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Local & Regional

Resilient Tulsa Plan Aims to Make City Stronger Through Equity

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The City of Tulsa released on Tuesday its plan to make Tulsa a unified, equitable city for all residents.

Resilient Tulsa aims to make Tulsa an inclusive city and make Tulsans healthy, prosperous people, no matter where they live. The plan is part of Tulsa's involvement in the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities. North America Manager Otis Rolley said Tulsa showed character in acknowledging the overarching reason for needing improvement.

"The way that you have addressed issues of race and equity in this document, you did not put your head in the sand like many other cities have done. You’re stepping up, and now you’re going to be investing in a way that says this matters," Rolley said.

Mayor G.T. Bynum said Resilient Tulsa all comes down to tackling his signature campaign issue: bridging life expectancy and other gaps between white and black Tulsans.

"It does not contain every single good idea that is out there to make this a more equitable city for all Tulsans, but it is a roadmap for the first leg of that journey that is going to take years to accomplish," Bynum said.

The plan's 41 actions are grouped into four different areas: honoring all Tulsans, equipping all Tulsans to overcome barriers and thrive, improving economic opportunities for all Tulsans, and transforming public services to improve outcomes for all Tulsans.

Specific steps range from simple to highly complex and include things like establishing a celebration of all things Tulsa known as 918 Day, memorializing Black Wall Street, investing in kids' mental health, bringing grocery stores to underserved communities and launching a mobile city hall. Plans call for all actions be implemented in the next seven years.

City Chief Resilience Officer DeVon Douglass said the plan's launch acknowledges Tulsans stand on the shoulders of previous generations.

"We stand on people who rose up from the Trail of Tears. We stand on the shoulders of people who laid bricks on Greenwood and Black Wall Street. We stand on the shoulders of people who rose up after the flood in the 1980s and said, 'This isn’t good enough for our city,'" Douglass said.

Douglass will lead a new division of the mayor's office to oversee Resilient Tulsa's implementation. The city will have access to grant funding from 100 Resilient Cities for the next decade as long as it continues to work on the plan.