“From Mt. Tamalpais to Fruitvale Station” is a social justice hip-hop video experience that was released September 19, at Chabot College. The song was composed by the Justice Arts Collective (JAC), a musical group focusing on advocacy, cultural awareness, and using music for spiritual healing. Inside, building 700 South event center, the banging of drums and harmonizing voices could be heard over the more than 250 students that attended. “From Mt. Tamalpais to Fruitvale Station” is song highlighting injustice in our society but mostly the recent police brutality against people of color. There was a BBQ, performance, and an open mic before as well as after the video release. Charles Reed, a student that attended said, “The open mic portion was creative and inspirational because people had to challenge themselves to go up and speak. The environment was conducive to creativity and let speakers know they will not crash and burn if they made a mistake.” There was no “booing” when someone made a mistake only words of encouragement to help them voice their opinion.
Tommy Reed, a professor, and counselor for Umoja, gave a brief speech leading up to the music video release, “We’ve been planning this for the last few months, we are so excited for you guys to be here and we hope that you vibe with us on this beautiful video.”
After the video premiered, attendees were asked to write on an index card, answering the question, “How did the video make you feel?” Students were encouraged to go up to the mic and express what they wrote on their cards.
“The video should make the viewer feel some level of discomfort, and want to talk about these issues that are in our society,” said Juztino Panella, a leading member of the Justice Arts Collective, professor, and counselor at Chabot College. The JAC is composed of numerous musicians and poets who are mostly Chabot students and two Chabot College counselors.
Joan Cortez, a member of the JAC and student at Chabot, declared “The JAC has taught me to think about helping and advocating for people beyond myself and beyond my community. It also inspired me to write more and be in solidarity with other Chabot students and community members.”
The event was scheduled to end around 9 p.m. but the space that was created, welcomed all to say whatever they felt in a unity circle that enclosed the entire interior of the building until about 10:45 p.m.
Did you miss the video premiere? You can still check it out. The Justice Arts Collective invites all to visit their website www.justicecartscollective.org.