Wanda Johnson, whose son Oscar Grant was killed by an officer in 2009, called for accountability throughout the judicial system.
"It’s very difficult to see the disparities in America, the land that’s supposed to be the home of free and opportunity," she said.
Her call comes as protests continue over George Floyd’s death and older complaints of police brutality against black Americans are coming to light due to increased scrutiny and reviews.
Johannes Mehserle, who was a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer at the time of the incident, was found guilty of shooting 22-year-old Oscar Grant on an Oakland train platform on January 1, 2009.
Grant's killing sparked public furor, when cell phone video went viral showing Mehserle shooting him in the back, while another officer knelt over him. His death became the subject of the award-winning movie "Fruitvale Station," named after the BART station, where he was shot.
The ex-officer was sentenced to two years in prison after his involuntary manslaughter conviction but was released after serving 11 months.
“Justice would have been that our sons are alive today,” Johnson said about her son and the other black lives lost to police violence. “Because we face the injustice of losing our sons, we now have to deal with trying to fight the system to get the charge, which is another unacceptable thing that we have to go through, because wrong is wrong.”
Johnson said that “discriminatory practices” have forced black parents to have difficult conversations with their kids.
“The very night that Oscar encountered the police, he was telling his friends that, you know, ‘Hey, be quiet. Follow their directions. We're going to go home.’ And yet Oscar, you know, lost his life.”
For George Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, Johnson advised his family and friends to be there for her every step of the way.
“Be there when she needs you. And that's going to be all the time because a young daughter yearns for her father,” she said adding that 11 years later, Grant’s daughter still feels his loss.
“It’s devastating to see even Tatiana grow up without her father," she added.