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Downtown Tulsa's equality center installs bulletproof glass after shooting, spike in crime

Posted at 4:59 PM, Nov 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-02 08:57:42-04

TULSA -- In early March, the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center was inundated with bullets. Since then hate mail and crime have been constant challenges.

But about 800 different organizations and people have stepped up, donating close to $40,000 to improve safety.

Oklahomans for Equality has prepared for this moment for months. After 14 bullets came through the windows, the executive director knew it was time for a change.

"We've had people mail us threats in the mail. We've had them come into the building to threaten us. During our renovations they would vandalize our porta potty and smear stuff all over the walls and write horrible things all over the walls," Toby Jenkins said.

The director said as he's noticed an increase in hate crimes over the last year, he's also seen more reports in the LGBTQ community.

"We had people who were assaulted and their properties vandalized. Lots of workplace discrimination and housing discrimination. And that's always been there. But it went off the charts," Jenkins said.

It's the support that gives Jenkins hope. They were able to raise enough money for protective glass in a matter of days after shots were fired.

"Nobody wants to live in a world like that. Nobody wants to live in a world that's filled with friction and conflict and division," Jenkins said.

The center has been undergoing renovations as well. Those will be unveiled along with the bulletproof windows at a ribbon cutting ceremony later in the week.

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