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'Worst Thing That We Can Do' - Black Leaders Make 1 Last Call for Bynum to Cancel Rally

Chris Polansky

Black community leaders in Tulsa, including one of Mayor G.T. Bynum's opponents in the upcoming election, made one final call Saturday for President Trump's campaign rally later that night to be canceled.

They said the president's visit was emboldening his supporters, citing threats made against speakers at the Juneteenth celebration on Greenwood and north Tulsa residents harassed by people with Trump 2020 flags on their vehicles.

Rev. Robert Turner of Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church said Trump's presence was divisive for a city that was trying to move forward.

"But this is the same mayor who was afraid to give or even approach the idea of reparations because he claims it is divisive. No, Mr. Mayor, you just lack the political courage to do what is right," Turner said. "I plead with you, for the safety of your citizens and this city, to cancel this rally that is putting lives at danger."

"If you are just too afraid to stand up to the president, say it," Turner said.

Greg Robinson, who is one of several candidates running against Bynum for mayor, said allowing Trump to hold a rally in Tulsa during the Juneteenth weekend that should be a time of celebration was a sign Black Tulsans are still not receiving the same respect all Tulsans should.

"There are Tulsans right now who are fearing for their lives because of the hate that comes with our president's rhetoric and his rallies. This is a people who saw their very lands destroyed, who saw their very family members burned and killed, who have not received not one bit of justice, not one insurance claim filed, not one person brought to justice, who have family members that today are afraid to walk across the street because they may be taken into custody," Robinson said. 

Terence Crutcher Foundation founder Tiffany Crutcher said they don't condone any counter protest in the name of Black lives or any violence. Crutcher also said Vice President Mike Pence was not welcome in Greenwood for a potential visit.

She told community members not to put themselves in danger and that they didn't need to be physically present, but she wanted people to cover the area in signs showing Pence he isn’t welcome in Greenwood and in Tulsa.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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