Published 12/17/2019 | Reading Time 1 min 30 sec
By BWST Editorial Board
The Black Wall Street Times Editorial Board joins elected officials, organizations and citizens across Tulsa in calling on city leaders to engage in a “transparent, time-bound and participatory process” for the selection of a new Chief of Police. We urge all of our readers to do the same by reading and signing onto the letter here.
Over the course of the last year, citizens of Tulsa have fought for the creation of public meetings around racial disparities in our city’s criminal justice system. In March, hundreds of people effectively shut down city hall after months of meetings to demand the meetings take place.
Over the summer, Tulsans were consistent in carving time out of their days to attend those public meetings and corresponding listening sessions; diligent in their push to ensure that the stories of those most affected by the racial disparities were heard and that officials intentionally sought answers and solutions to address them.
Community members again organized and fought to engage the council and the mayor in developing and passing a strong system of oversight for the Tulsa Police Department in an attempt to drive toward real reform.
Throughout the entirety of this process, it has been our community members – specifically Tulsa’s Black and brown citizens – who have put themselves on the line, re-lived their trauma and fought tirelessly to change a system that has always been designed to go against them.
In arguably the most monumental hiring decision of his time in office thus far, Mayor Bynum must actively and intentionally involve our community members most disproportionately impacted by racial bias in policing practices to have a seat at the table and a clear voice in this selection process.
As our North Tulsa elected officials stated in their unified letter to Mayor Bynum, “we share your commitment to making Tulsa a world-class city because the power and humanity of our constituents — and their ancestors who built and rebuilt the thriving Greenwood and Black Wall Street community— deserve nothing less.”
We urge the mayor to match his words of prioritizing a restoration of trust between the city government and Tulsa’s Black community into action in this critical moment.
You can read and sign the letter calling for community involvement in the selection process by going to bit.ly/tpdchief.