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City Councilors hear proposal on 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre reparations

Posted at 6:25 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 19:31:26-05

TULSA, Okla.  — Tulsa City Councilors heard a project proposal Wednesday that would begin a community engagement process to address reparations for The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

It was presented at the Urban and Economic Development meeting.

World Won Development and Standpipe Hill Strategies are among the stakeholders who shared the framework of the project.

They told councilors the first phase of the project involves community engagement and listening.

The second phase includes research and potential reparation recommendations for policymakers to consider.

They emphasized the process would be led by those most impacted by the massacre.

“It is a conversation that has to be had, so we understand what we want, right, but you all are able to engage in it to figure out what part of that you want to take on," Greg Robinson, Standpipe Hill Strategies owner said.

Councilors were also able to ask questions about the process.

Now, councilors have to pass a second resolution to include Mayor G.T. Bynum.

Once approved, they can move forward with the community-engagement part of the process.

“The massacre is not just a greenwood, Tulsa, or a black problem…The massacre is a Tulsa problem that has yet to be dealt with and so we want to make sure that we are including everyone in this conversation and ultimately, what are we going to do to repair,” City Councilor for District 1, Vanessa Hall-Harper said Tuesday.

For the past century, Tulsans impacted by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre have demanded justice, more recently in the form of reparations.

“This is still a very contentious topic, as it relates to Tulsa and its citizens. We are on the worldwide stage as a result of the Tulsa Race Massacre and we need to get this right,” Hall-Harper said.

Last June, as the city commemorated the Massacre's Centennial, councilors signed a resolution apologizing for the municipal government's role.

In that resolution, the city also committed to making tangible amends in the form of a community-led engagement process. Councilor Hall-Harper worked with community partners to develop a project proposal that details that process.

“My goal is for us to have these conversations and develop a plan for us to move forward,” Hall-Harper said.

She's presenting that proposal to other councilors later this morning.

The project will be broken down into four phases allowing the community to engage in conversations that discuss what reparations should look like.

“I want the community to be involved, I want it to be a transparent, open, and honest process,” Councilor Hall-Harper said.

She said she hopes the proposal starts a conversation that will lead to restoring what was destroyed.

“I want to really move the needle on this,” Hall-Harper said.


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