A Texas group that advocates for Black Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights plans to hold an armed demonstration in Tulsa just before the race massacre centennial.
Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt Gun Club founder Nick Bezzel said he’s hoping for 1,000 legally armed Black people to participate in a May 29 remembrance walk for Greenwood, the prosperous community known as Black Wall Street that a white mob destroyed on May 31 and June 1, 1921.
Bezzel said their goal is not violence, but to send a message that a similar attack will never happen again.
"Stop thinking every time you see a Black person with a gun, something bad is going to happen. I can promise you, from May of last year to today, you’ve never seen an armed demonstration in America — whether it was Texas, whether it was Louisiana, Georgia, Florida or Kentucky — there’s never been an act of violence when you’ve seen Black, armed demonstrations in America. So, what makes you think something’s going to happen on our sacred land?" Bezzel said.
According to CNN reports, members of the group NFAC accidentally discharged weapons at armed demonstrations last year, but no violence was reported.
The demonstration is part of a three-day National Black Power Convention being organized May 28–30 in Tulsa by the gun club and other groups, including the New Black Panther Party. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the New Black Panther Party a hate group.
Bezzel said the convention is also a chance to build relationships with community leaders and support Black-owned businesses.
"Our plan is to come down here and buy these businesses out, spend as much money as we can and to support the people here in Tulsa as much as we can. If they need laws passed, if we have people here that can help them do that, we will, whether it’s on the city level or the state level," Bezzel said.
A permit for the demonstration is pending. Officials said approval has been delayed by the ransomware attack on the city.
A new state law cracking down on protesters who block roads and giving immunity to drivers who hit people deemed rioters does not take effect until Nov. 1.