Call To Action: End TDA’s Reign Over Greenwood
In previous editions of the Oklahoma Eagle, we have discussed the critical need to be aware of this important point in history of the land in and around Black Wall Street. This paper examined the long history of what has happened to the land once owned by the amazing original citizens of Greenwood. Justice demands that we honor the first brave souls that inhabited this side of the tracks and why we must all fight for what is only right.
In the coming months the history of Greenwood will be discussed in detail and much of it will center on the Race Massacre of 1921. There will be overtures of well-meaning thoughts of good will and perhaps an apology over what happened 100 years ago. Not minimizing apologies from those who are answering for the guilty; however, this commiseration should come with a reversal of devastating policies. Remembrance is not repair. It would be a silent sin if policies that separate land from people of color to enrich the wealthy are allowed to continue.
However, nothing will happen until everyone reading this editorial writes the Mayor and demands he removes Tulsa Development Authority (TDA) from any say over land in and around the Greenwood area. Before you let anyone tell you that is too big and complicated, just know total reversals of long time policies go on every day. President Donald Trump recently started rolling back environmental regulations. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is wanting to break another promise to the tribes over gaming compacts. Stitt wants to remove regulations over starting a business in Oklahoma and Tulsa Mayor J.T. Bynum wants to dramatically change oversight over police shootings. Big and long-time laws and regulations are changed every day if it is the will of the powerful or of the people. The people recently said more individuals should have access to insurance; millions more. This is especially true when old policies are hurting people or are ineffective. What could be truer than removing the city’s instrument (TDA) for selling ill-gotten lands that were taken with the promise they would be returned to the benefit of Greenwood? Laws were enacted to remove slavery and grant voting rights. Don’t let anyone tell you this can’t be done.
Call it urban renewal, race massacre, TDA or gentrification the result is the same; removing land from a person of color in the name of progress. Progress comes under the guise of greed. Don’t let anyone tell you different. That travesty has got to end and be replaced with the opposite of that evil scheme to steal Greenwood land. The scheme has largely worked for the wealthy and powerful. However this naked land grab has got to stop and must be replaced with a just act to reverse the institutional theft of black resources.
What is happening now is that the land value has increased in the Greenwood area. s. There is no more land to develop in downtown Tulsa, and the only ground for sale is in and around Greenwood. This is all about real estate and who will gobble up the acres of land originally owned by brave entrepreneurs.
But, what to replace TDA with and ensure Greenwood is developed with transparent integrity? We have proposed this before and we repeat The Greenwood Plan:
- Establish the Greenwood District Board to oversee economic develop activities in the district.
- Set aside land acquired by the urban renewal authority, as its “highest and best use”, the construction of multipurpose facilities used by small businesses specializing in the history, food, arts and entertainment unique to the area.
- Stabilize residential housing already existing in the area by low interest loan financing and provide low interest loans for other homes and small business.
- Use set asides allowed by Preservation of Historic Districts. Require governments and indigenous residents to obtain necessary approvals.
- Create TFF district to propel economic growth in targeted areas.
- Use Tax credits for minority business to spur growth.
This is a call for action and your voice is critical. Please contact www.theoklahomaeagle.net , Facebook (The Oklahoma Eagle) or our Twitter (@OKEaglePaper), because we want to hear from you.
Also, send your comments and concerns to the Mayor’s Office at 200 Civic Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103.
We are aware of current plans for some development but so much has to be done to create real change.
The Greenwood District should be a world-class attraction to which millions of people will be drawn because of its unique history of race relations and reconciliation. The history of Greenwood is intertwined with the history of slavery, the Indian Removal Act and the Indian Allotment Act. Visits by millions of tourists and those interested in improving race relations will have a place to come and see that justice and reconciliation can be found in Tulsa rising from the ashes of destruction.
Only A Progressive Black Police Chief Will Create Real Change
It’s pretty obvious good intentions have not created good police relations with the black community. The current system slows potential growth within the system to create leadership within the department. The rank and file police force has not had the proper leadership to steer them into the new century.
Now is the time to leap-frog into the future and truly improve the poor relations with law enforcement. To truly describe the poor relationship is to describe one of the worst departments in the country historically.
Trust is not a word that can be used to describe police interactions with the black community. The police force has recoiled from community policing and other progressive reforms and dragged their feet on all other important steps.
There are so many qualified black administrators in the justice field; what is lacking is the courage or commitment to do the right thing.