However, nothing bad happened. I woke up the next morning and found my mom just sitting and thinking. When she saw me, I could see that she’d been crying. “Jonathan, let me tell you a story. When I was in high school a couple of my friends decided to take the train into the city and invited me to go. I started to but got a weird feeling and just stayed home. After not seeing my friends for a few days, I found out they had been shot and killed in New York City and it scared me so much I never wanted to go back. That’s why I freaked out when you told me about that assignment. It had nothing to do with me not being happy for you because I’m your mother and will always support you even when you show your ass and think you gonna disrespect me in my house. So when it comes to going to the city, just do what I ask.”

That memory began to haunt me as I watched “Fruitvale Station” because Oscar Grant’s mother, played by Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, asked him to take the train because it was New Year’s Eve and she didn’t want him drinking and driving. All she wanted was to keep her son safe and the one thing she asked him to do wound up being the last thing he did. As I watched, I couldn’t help but think how that could be me because I spend nearly five hours on a train everyday. Seeing the pain in Ms. Johnson’s eyes made me pray mine would never have that look.

So after seeing “Fruitvale Station,” I have to give it up to the heavens for giving me a mother who worries too much and still calls me everyday at work despite knowing how much I hate it. I’m thankful she still fusses at me about putting my hands in my pockets, putting a hood on when it isn’t that cold, and always asking for a receipt. Because of those things, I’ve never had to deal with the police in the way Oscar Grant did. Because of those things, I am still here able to be living my dream when I’m aware that, like Oscar Grant, many don’t have the opportunity.

So despite Father’s Day coming up, let’s give it up to the single mothers who continue to love their sons in spite of all of the dumb things we do. We, as the product of broken homes and street knowledge, salute you for helping us not become that negative statistic. Thank you Ms. Johnson for bringing a young man into the world who became a catalyst for change without ever intending to. You and Oscar Julian Grant, III are appreciated.

“Fruitvale Station” hits theaters nationwide on July 26. Make sure you support this amazing film.


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