Young Black Men

deserve to be seen and treated like human beings
Here's Why

For Oscar—and for all our sons

On the night that Oscar Grant was shot to death by a BART police officer, everything changed. A mother lost her son. A daughter lost her father. And communities throughout America were reminded that we all need more justice and accountability when it comes to the police.

Instead of turning to anger and despair, we have chosen love and transformation. The mission of the Oscar Grant Foundation is to help bridge the gap between young Black men and law enforcement. While nothing can bring Oscar back to his loved ones, we believe it is up to us to create real, meaningful change and fight systemic racism at every level so that all people of color in America — especially Black people – can be safe and thrive.

Oscar Grant

Every year, Black people make up about 40% of those killed by police officers despite being only 13% of the population. This trend must stop and we have a solution.

Negative racial stereotypes affect the way young Black people see themselves and the police. We aim to be a resource for our youth who wish to turn their pain into purpose.

The topic of mental illness is often taboo in the Black community. So if we want our loved ones to thrive, we must address the stigma associated with the issue.

“If we work together, we can make a change—not only here in the East Bay, but in our entire society.”

Wanda Johnson, Oscar Grant’s mother

How We’re Turning Pain Into Purpose

With all our programs, we aim to give our young Black men lots of opportunities to thrive so that we can create more just, inclusive communities.

Law Enforcement Equity Training

We believe it’s possible to prevent police shootings like the one that killed Oscar. But we also know that most of the training that police officers go through doesn’t go far enough when it comes to dealing with people of color. Our training takes it a step further by showing the police how to see the humanity in our young Black men more effectively.

Law Enforcement Equity Training
Law Enforcement Equity Training

Law Enforcement Equity Training

We believe it’s possible to prevent police shootings like the one that killed Oscar. But we also know that most of the training that police officers go through doesn’t go far enough when it comes to dealing with people of color. Our training takes it a step further by showing the police how to see the humanity in our young Black men more effectively.

AAU Basketball Program

AAU Basketball Program

The OG Ballers, our AAU basketball team, is more than just a sports program. We provide our players with tutoring, mentoring and life skills so they know they have a family supporting them on and off the court.

Academic Enrichment Scholarship

We designed the Academic Enrichment Scholarship program to provide academic resources to “at-promise” students in the East Bay. Since 2014, we’ve been providing financial assistance to Black youth in our communities so they can learn the value of higher education and get their college degrees. To date, we’ve given out $100,000 in scholarships.

Academic Enrichment Scholarship
Academic Enrichment Scholarship

Academic Enrichment Scholarship

We designed the Academic Enrichment Scholarship program to provide academic resources to “at-promise” students in the East Bay. Since 2014, we’ve been providing financial assistance to Black youth in our communities so they can learn the value of higher education and get their college degrees. To date, we’ve given out $100,000 in scholarships.

Healing Hurting Hearts

Healing Hurting Hearts

Research confirms what survivors of police violence have known for a long time: that the trauma from the murders of Black men reach far beyond those who knew the victim. Through our Healing Hurting Hearts program, we focus on dealing with that trauma and making sure we can find comfort in one another, while still remembering our loved ones who lost their lives to violence.

In The News

San Francisco Chronicle

April 16, 2021

Listen to Oscar Grant’s mom

After Daunte Wright’s killing in Minneapolis, America needs to know about “the call.” This is the phone call many Black men in this country make to their mothers when police lights flash in their rearview mirrors. Wright was on the phone with his mother when Minneapolis police pulled him over. When the officers tried to arrest him, Wright panicked and jumped into his car. As they tried to wrestle him from the vehicle, former Minneapolis police Officer Kim Potter pointed her gun, shouted “Taser,” and fired a bullet into Wright. His mother, Katie Wright, must now navigate her personal grief in the glare of an intense national spotlight. The mother of Oscar Grant, Wanda Johnson, knows this burden intimately. “When Oscar died, we had attorneys knocking on our door as soon as it was on television. We hadn’t even thought about him being dead yet,” Johnson said. “Being forced into this (activist) role is definitely a hard process to navigate.”

KRON4

January 11, 2021

‘Do what is right’: Oscar Grant’s family continues to fight for justice

Twelve years after Oscar Grant was killed at the hands of law enforcement, his family received a devastating blow in their fight for justice. The case was reopened back in October, at the request of the Grant family, to see if charges could be filed against Anthony Pirone, the second officer involved in the shooting. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley says she looked at every avenue before finally making a decision that Pirone did not commit the murder or the act that caused the death of Grant. Grant’s mom, Wanda Johnson, doesn’t understand how Pirone isn’t responsible, but she is vowing to not give up the fight. “I’m not asking for a hard thing,” she says. “All I’m asking is to do what is right. And that is to charge the officer for his actions that caused my son’s death.”

People Magazine

July 14, 2020

Michael B. Jordan: ‘Fight for Black Lives to Matter Is Not Over’ 7 Years After Fruitvale Station

Nearly a decade after Michael B. Jordan helped tell the story of a young Black man shot by transit police in Oakland, the actor says there’s still work to be done in the fight for racial justice. In the award-winning 2013 film Fruitvale Station, Jordan played 22-year-old Oscar Grant on the last day of his short life before his fatal encounter with two BART police officers. Grant died in the early hours of January 1, 2010 while returning from New Year’s Eve festivities in San Francisco. The actor remembered the movie and Grant’s life with an Instagram post marking the seventh anniversary of Fruitvale Station, named after the stop where Grant was killed. “7 years ago today, Fruitvale Station shed light on the story of Oscar Grant, a young black man who was shot by a BART police officer on January 1, 2010. Over a decade later, the fight for black lives to matter is not over,” Jordan wrote next to several behind-the-scenes photos from set and a snap of Grant.

San Francisco Chronicle

June 24, 2020

‘Oscar Grant’s mother has a mission: help BART prevent shootings like the one that killed her son

BART is looking into what could be an unprecedented chapter in the police reform movement: bringing in the mother of Oscar Grant to train its department in implicit bias. The training was among a string of reforms announced, as protests against racism and police brutality jolted the Bay Area and cities throughout the nation. With emotions still raw from the widely viewed, slow-motion killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, many cities are contemplating plans to reform their police departments. Officials called for those reforms as they grapple with the enduring symbolism of Grant. He was shot in front of bystanders who recorded the moment on cell phones and uploaded it to YouTube — a form of citizen documentary that would later mobilize the Black Lives Matter movement. Grant inspired “Fruitvale Station,” the movie named for the station where he was shot, in the back, while being held facedown on a cold platform. His name still appears on protest signs.

Curbed

June 10, 2019

Street near Fruitvale BART named for Oscar Grant

BART officially unveiled new signage, naming a street near Fruitvale BART after slain Oakland resident Oscar Grant, as well as a finished mural of him on the side of the station. 22-year-old Grant died on New Year’s Day 2009 after now-former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle shot him on the platform at the Fruitvale station. A jury convicted Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter in 2010 for killing Grant. BART has, for years, wrestled with the question of how to memorialize Grant at the station. The recently completed mural, which depicts a smiling grant and a white dove, began in March, painted by Oakland artist Senay Dennis, who works under the name Refa One. “It’s extremely radical to have the government agency responsible for the death of a young man honor him in this way,” BART Board Member Lateefah Simon said.

The Grio

January 1, 2019

‘On the 10th anniversary of his killing, Oscar Grant’s mother has turned her grief and pain into purpose

Ten years ago today, 22-year old Oscar Grant III was fatally shot just hours into the new year by Oakland’s BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle. Even after having years to grieve, Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson is still not entirely at peace with his death. But instead of focusing solely on Grant being gone, Johnson spends most of her spare time working on the Oscar Grant Foundation, which she started to help grieving families and preserve Grant’s image in the world. On the anniversary of Grant’s death, Johnson attended an event to uplift families impacted by police violence at an arts center less than a mile away from where her son was killed in Oakland. “I’m only here because of my son, Oscar, right now. If Oscar had not been killed, I probably would not have met many of you, I would not have had the opportunity to tell his story, hear his name said all over the world,” Johnson told the crowd. “So I’m very grateful for all of your support.”