Published 10/12/2020 | Reading Time 1 min 45 sec
By BWSTimes Staff
TULSA, Okla. — Activists from the Tulsa community participated in an act of civil disobedience this past Saturday. The bright yellow letters “BLM” were painted in front of city hall – a symbolic act in response to the Tulsa City Council and Tulsa mayor choosing to remove the iconic Black Lives Matter street mural from Greenwood Ave. last Monday.
The art installation was executed by a group of activists who had branched off from the “Good Trouble” Black Lives Matter rally held earlier that morning at the Center of the Universe.
Within moments of police arriving on the scene, three of the peaceful protesters were arrested for standing in the street Charges for the protestors range from jaywalking to vandalism. The City of Tulsa responded rapidly, power washing the mural from 2nd street within an hour. TPD is currently looking for more painters involved in Saturday’s activation.
Tulsa made headlines earlier last week when it became the only city in the US to choose to remove a Black Lives Matter street mural. Mayor GT Bynum has been accused of not advocating enough for the equality of Black Tulsans. When given the chance to be an anti-racist, Bynum chose law and order allowing the Greenwood mural to be removed. This past June, Bynum hosted a Trump rally at the BOK Center amid a global pandemic and during Juneteenth weekend, which is when the mural was installed on Greenwood Ave.
Greenwood Ave. is not just any street. Dubbed the Black Wall Street of America by Booker T. Washington, it is also the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. From May 31 to June 1, 1921, a White mob destroyed the Greenwood community and massacred upwards of 300 Black residents. None of the White mob members were arrested nor held accountable for the Black murder victims nor for the property damage they caused in the Greenwood District.
“Watching the City of Tulsa crumbling the Black Lives Matter mural on historic Greenwood Ave. was a painful reminder for many Black locals and descendants of Greenwood that the City of Tulsa continues to project anti-Blackness and white supremacy,” Nehemiah D. Frank, founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Wall Street Times said.
Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, a respected community leader, posted on Instagram:
“Demonstrators in Tulsa, OK painted a BLM mural in front of City Hall….to protest systemic racism and the removal of the Black Lives Matter mural by the City of Tulsa from Black Wall Street (Greenwood)…I fully support the reason WHY this act of civil disobedience occurred. I’m also triggered by how the Mayor and City of Tulsa will use resources to protect and secure streets from being painted with the message Black Lives Matter but not have resources in the budget to protect Black Lives in Tulsa or invest in Mental Health and diversion programs. I’m triggered by the Mayor’s statement vowing to hold vandals accountable for putting paint on a street, but he can’t hold the entities accountable for vandalizing, burning, stealing, looting, an entire Black Community in 1921, stating that reparations would be too divisive. This same Mayor, (against CDC guidelines) invited Donald Trump to Tulsa for an indoor rally, no masks, put workers at risk, our COVID19 numbers spiked, people died, Trump Supporters left trash, and the City had to clean it up. The hypocrisy in this city along with the inequitable treatment of Black people is unbelievable. Tulsa we must do better!
Since the mural was destroyed, residents and churches around the city have painted Black Lives Matter murals on their personal properties to show solidarity for those fighting for racial justice.