Thanks to everyone who attended the vigil. Over 40 people were there, as was WATE News.  You can read a brief article here. Pictures will be available soon.


Wednesday, Jan 14th 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Krutch Park – 504 Market St.,

Knoxville, TN

Dear Friend,

From the recent murder of Oscar Grant III by BART subway police in Oakland to the current violence unfolding in Gaza to the violence occurring every day in our local community, we are painfully reminded of the work still to be done to stop violence in its many forms and on the eve of Martin Luther King’s birthday, we are called to action and recommitment to nonviolence.

On Wednesday, Jan 14th, from 5:30 – 6:30 pm, Highlander invites you to join us as we stand in solidarity with The Gathering for Justice, The Coalition Against Police Executions, the family and community of Oscar Grant III and others across the country. This vigil and press conference is a stand against violence especially state-sponsored violence and violent solutions in all forms.

This past week we have read, prayed, marched and rallied against the violence occurring in Palestine and Israel, and the horrors of state sponsored violence occur across the world and also in our own backyard. We come together on the eve of Martin Luther King’s Birthday to carry forward the torch of freedom and nonviolence.

We ask you and your organization to consider being co-sponsors of this event and to pass on and encourage your folks to attend the vigil and press conference and to connect. Please contact Elandria Williams at elandria (at) test.highlandercenter.org or 973-1896 or Pam McMichael at pam (at) test.highlandercenter.org or 865-933-3443 if you would like to co-sponsor this event or have any questions.

Thank you,
Pam McMichael, Elandria Williams and the rest of the Highlander Staff

Below please find a statement released by The Gathering for Justice. For more information, visit the Gathering at www.thegatheringforjustice.org.


Gathering For Justice Solidarity for Oscar Grant
Call For Action Wed. January 14, 2009

In the early hours of New Years Day, Oscar Grant III was pulled off the train at the Fruitvale BART station along with 3 other young men who were being detained as BART officers searched for suspects in a fight that started at West Oakland BART. In front of hundreds of BART patrons who were halted from reaching their destination, an unarmed Oscar was told to lay on the cold BART platform and with hands behind his back, Officer Johannes Meherles pulled out his gun, stood over Oscar and shot him in the back where the bullet richocheted and logged in his lung.
Many people captured the shooting with cell phone cameras and the world saw injustice…

Oscar died leaving many to ask why was did this officer use excessive force?

7 days after the incident, Meherles has yet to be charged with the murder of Oscar Grant III and BART has yet to investigate the incident. Yesterday, a peaceful rally and memorial took was held by community members and organizations. Over 700 people gathered and mourned Oscar for 3 and half hours. Unfortunately, a splinter group of participants left the rally and began rioting in Oakland. The day began with images of young people calling for an end to police brutality but ended with images of a small group of angry folks setting police cars on fire.

All of The Gathering for Justice members and partners in Oakland are safe and none were involved in the riots. Last night they went on the offensive calling for a nonviolent solution and a plan to harness the anger the rioters feel into productive energy. They have been doing press all day promoting this message and the Mayor of Oakland is meeting with them as this blog is being written.

Oakland needs your help. An ad hoc coalition called “Coalition Against Police Executions (CAPE) was formed and they have three demands:

  1. All police involved with the incident are criminally prosecuted.
  2. The city begins an outside independent investigation on the murder of Oscar Grant
  3. A community task force is empowered to work with BART police on police relations and accountability.

The Oakland coalition needs our support and The Gathering is asking you to do the following things:

  1. Find an hour or two on Wed. Jan. 14, 2009 to host a gathering to watch the video of the murder and to talk about solutions to end police brutality.
  2. Get everyone who is a part of your coalition to send the video to 10 of their friends.
  3. Use this moment as a tool to talk about why violent protest is not the answer.

The video of the murder is graphic and disturbing, but it is the truth and the truth must be told… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idJAr6NUy3E

For more information about Oscar Grant III, CAPE and what is happening across the country on Wednesday January 14th – www.thegatheringforjustice.org