2020 Was No Friend To Tulsa North 

For most Americans, 2020 was challenging and full of stress. We didn’t always find our humanity, but we did witness how little there was in others. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded us that we do not find ourselves in times of convenience but rather in times of stress. Most certainly, great signs of charity and heroism was found in pockets of our society. The medical community were true to their oaths and have walked into wards filled with Covid-19 patients. They cry because they know there is not an absolute certainty that they will not bring this deadly virus home with them. And there were those who fell short when the call for wisdom and tolerance was needed. 2020 for too many was not our finest hour.

Never stop thanking the medical community for their heroic work to treat a virus that kills one person while it hardly affects another, and there is no way to really know how it will manifest itself. From EMT’s to Tulsa County Health Department to surgeons and everyone in between, they have been in the fight of their lives to treat all of us with courage and compassion. We can’t thank you enough. Nurses treated Covid patients with love and were often the last person the patient saw before they passed on. How do you adequately thank people like that?

Covid was going to adversely effect Tulsans at some point. However, it didn’t have to be this bad. President Donald J. Trump made a calculated decision to open up the country when it was clear the virus was slowing down with the strict precautions. Businesses closed, schools closed, and people suffered economically and emotionally.

The shut down was horrible and required a national sacrifice. Then Trump realized his greatest strength was the economy. Not trusting the people would understand he had to make a hard decision for the health of the nation over preserving the economy he started to back off the healthy measures.

Time will tell if rolling back restrictions when he learned people of color were more likely to suffer and die from Covid than white citizens, will damage any legacy he might have earned. It became a political issue. To support Trump, it was important to follow his mandate of few restrictions and safeguards. Once Trump changed the mandatory measures, infection rates sky-rocketed and people died by the thousands. So strong is his hold on republicans they fell in line and stood loyally by him while Covid spread like wildfire across the nation.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Governor Kevin Stitt also backed off their once strict attempts to save the lives of Oklahomans. The pair were quick to welcome Trump’s trip to Tulsa that spurred a spike in infections that was predicted if he came. Today critical care services are stretched to capacity all because Trump took a chance that he was right.

George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were some of the victims of racist murder at the hands of police sparking a spring and summer of protest. Even in Tulsa, people took to the streets to vent their anger at a system which clearly targets people of color by the justice system. Julius Jones sits on death row for a murder of a white Edmond businessman. It is well chronicled that the case is filled with doubt and he deserves to be set free or be afforded a new trial where the evidence can be presented.

The steely racist face of justice has not budged in Jones’ case and people are still trying to get Stitt and the pardon and parole board to commute his sentence. Oklahoma prisons filled with a disproportionate number of black inmates, are overwhelmed with Covid infections with no humane plan to help them.

Tulsa has wildly failed in their preparation for the recognition of the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Its clear, from the response to the ugly removal of the Black Lives Matter street art to its continued parochial treatment of the Greenwood district, that Tulsa has a long way to go in equal rights. Funds have been resourced in preparation of the world looking at Tulsa during this grim anniversary. But the hope that local government and political views have changed is sadly not the case. Those historical views have hardened and seem baked into the fabric of the power structure of Tulsa.

2020 will see the vaccine begin to work in the Tulsa community and life will slowly come back to a new normal. America will have a new president and while no one knows how it will change government, the removal of Trump is a triumph over his evil reign.

America and Tulsa still must grapple with the national shame of racism that is not dying off with the passing of old bigots but is being passed down. We must not only vaccinate a global pandemic, but also address ails that continue to haunt us with love and forgiveness. Happy New Year.

Medical And Legal Justice Took A Holiday In 2020 

The wheels of justice are purposely slow, and it seems is timed to let the heat die down before pronouncing a decision. Louisville is moving to fire two detectives involved in the Breonna Taylor raid that resulted in her tragic shooting death. The reason is that they brought discredit to the department by their actions. Yes, shooting a sleeping black woman in her bed is more than wrong. It is criminal.

A grand jury said the officers’ use of force was justified although they were not given the latitude to decided otherwise. The Federal government may pursue charges; however, it doesn’t look good. The justice department just announced they would not pursue charges against two Cleveland police officers in the 2014 killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice because there was not conclusive video evidence to indict the officers.

There is no justice in the medical wards of this country as people of color seek help for Covid-19. Tragically, Dr. Susan Moore, a black physician, died but not before informing the world through video posts that she was racially mistreated.

We pray that the legal and medical community takes stock of how some in their ranks perform their jobs. People are dying because of hate and that is a preventable crime.