Friday, July 2, 2010
Parable of Oakland, A Beautiful Day in the Bay
Parable of Oakland, A Beautiful Day in the Bay
Today, Friday, July 2, 2010, was a beautiful day in the Bay. No matter the siege of police terrorizing the hood, as per usual, but even more so in anticipation of violence when the verdict is announced in the murder trial of the BART police officer who murdered Oscar Grant in cold blood while he lay handcuffed on his belly, shot in the back by a brute beast in blue uniform.
Today, was a beautiful day in the Bay. The sun came out early, the fog disappeared before morning. What a blessing to see the sun, to feel the ocean breeze off the Bay waters. The Oakland/Berkeley hills in the background. It doesn't get better than this anywhere in the world. The Bay is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Yes, San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities on earth. And no one loves San Francisco more than Plato Negro. It is a hustler's paradise and he was king of the hustler's, controlling the lucrative Union Square area as if he owned the turf, rending out blocks of turf to street vendors--and this was during his tenure on Crack, but even then he was called the richest Negro is downtown San Francisco by the old me who watched him hustle at Market and Powell. The old men say he made three hundred dollars per hour hustling on the street at the Cable Car turn-a-round. Even Dr. Nathan Hare tells how he bought sunglasses from Marvin X at Market and Powell. And when it rained, he sold umbrellas. At the 1984 Democratic convention, he sold political buttons. The San Francisco Chronicle called him the Button King.
That was long ago. It is 2010 and Marvin X, aka Plato Negro is in Oakland at 14th and Broadway, location of his Academy of Da Corner. Writer Ishmael Reed observed him at work and said he was Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland. Ishmael said, "If you want to learn about motivation and inspiration, don't spend all that money attending workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway and watch Marvin X at work."
Marvin X was at work today. There was a riot at his Academy of Da Corner. No, there was no gathering across the street at Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of City Hall where the people shall meet at 6pm on the day the verdict is announced, although the media was there is full force anticipating the verdict, along with a contingent of police throughout the downtown area, although many shops and businesses were closed as they were directed to do from City Hall. Many workers had the day off.
Marvin X arrived at his Academy of Da Corner early and began giving out 11x17 posters of Oscar Grant with X's parable of Oakland Police Riot on the backside. Some people gave donations, but most of the posters were given away freely as per his custom.
The reason he calls this the most beautiful day in Oakland because never in his memory of hustling on the streets of the Bay have people from the multi-national communities approached him for information. Africans, Asian, Europeans, Latinos and others asked for copies of the Oscar Grant poster. Asians rarely ask North American Africans for anything. But they came time after time throughout the day for the poster, Whites as well as Gays, Lesbians, Africans, including Ethiopians, who rarely ask a North American African for the time of day, but they came this day, wanting to know about Oscar Grant, crucified like Jesus but even worse because he was handcuffed on his belly, then shot in the back by a beast in blue uniform.
Everybody wanted to know when the verdict was going to be announced, or if it had. The poster said whatever day it was announced there would be a rally at City Hall Plaza across the street from Academy of Da Corner at 6pm.
The OPD pigs passed throughout the day in great numbers, there agents were sent to obtain a copy of the poster given out at Academy of Da Corner, which managed to have the biggest gathering of people during the day. Many people came bringing donations to Plato Negro. The day before a Christian lady had given a donation to Plato Negro and told him to give something out in the name of Jesus. When the woman gave him the generous donation and requested him help the people in the name of Jesus, Plato was momentarily perplexed since he had Jesus confusion, but he concluded if the woman told him to give her donation in the name of Jesus that he was duty bound to do exactly as she requested. But she came by as he was dialoguing with his students on this most beautiful day in the Bay, and he introduced her to them. She said it didn't matter to her if Plato gave her donation in the name of Jesus or in the name of goodness, it didn't matter. She had fallen in love with Plato's grandson, Jah Amiel, the three year old who had told his grandfather that he could not save the world, but Jah Amiel could.
On that beautiful day in the Bay another woman had come by to say she had come one day with a gift for the little savior boy but he was not to be found.
And so there was no riot on this day, only at the Academy of Da Corner where all the people of the Bay came through for a blessing. Even people drove up in cars to deliver gifts, such as the people who came with a poster for Plato Negro to give out that said "Love Not Blood for the streets of Oakland." Even BART Board Director Carol Ward Allen drove by and shouted from her car for a poster, although she gets my emails on Facebook.
But it was this kinda day in the Bay. People anticipating the verdict, but seeking truth beyond the verdict. Humanity wanted answers in the name of humanity. Shall injustice reign or justice?
How can a coward go free who kills under the color of law? No national can understand this, no rational human being of any stripe or color or gender. Yes, the gay and lesbian brothers and sisters came by asking for a poster.
One Christian brother asked for numerous copies to give out to people in the name of Jesus. I did not deny him. Several people came to get posters to post in windows of businesses to let people know they were down with Oscar Grant, reminding one of the 65 Watts Riot when Asians posted signs in their windows saying "Me Soul Brother Too!"
What beauty is this, what wonder, what price glory, what strange fruit, what horror in the night and day of our loneliness. A Latino photographer arrived and took pics of Plato giving out posters. A sister came to say she wanted justice for the cowardly murder of Oscar Grant, nothing less, nothing more, no buildings on fire, no broken glass, no beat downs by police, only justice for Oscar Grant, punishment for the coward who killed him in cold blood. She said he should not walk this earth any longer for his crime against humanity. She dared the photographer to record her remarks.
We know this woman, yet we know her not. We know her because she was in the riots of the 60s, she was the cause, the reason for the season, she defended her son against the police, the pigs, she transcended death to assume a new life beyond death, beyond passivity and weakness, she was that holy woman who came forth in defense of her manchild. She was there to ignite the flame of rebellion, without her man, the father of her manchild in the promised land.
And she was there today as the sun shined brightly on the Bay, no matter the pigs four deep in cars and SUVs who circled repeatedly around Academy of Da Corner, but they don't understand, Academy of Da Corner stands on the blood of martyrs , on the blood of Lil Bobby Hutton, Samuel Napier, William Christmas, Fleeta Drumgo, Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton, Fred Hampton, Bunchy Carter, John Huggins, George Jackson, on the shoulders of Brother Booker, Ruchell McGee, they don't understand why we stand fearlessly daring any motherfucker on this earth to fuck with us. Yes, we stand on the shoulders of Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Sojourner Truth, Ella Collins, Queen Mother Moore, Betty Shabazz, Coretta Scott King, and Clara Muhammad.
A beautiful day in the Bay. The sun was hot, the sea breeze cooling, the riot was at the Academy, students gathered around for Supreme Wisdom. What greater day than this?