The Oscar Grant Foundation (OGF) was established on August 13, 2010, as a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation. It was organized after the criminal trial and subsequent conviction of former B.A.R.T. Police Officer Johannes Mehserle for the January 1, 2009 unlawful killing of Oscar Julius Grant III. Oscar’s mother, Rev. Wanda R. Johnson, now heads the Foundation, and its mission is to help bridge the gap of distrust between individuals in at-risk communities and law enforcement.
The social issues we face today are complex, therefore, the methodology used to address these issues must also be complex. The traditional model, which assumes there is a correlation between the number of patrol officers and the rate of crime in at-risk communities, has not proven effective. We believe the secret lies in critically examining the root cause of negative stereotyping among the two communities.
To this end, the Foundation is committed to upholding Oscar’s legacy, by being a resource for at-risk youth of all races who wish to turn their lives around in a positive way. The Foundation will work tirelessly with at-risk youth to reduce teen pregnancy, teen crime and high school attrition. Our goal is to help improve the self-esteem, academic performance and inter-personal relationships of at-risk youth by demonstrating the positive benefits of establishing a particular moral foundation that has a proven tendency of resulting in high achievement despite negative surroundings. For example, the Foundation offers workshops and athletic programs that are designed impart techniques for at-risk youth to avoid negative police interactions. Finally, the Foundation will provide cultural sensitivity training to law enforcement agencies, focusing on the historical impact social injustice has had on the development of these at-risk populations, and the resulting cultural pathology.