TULSA, Okla. — A New York nonprofit, Business for Good Foundation, donated $1 million total to the three remaining survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
108-year-old Viola Fletcher, 107-year-old Lessie Benningfield Randle, and 101-year-old Hughes Van Ellis have seen a lot in their lifetime. A first, though, is the $1 million dollar check presented to them from the Business for Good Foundation Wednesday afternoon at the Greenwood Cultural Center.
“We’re trying to extend their life and make them comfortable at their age,” said Ike Howard.
Ike Howard is Viola Fletcher’s grandson. He says the money will help in several ways as he takes care of both the wants and needs of the centurions.
“They want to go and see things,” said Howard.
“They want to go to historically black colleges. They want to go to different events and do things. The mind is still fresh, but the body needs a little adjustment.”
It was a packed house at the Greenwood Cultural Center Wednesday, as family, friends, and community members witnessed the donation firsthand. Business for Good Foundation founders, Ed and Lisa Mitzen, say it was important for them to give to the survivors.
“They were clearly wronged,” said Ed Mitzen.
“I don’t think there is any argument about that and the fact that it was 101 years ago shouldn’t negate the fact that they were wronged.”
Mitzen says he simply wanted to brighten their day, and make them realize that people do care, and their struggle mattered.
“I felt a little frustration that it was so hard for these folks to try and get what it felt like they were entitled to,” said Ed Mitzen.
Mitzen says it’s the first donation they’ve made outside of New York. Howard says the money will also be used to help the survivor's great-grandchildren get through college.
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