TULSA -- Hundreds of Tulsans gathered to stand in solidarity with the victims in Charlottesville on Sunday evening.
About 15 people spoke at a vigil at Reconciliation Park.
“Coming to a rally is not going to cut it,” one of the speakers said. “If white supremacy is going to be overcome, it will be because white people fought alongside our friends of color. Not because we attended rallies and stayed safely inside our south Tulsa homes being ‘Oklahoma nice.’”
Leaders of churches and activist groups said we are fighting the same fight we did more than 50 years ago and it is time for everyone to step up.
“We need all the sea of rainbow to speak to the officer-involved shootings that keep happening in this city,” Marq Lewis with We The People Oklahoma said. “It keeps happening in this city. I love all of you, but we need you.”
“In Oklahoma, we no longer have affirmative action,” another speaker said. “In Oklahoma, this group benefits from a white supremacist white privilege system.”
Politics, incarceration rates, lack of representation in the government for minorities and the lack of grocery stores on the north side of town were just a few of the topics discussed.
Speakers said polices were created and laws were changed but our hearts have not.
“We have to be consistent in our stand for justice and equality,” Lewis said. “We have to be consistent in our stance for love and consistent in our stance against hate.”
Stacey Woolley brought her three children with her to the vigil. She planned to use it as a way to teach her children.
“I think that is just a teaching opportunity that you are not better than anyone,” Woolley said. “You are not worse than anyone no matter what color you are.”
She said there was not an easy solution to the racism problem. It is something that would take time.
“Once people start spending time with people of other races and putting themselves in places where they can empathize with differences that we each experience that we will get to a point where we understand and things start to change,” Woolley said.
Speakers told everyone that once the gathering ended, that did not mean the work needed to stop.
Attendants were encouraged to point out racism and bigotry when they saw it happening and be a resource to people.