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City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper address the community in a press conference on January 13, 2020, at the steps of Tulsa City Hall. Photography by Nehemiah D. Frank

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By The BWSTimes Editorial Board

For District 1 Tulsa City Councilor, The Black Wall Street Times proudly endorses Vanessa Hall-Harper for reelection, as she clearly demonstrates she is for ALL Tulsans.

Not only is Harper the best representative for Black Tulsans living within her district, but for Black lives dwelling beyond her district’s borders. 

Healthy Foods Advocate

When dollar stores began oversaturating District 1, Harper encouraged other city council members to pass her moratorium on dollar stores. To ensure fresh fruits and vegetables in the North Tulsa community, she formed a partnership with Tulsa Economic Development Corporation to ensure a grocery store north of I-244 be built.

Shows Support for All Tulsans

Harper supports Civil Liberties for all marginalized groups, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. She has attended meetings at the Equality Center to show her support and she understands the need to eradicate racism for the LGBTQ+ community and in the broader sense.

Pro Good Police Officers

Harper is not anti-police as her husband, Sgt. Marcus Harper, has served on the Tulsa Police Department since 1995. She is merely an anti-bad cop activist seeking more accountability from TPD to reprimand officers who commit crimes against citizens.

Advocates for Black lives in Commerce

Harper is not afraid to hold corporations, whose intentions are to build in the north Tulsa community, racially accountable. We can trust that she will advocate for employment on behalf of Black Tulsans who possess the qualifications.

Harper not only is a co-founder of the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce but was instrumental in helping the City of Tulsa create the Greater Tulsa African American Affairs Commission.

Marches with the People

During this current Black Lives Matter movement, we have consistently seen Harper marching in the streets with the people. This showcases that she is one of us. She is unafraid to be on the ground and at the front lines — with her community.

We have not seen her opponent, Jerry Goodwin, marching, nor demanding justice for Black lives publicly.

Harper makes space for the voices of her constituents during city council meetings. Because her opponent continues demonstrating his commitment to order rather than to justice, we cannot trust that he would make space when the buzzer sounds and our strategically shorted-time has ended.

We Do Not Support Political Smear Campaigns

North Tulsa has been divided for too long. 

During last Thursday’s District 1 City Council Forum, Goodwin began the program negatively. He verbally attacked Harper in a setting where he was simply invited to share his political platform on how he’d improve District 1. After his portion of the broadcast ended, Goodwin continued smearing Harper by publishing a digital flyer-ad via social media. The flyer is similar to another flyer that targeted District 4 City Councilor Kara Joy McKee. Both Harper and McKee have demonstrated the need for police reform — oversight and accountability, which we can assume the reason for their attack ads.

Mr. Goodwin’s acumen and accomplished are undoubtedly noteworthy and we do not doubt his heart for North Tulsa. However, the manner in which he has chosen to run this campaign against an accomplished, passionate sitting councilor, we found his behavior alarming, both for our Editorial Board and for many Tulsa residents.

The vicious and misleading attacks promoted by his campaign simply cannot become the norm when all of our Black lives are continuously under attack.

Beonna Taylor, a Black woman killed in Louisville, Kentucky
George Floyd, a Black father killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Summer Taylor, a Black nonbinary person killed in Seattle, Washington
Terence Crutcher, a Black father and twin brother killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Secoriea Turner, a Black 8-year-old killed in Atlanta, Georgia
____________, a Black person killed in America

Hence, Black people cannot be the public echo chambers of white supremacy, especially during such turbulent times.

Any candidate hoping to be the representative for North Tulsa should stand on their merits and their vision for our city rather than resorting to Trump-style attacks.

In this trying time, and historically, it has been Black women who continue to demonstrate the political strength needed to change this country. They have always been at the forefront of political change in America since its conception.

The Tulsa City Council election will be held next Tuesday, August 25, 2020, from 7 AM to 7 PM along with the mayoral race. VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...