Protests

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Oklahoma is being taken to court over another law passed in the last legislative session.

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.

Illustration by Marlin Lavanhar (via The Black Wall Street Times)

On this edition of ST, we're pleased to speak with Marlin Lavanhar, a Unitarian Universalist minister who's been based at All Souls Church here in Tulsa since 2000. A longtime social justice activist and tireless human rights advocate, Lavanhar recently launched a series of editorial cartoons focused on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre -- and on the urgent need for reparations to be conveyed to those directly affected by this vast, tragic, century-old crime.

Former Oklahoma Gov. Henry Criticizes Anti-Protest Bill

Apr 30, 2021
State of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Former Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry said Friday he is throwing his support behind an effort to reject a recently signed bill that seeks to crack down on protesters.

The former two-term Democrat described the bill as ill-conceived and dangerous and said he supports a citizen-led signature gathering effort to veto it.

Dream Action Oklahoma

An Oklahoma Democratic leader wants to overturn a new law to crack down on protesters.

Under a bill signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt last week, there will be increased penalties for protesters blocking roadways starting Nov. 1. The law also gives criminal and civil immunity to drivers who hit people considered rioters, even if someone dies.

Stitt Signs Bill To Crack Down On Protesters

Apr 22, 2021
Chris Polansky / KWGS News

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill Wednesday to crack down on protesters by increasing penalties for blocking roadways and granting immunity to motorists who kill or injure rioters.

The bill was one of 44 bills signed into law by the Republican governor and one of a series of GOP-backed proposals across the country aimed at cracking down on protesters.

Black Wall Street Times

The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday sent the governor two bills to clamp down on protests.

House Bill 1674 grants drivers who hit protesters in the road immunity if they feared they’d be hurt or killed, even if a protester dies. Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman) repeatedly cited an incident in Tulsa last summer where a man drove through a crowd on the Inner Dispersal Loop  protesting police violence against Black Americans. One man fell off the overpass and was paralyzed.

Civil rights groups and activists say Oklahoma is not alone in considering a flurry of anti-protest legislation after protests last year over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. 

"However, Oklahoma has the most anti-protest, anti-speech, anti-freedom bills — has one of the most anti-protest bills across the country," ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Tamya Cox-Touré said during a virtual town hall hosted by the Black Wall Street Times.

Fifty years ago, in March of 1971, a group of activists calling itself the "Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI" broke into a small FBI office in Pennsylvania and stole more than 1,000 classified documents. They then anonymously mailed the documents to several U.S. newspapers, thereby exposing numerous illegal FBI operations vis a vis domestic surveillance. On this edition of ST, we revisit our 2014 conversation with Betty Medsger, a former Washington Post journalist who wrote a book detailing this incident. That book is "The Burglary: The Discovery of J.

Oklahoma House of Representatives

In a late vote in the early morning hours Wednesday, the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved a bill that would grant protections to drivers who use their cars to injure or kill protestors, if they were "fleeing a riot" and claimed "a reasonable belief [that] their actions were necessary to protect them from serious injury or death."

On this edition of ST, we chat with artist and Living Arts of Tulsa board member Tina Henley, who is the curator for an interesting group show now on view at Living Arts called "Project Hope, Unity, and Compassion." On view through the 22nd, it is a collection of large-scale artworks which were created on plywood last summer by various artists, and which were then used to cover store-fronts, windows, and buildings in advance of the Trump rally at the BOK Center.

Man Paralyzed in Fall from Bridge in Tulsa Protest

Jun 10, 2020
Courtesy

An Oklahoma man who was paralyzed from the waist down in a fall from a bridge when a truck drove through a crowd of protesters in Tulsa is improving, his brother said Wednesday.

Ryan Knight, 33, is hospitalized in stable condition and is regaining use of his hands and arms, but still cannot move his legs after suffering broken vertebra in his neck and back, and a fractured pelvis and shoulder blade, Randy Knight told The Associated Press.

Chris Polansky / KWGS

A commission serving as a liaison between Tulsa city and county governments and the Hispanic community has given its formal support to work to address racial injustice in policing.

The Greater Tulsa Area Hispanic Affairs Commission sent a letter to the Greater Tulsa Area African American Affairs Commission pledging its support in the fight against police brutality inflicted on black Americans.

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Hundreds of people came to a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Broken Arrow on Saturday.

The crowd gathered at Central Park before marching down Main Street, the Tulsa World reported.

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — A member of a far-right group attended a George Floyd rally in Stillwater armed with a rifle and dressed in tactical gear, which authorities say was legal but inappropriate.

Christopher Autrey, who says he’s a member of the Three Percenters, said he was at the rally Wednesday outside of the police department to prevent protesters from looting local businesses.

Under Oklahoma law, people can openly display and carry loaded weapons in public.

Black Wall Street Times

Members of the Tulsa legal community will offer their time and knowledge to help protesters and protest organizers understand their rights.

Attorney Laurie Phillips said there are a lot of misconceptions about what First Amendment rights do or don’t cover, and their goal is to make those protections clearer in meetings with organizers and webinars.

For example, the First Amendment does not cover protests on private property or highways.

Hannah Phillips

A group of protesters continued peaceful demonstrations against racial injustice Thursday night at Tulsa police headquarters.

Another night of protests in Tulsa ended with police and the National Guard using gas to disperse demonstrators.

A young group of about 50 started protesting at the Tulsa Hills shopping center at 71st Street and U.S. 75. That demonstration was peaceful.