Oklahoma governor kicked out of Tulsa race massacre commission
TULSA, Okla. | The commission formed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre announced Friday that it had kicked Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt from his seat on the panel a week after signing a bill banning the teaching of certain concepts of race and racism in public schools.
A commission statement did not indicate the reason for the separation and a spokeswoman said the commission had no further comment. However, commission project leader Phil Armstrong this week sharply criticized the Republican governor for signing a bill banning the teaching of so-called critical race theory in Oklahoma schools.
“The commissioners of the centenary of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre met on Tuesday and agreed by consensus to separate from Governor Stitt,” the commission statement read.
He added that while the commission “is discouraged at parting ways with Governor Stitt, we are grateful for the things accomplished together.” He also said: “No elected official, or representative of elected officials, was involved in this decision.”
The Republican governor was not made aware of his ouster until the commission released its statement, Stitt spokeswoman Carly Atchison said.
Stitt’s role “was purely ceremonial and he had only been invited to attend a meeting this week,” the statement said.
The commission was formed to organize events for the anniversary of the massacre which took place on May 31 and June 1 in 1921. A white mob killed around 300 people and injured 800 by torching 30 blocks of businesses owned by blacks, neighborhood houses and churches in Tulsa. Greenwood neighborhood, also known as “Black Wall Street”. Planes were even used to drop explosives on the area, burning it to the ground.
In a letter to the governor on Tuesday, Armstrong said the committee was “gravely disappointed” that neither Stitt nor a representative chose to attend a meeting Monday evening to discuss signing the GOP-backed legislation on the issue. “Critical Race Theory,” which examines the racism system and how race influences American politics, legal systems, and society. Among the prohibited concepts is the fact that individuals, because of their race or gender, are inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, consciously or unconsciously.
Armstrong had said that Stitt’s signing of the bill on May 7 was “diametrically opposed to the mission of the Centennial Commission and reflected your desire to end your affiliation.”
Atchison denounced the commission’s decision in his statement on Friday.
“It is disappointing to see an organization of such importance devoting so much effort to sowing division on the basis of lies and political rhetoric two weeks before the centenary and a month before the commission stops,” he said. she declared.
Another member of the committee, State Representative Monroe Nichols of Tulsa, resigned from the panel on Tuesday after Stitt signed the bill, saying it “casts a bad shadow over the phenomenal work done over the past five years. years ”.
The commission developed and promoted programs, events and activities to remember the 1921 massacre and commemorate its victims. Events include “Greenwood: An American Dream Destroyed,” a presentation that wraps up over one month this weekend, and “Greenwood Rising: The Black Wall Street History Center,” due for release on June 2.
Wallace reported from Dallas.