Both the chair and vice chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus released statements in regards to Gov. Stitt's roundtable discussion on race.
The panel selection should have been more broad to offer more insight on these issues. Gov. Stitt referred to the death of George Floyd and said, ‘We do not want this to happen in Oklahoma.’ This has already happened in Oklahoma. Elliott Williams, a black man with a broken neck, died in custody; an unarmed Terence Crutcher, was murdered by a police officer and both incidents were videotaped among numerous other incidents of innocent Black people being murdered.
The governor also asked ‘What can elected officials do?’ For years, the Black Caucus collectively has created bills related to law enforcement reform only to meet disregard and rejection from leadership. I have personally filed legislation addressing hate crimes, police body camera usage, and excessive police force. None of these bills were heard on the House floor.
The Black Caucus, along with leading community police reform advocates and activists, are engaged in creating policy. Beyond conversation, we need good legislation to be implemented.
Jason Lowe, Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus Vice-Chair Rep., called for a broader conversation.
In Oklahoma, we have a deep bench of academics, civil rights leaders, activists and elected officials who could have led the governor and panel in a difficult, yet extremely important conversation. Instead of a substantial meeting on inequity, we had a superficial show of solidarity.
The roundtable discussion, Uniting Oklahoma: A roundtable discussion about race, aired on KJRH on Sunday.
Viewers can watch the special here or on a Roku, AmazonFire or AppleTv streaming device.
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