Tulsa Equality Center to replace windows thanks to community donations

Posted at 4:35 PM, Apr 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 06:40:39-04

TULSA, Okla. -- Nearly two months since shots were fired through the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center, volunteers are reflecting on the support they've received from the community.

Tulsa's Equality Center was one of several LGBTQ locations across the country that was targeted by violence over the past several months.

But from that single act of hate, folks say a new love has emerged that's stronger than ever.

“Once I sat here and saw the hurt. It hurt,” said volunteer Sara-Jane Gray.

The reminders remain.

They're signs of hate that still greet every visitor and volunteer like Gray.

“People were scared. People were scared to come in and you can't blame them. You can't blame them at all,” she said.

Gray is a member of the very community she serves...a community she's seen evolve since March in an unexpected way.

“I received the mail a couple of weeks later and it was just piles of support letters,” she said.

“Our community in three days raised enough money to fix these doors and these windows,” said Equality Center Executive Director Toby Jenkins.

Jenkins said 900 people donated money to foot the $30,000 repair bill to the building.

The center now has extra funds to go toward stronger security...and bringing even more awareness.

“Whoever shot up the building was wanting to send a message of 'I know you're there. I know what you're doing.' But they just helped us out by letting everyone else know we're here,” said Jenkins.

When new glass arrives, it won't just be stronger and newer.

For folks like Gray, it'll symbolize a group of Tulsans who choose love over hate.

“The community here is really great,” said Jenkins. “We all care about this place. Absolutely care about this place.”

Directors hope to replace the windows in the next few weeks.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 918-596-COPS.