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By The Editorial Board
As the reach and influence of The Black Wall Street Times continues to expand, the publication recognizes its responsibility to begin judiciously and thoughtfully endorsing candidates who seek to serve all Tulsans and who pledge to be catalysts for dismantling a long-standing system of oppression.
Recently, the editorial board met to build out a fair and effective system for making political endorsements. The decision of the board was to wait until the August municipal election to begin making declarations of support for local candidates, as the pool for the June primary is vast.
However, as the board reviewed the various candidates, it felt as though it would be remiss to not decisively weigh in on three particular races:
- State Representative, District 66 (Democratic Primary)
- State Representative, District 72 (Democratic Primary)
- State Representative, District 77 (Democratic Primary)
After much reflection and consideration, the board is honored and excited to make the following endorsements:
Angela Graham for State Representative, District 66
Angela Graham is an active community leader, organizer and champion for social and economic justice in Sand Springs and the greater Tulsa area. As a teacher and a single mother, Angela understands firsthand the challenges that many in our community face. Her progressive stances on issues of criminal justice reform, education funding and healthcare reform are both refreshing and inspiring.
Perhaps most importantly, Angela is one of few candidates in the state running on a platform of workers’ rights, vowing to fight to raise families out of poverty across Oklahoma by raising the minimum wage, and empowering labor unions. While her opponent in the primary is undoubtedly a good man with a passion for service, Angela’s compassion for her community, her track record of activism and her unending desire to fight for those who have gone unheard undoubtedly make her the right choice to represent Sand Springs and west Tulsa at the Oklahoma state capitol.
Monroe Nichols for State Representative, District 72
Since entering office two years ago, Monroe Nichols has been an unwavering force for progressivism in our state. He has worked tirelessly to craft bold, bipartisan solutions to long-standing problems. Monroe has also been consistently active in the fight for education funding, both at the capitol and in schools across the city of Tulsa rather than just in his district.
Representative Nichols does not lead from a distance. He is present, he is known, he is available, he is consistent and, above all else, he is an active member of the community. Monroe has a proven track record of success both in and outside of the capitol. He displays an ability to bring individuals together to find thoughtful solutions and to make life better for the people of Tulsa and Owasso.
Oklahoma is lucky to have him, and we can say with certainty that no other candidate in the race could bring the level of skill, knowledge or passion for the work that Monroe brings. He is the right choice, he is the clear choice, and we urge the people of District 72 to re-elect Monroe Nichols to represent them in the State House.
Shay White for State Representative, District 77
State House District 77, covering parts of North and East Tulsa, has been fortunate to have strong and thoughtful representation from Democrat Eric Proctor for the past twelve years. As his seat will soon become vacant due to term limits, Tulsans deserve to have that quality representation continue in the Capitol.
Two outstanding candidates are running for the Democratic nomination for District 77; Shay White and John Waldron. Both have been vocal advocates for education, social justice and governmental reform, and we believe both would serve to represent the district extraordinarily well at the Capitol.
In this race, however, one candidate in particular stands out to us as a model of grassroots, engaged citizenship: Shay White.
Shay is deeply invested in the District 77 community. For years, she has been a visible, vocal and fierce advocate for social justice and reforms at community forums, city hall and school board meetings, protests and advocacy events, neighborhood organizing efforts, and more. As a social worker, Shay understands firsthand the ways in which our state government has failed our children, our teachers, our elders, and our working class citizens. Shay is consistently present and operates with a level tenacity, grit, empathy and compassion that will make her a force in the state legislature. She has a bold, unifying vision for Oklahoma and strives to continue her work of being a consistent voice of the unheard in the House chamber.
Additionally, because we believe at our core that “access is the new civil right,” we are also unwavering in our belief that representation matters. If elected, Shay would be the first woman and the first black elected official ever to represent District 77. She would also be one of two black women currently serving in the Oklahoma state house and would be the youngest woman of color ever elected to the governing body.
The people of District 77 have two strong candidates in this race for the Democratic nomination. But with one candidate in particular, they have the chance to make history.
Voters in the district have the opportunity on Tuesday to nominate a candidate who can embolden a movement to shift the political landscape of Oklahoma: in who our representatives are, in the lived experience that they bring with them to the capitol and in the progressive reforms they choose to champion on behalf of all Oklahomans.
That candidate is Shay White, and we believe she has earned your vote.