The Oklahoma Eagle Newswire
A team of civil and human rights lawyers filed a lawsuit in the Tulsa County District Court on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 against the City of Tulsa, the Chamber of Commerce and other defendants demanding they repair the public nuisance they created in Greenwood and North Tulsa that started with the 1921 Race Massacre and continues to today. Oklahoma law defines a nuisance as “unlawfully doing an act, or omitting to perform a duty, which act or omission . . . annoys, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, or safety of others . . . or . . . [i]n any way renders other persons insecure in life, or in the use of property.”
The lawsuit states that the defendants’ actions and inactions since the Massacre have annoyed, injured and endangered the comfort, health and safety of Black people in Greenwood and North Tulsa. It seeks what is called “abatement” – money and other things to repair Greenwood and North Tulsa neighborhoods and communities.
The lawsuit also says that the City of Tulsa and other defendants have received benefits from retelling the story of the Massacre and Black Wall Street that rightly belong to the plaintiffs and residents of Greenwood and North Tulsa. It makes a demand for the value of those benefits to be placed in a Tulsa Massacre Victims Compensation Fund that will be used to provide various forms of compensation that can repair the injuries done to the plaintiffs and other descendants of those who were killed, injured or lost property in the Massacre as well as residents of the Greenwood and North Tulsa neighborhoods and communities.
Although we decided not to file a class action lawsuit, it is our view Oklahoma law allows this public nuisance claim to benefit all Black people in the Greenwood and North Tulsa neighborhoods and communities affected by the 1921 Massacre and continued nuisance that exists today. As a result, the individuals and entities named as plaintiffs in the filing of this lawsuit are in fact representative of those who were and are injured by the defendants’ conduct.
We have a legal strategy and plan to protect the legal rights of all survivors and those who are descendants of people who were killed, injured or lost property in the Massacre. If you are or believe you are a descecdant of someone who was affected by the Massacre, please contact Jill York at (918) 352-6797 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will also hold monthly community meetings (virtual meetings, for now) to share updated and answer questions about the case. If you are interested in signing up for our monthly community meetings, please email. email@example.com.
Damario Solomon-Simmons, Esq., M.Ed.
“Law is my Ministry, Justice is my Passion!”