Inaction Or Bureaucratic Barriers Will Not Erase Mural
No other way to say it, but the City of Tulsa’s response to the Black Lives Matter mural is embarrassing and backward. Citing obscure city ordinances and unfounded fears the reaction to the bright yellow letters on Greenwood has not been a call for racial unity but a return to intolerance. However, there is still another way. We as a city do not have to be what others think of us and could actually listen to our better angels.
For Heaven’s sake, if our most well-known quality is our bloody racist past and we are fast approaching the most heinous incident in history, then isn’t it incumbent on us to answer the call for a better future? What is clear is that there are still those who operate in the darkness spreading lies and fear because of a bucket of paint. Are they really that threatened by a truth on the value of black lives? It’s not any more complicated than that. We can do better, and it can all be done for the price of an effort.
City leader George Kaiser raises important and humane points on seeing the need to recognize our current stress and tragic past by doing the just thing. His wisdom is inescapable and clear. That is not just another street and the message is not just graffiti. And it needs to stay or another message appropriate for the children of the massacre to consider.
We call upon the 1921 Race Massacre Commission to come up with a message and gain a special permit to allow a mural worthy of this moment in time to say Tulsa will stand and grow from this ugly past. We will not take steps back and allow the intolerant to say what Tulsa stands for. Surely, in this moment at this place, there can be a place where the voices of those silenced in 1921 can be heard and remembered.
Tulsa city government should support this effort with words and deeds by funding and protecting the proposed message. Tulsa is going to show the world that we are not the 1921 version of Tulsa but the Metropolitan version looking toward the future.
Others are not waiting for those in charge to do the right thing. On this the tragic anniversary of Terence Crutcher’s death at the hands of ex Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby, midtown churches painted their own Black Lives Matter murals. The murals in largely all white churches are a sign that not everyone wants to step back.
Led by Terence’s twin sister Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, she is remembering her brother and renewing her promise to reform the Tulsa Police Department. Her foundation in Terence’s name gave a $10,000 check to the Tulsa Mental Health Association, the Day Center and the city of Tulsa. They did what the city has not done in 100 years or in the four years since Terence was killed; they made the city a better place.
The mural was an organic event in the aftermath of the tragic death of George Floyd. Young Tulsans not affiliated with any group on their own painted Black Lives Matter on a street where blood was spilled because of the color of a person’s skin. Most Tulsans saw the words meant to drive away President Donald J. Trump and shook their head in the affirmative. We can continue to say yes to change, reform and justice.
Tulsa Hate Crime Ordinance To Include Gender And Orientation
While it is a positive step for Tulsa to join the progressive fraternity of metropolitan cities that have enacted city ordinances against Hate, there are still those who do not get it. As it stands now the ordinance is like the state of Oklahoma’s laws but adds for protected classes, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
But, just like Tulsa, there are those on the city council who thought the law would create a special class of citizens with superior protections. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum reportedly said he could not support a law like that. Councilor Jeannie Cue and Bynum said people were concerned it would create a special class of citizens. Of course, that is completely crazy, and it does not create a special class of super citizens it just protects a vulnerable class of Tulsans who are harassed. This will help all the protected classes to live as equals, not inferior residents of our city.
Eddie Warrior Correctional Center For Women Overwhelmed With Covid Cases, 1 Dead
The crisis in Oklahoma prisons is a shameful stain on our state that needs immediate action. Close to 800 inmates at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center are suffering from Covid 19 virus. One woman who the institution refuses to release any information about has died. Women who have been released paint a chaotic and dangerous picture of life inside the women’s prison.
Of course, many employees have also come down with the virus as there is very little social distancing and little in the way of treatment for those afflicted. Mabel Basset Correctional Center has also had a large outbreak and for similar reasons. Inmates sometimes refuse to wear masks and there is little effort to enforce social distancing regulations.
The problem is clear and while there are no easy answers, action should be taken immediately. Those women no matter their crime, were not sentenced to a cruel death. They are serving their time in prison and while there are entitled to healthcare and to be protected from harm.
In order to achieve a measure of safety, health experts, not correctional officials who are not known for their humanity should decide what arrangements should be made for guaranteeing the safety of the women. Every effort should be made for appropriate quarantining of infected women from healthy women. There should be consideration for releasing healthy non-violent women to home confinement where possible to help lessen the situation.
Oklahoma has a poor history of treating women well in the penal system and in sentencing. We of course routinely lead the nation in the number of women incarcerated in the nation. Which also means we lead the world in the number of women we send to prison. Governor Kevin Stitt needs to meet his obligations as chief executive of this state and do the right thing.