Louis Michael’s college graduation was canceled over the summer, but the Vallejo resident still wanted to walk in his cap and gown.
So he wore it to a protest on May 29 in Oakland with a Black Lives Matter T-shirt under the gown. Sarahbeth Maney’s photograph of Michael standing with his fist in the air in front of police officers went viral. It was Michael’s first protest. Four days later, on June 2, the direction of Michael’s life changed when Sean Monterrosa, a 22-year-old San Franciscan, was fatally shot by Vallejo police. He was the 19th person killed by Vallejo police since 2010.
Michael, 23, had planned to go to graduate school. Instead, in June, he started Vessels of Vallejo, a community organization to fight the oppression of marginalized people. In August, he began his campaign for a seat on the Vallejo City Council. He only captured 37% of the