Hayward, California, New Year's Eve, 2008. Twenty-two year old Oscar Grant, a black man, and his live-in Latina girlfriend Sophina are the parents of a preschool aged daughter Tatiana. Oscar is not perfect, he being an ex-con - his prison sentence for dealing drugs - having been caught cheating on Sophina, and having lost his job two weeks ago at the local supermarket from tardiness, his current unemployment which he has not yet told anyone in his hope of getting the job back. These bumps are in the process of Oscar truly trying to turn his life around, not only for Sophina and Tatiana's sakes, but his true love for them and of his mother, Wanda, whose support and tough love have fostered that want to be a better person. That love for Wanda and his family in general is demonstrated by Oscar spending much of the day preparing for Wanda's birthday party that evening, and willing to help his sister Chantay out of a financial bind despite he not even knowing if he will have enough money to pay his own rent due tomorrow. That path to a better life takes another more major bump that evening as he and Sophina take the BART into San Francisco to ring in the new year, that specific bump happening in an incident at Fruitvale Station in Oakland on their way home.