Originally posted at SocialistWorker.org
In the weeks since Alan Blueford was gunned down by Oakland police at around midnight on May 6, a movement has been building to win justice for him and his family. Despite the silence of City Hall, the media’s character assassination of Alan and the police department’s constantly changing narrative of what happened and its unwillingness to disclose information about the officer who pulled the trigger, Alan’s parents, Jeralynn and Adam Blueford, and other relatives have bravely stepped forward to speak out.
In the week following his death, Alan’s family held a vigil to bring attention to the killing. The next day, they led a 100-strong march to a police sub-station close to the crime scene. On May 15, the Blueford family confronted the Oakland City Council during its public meeting–supporters flooded the council chambers and others filled the rotunda.
When it was announced that Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan would come to Acts Full Gospel Church of God in Christ, the Blueford family’s place of worship, to address the community’s concerns about the case, a contingent of the family’s supporters organized to confront Jordan. At the family’s urging, the group planned a silent action, in which some 50 demonstrators, along with church members, turned their backs on Jordan when he spoke and raised their fists when he told lies to the audience. When protesters and congregants began chanting, Jordan left, and the demonstrators followed him out for a spirited rally aimed at shaming the departing police chief.
Since these actions, Alan’s family and their supporters have continued building awareness. On Saturday, June 9, an audience of almost 100 people heard members of the Blueford family speak at a panel event titled “From Police Brutality to Hate Crimes: How Can We Win Justice?”Also speaking was Talishia Massey, the sister of Brandi Martell, a transgender woman of color murdered in front of her friends in Oakland. Other families of victims of police brutality and hate crimes were present to show their support, including relatives of Kenneth Harding Jr. and Oscar Grant III.
On June 15, Alan’s parents were invited to attend the graduation ceremony of Skyline High School, where Alan was to receive his diploma. Jeralynn and Adam received an honorary diploma for Alan’s accomplishments–and a standing ovation from students, parents, teachers, staff and administrators. A few weeks later, the two were featured speakers at a panel discussion on police violence at Socialism 2012 in Chicago.
Here, Jeralynn and Adam Blueford speak to Adam Balogh and Francois Hughes about the loss of their son, their efforts to get answers from police and city officials, and the struggle they and other families face to win justice.