Dear Mayor GT Bynum,
I want to commend you on your first two years as Mayor of Tulsa. I also want to thank you for choosing such a diverse staff as representation does matter.
I think Tulsa’s workforce and our state’s economy operate stronger when we open the doors to diversity to its fullest. When we do this, we recognize the American Dream according to how it reads in the U.S. Constitution, which excludes no one.
I am requesting that you intervene as a white ally and as we approach the centennial of the establishment for the “Lee School” and the remembrance of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
A few days ago, a friend informed me that Robert E. Lee Elementary school — “Lee School” — was at risk of losing funding if the name “Lee” doesn’t remain on the school. This morning, I woke up to a Tulsa World article confirming that pp narrative.
The ramifications in allowing the name of a person who protected and promoted white supremacy, white power, a Ku Klux Klan mentality, and Nazism — all racist ideologies at their core the same — to remain on the side of a public school building is detrimental to race relations for the city and the nation.
Moreover, it metaphorically replaces the glass ceiling that President Barrack Obama shattered in 2008. Years later, your African-American constituents who attended the school, along with constituents of every ethnicity and from every part of the city, watched an ad hoc committee and TPS school board members vote in favor of preserving and maintaining white supremacist values.
Further, African-American Tulsans will tell themselves and their children that the city of Tulsa and America was never built for them because the city and nation continue to allow schools named after horrific slave owners and Confederate Generals such as Robert E. Lee.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once uttered these profound words: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” I hope you will consider your African-American constituents, who contributed to the reason you’re in office.
Nehemiah D. Frank
Citizen and Small Business Owner