OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – News of the grand jury decision not to indict a New York policeman for the death of an African-American sparked a conversation blacks have been having for generations.
Some call it, “The Talk.”
Even New York City mayor Bill de Blasio confessed that he has had The Talk with his own son Dante, who is half black.
After news of the decision came down sporadic protests erupted in cities across the countries. Oakland mom Regina Bates joined 100s of others at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Just last week, protesters gathered here after the grand jury decision not to indict the policeman who shot and killed Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri.
Bates clutched a sheaf of pictures of her 18-year-old son Malik, in honor of a few black men who are not here.
“Trayvon ain’t here. Oscar’s not here,” said Bates.
Regina said she spent her son’s entire life worrying that he could wind up like them. “My son could be walking down the street and get gunned down for nothing.”
She has coached him on how to talk to a police officer.
“Is there a problem officer?” she demonstrates, using her eyes and hands to show how to behave. “You smile and you have your hands forward on the steering wheel. And you look him right in your eye. You don’t flinch and you don’t move fast.”
Mayor de Blasio has given his son similar advice.
“We’ve had to train him, as families have all over this city for decades, on how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.”
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You shouldn’t have to tell your daughter, don’t make fast movements if you’re in front of the police. Yet that is the conversation Karissa Lewis has had with her young daughter.
On Black Friday, Karissa and at least 14 other protesters chained themselves to a BART train to make a powerful statement about police brutality. “I do this work so my daughter knows she has to fight every single day of her life,” she said.
Both Lewis and Bates say all they can do is protest and pray.
“I’m praying for all the black men, because you really are saying to yourself, ‘is my skin my sin?’” Bates said.
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