland Activist Dereca Blackmon about last week’s sentencing of ex-transit officer Johannes Mehserle, who earlier this year was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 videotaped shooting death of Oscar Grant. Blackmon was one of the organizers of protests in the days immediately following the shooting of the unarmed 22-year-old Grant on a train platform on New Year’s Day.  Blackmon talks with newsone.com about where do we go from here, and practical responses to incidents like these that persist around the country.

“We have to be more organized if we are going to hold people accountable to our communities, says Blackmon. “And that means we need to put more thought, investment and dollars into answering the question, what does accountable policing looks like?” Equally important, she says, is the average citizen, who “has to continue to be vigilant in expressing their voice and concern about these issues.”

Dereca Blackmon is co-founder of the Coalition Against Police Executions, which formed in the aftermath of the police shooting death of Oscar Grant and the former Executive Director of Leadership Excellence, a leadership and social justice organization for African America youth.

Bakari Kitwana is CEO of Rap Sessions and author of the forthcoming Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama Era. (Third World Press, 2010)

Dereca Blackmon is Executive Director of Leadership Excellence which operates under the leadership of a ten-member Board of Directors, a fifteen member youth advisory board, and a dedicated staff of eight. We are a community-based, non-profit organization committed to Black youth wellness. For over 20 years, we have helped children, teens and their families transform their lives and their communities through self-awareness and critical thinking.


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