TULSA, Okla. – Oklahoma State University-Tulsa has launched the Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation at OSU-Tulsa, a new community-focused center with a mission to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism and to bring about transformational and sustainable change.
OSU-Tulsa is celebrating the launch with a Facebook live virtual panel discussion on May 6 at 11:30 a.m. on OSU-Tulsa’s Facebook page. The panel will talk in-depth about the mission and initiatives of the center as well as discuss their participation in the Association of American Colleges and Universities 2020 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Centers.
The Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) at OSU-Tulsa is part of a nationwide, community-based initiative by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Each national TRHT center focuses on topics of racial equity specific to their location.
“There is a Renaissance-like energy awakening in Greenwood,” said Quraysh Ali Lansana, the center’s acting director. “We want to match the energy of other centers we work alongside, such as the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation and the Greenwood Cultural Center, and work together to amplify truth, healing and change.”
The OSU-Tulsa campus is located in Tulsa’s Greenwood district, the historic home of Black Wall Street and the events of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The district exists on the boundaries of Creek, Cherokee and Osage Nation land. The center is designed to acknowledge and honor the history of the land OSU-Tulsa calls home while helping shape an informed and equitable future.
“I strongly believe we have a special, ethical responsibility to educate about the history of Greenwood, about civil rights and about the need to work toward racial and social justice given our campus resides on an extremely important portion of land,” said Pamela Fry, president of OSU-Tulsa.
The center will engage with community stakeholders to create programming and initiatives that benefit Tulsa, particularly north Tulsa, and the OSU-Tulsa campus community. Several Tulsa organizations, including the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s Mosaic group, have already participated in the center’s Rx Racial Healing Circles, where trained facilitators encourage discussions about experiences with race and conscious and unconscious biases.
Among the center’s inaugural events is a panel discussion on Facebook Live for National Poetry Month in partnership with the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa.“How Poetry Elevates Marginalized Voices” will take place at noon on April 21 on OSU-Tulsa’s Facebook page.
A community advisory board provides input and guidance to the Center for TRHT at OSU-Tulsa.
“TRHT will play a critical role working in synergy with other initiatives and organizations focused on justice and racial equity in our city,” said Carlisha Williams Bradley, executive director of Impact Tulsa and member of the TRHT Advisory Council. “I look forward to the institute’s community-driven model to confront injustice, unveil truths, and take actions for racial equity that will drive systemic change.”
“We’re here to listen deeply and act positively,” Lansana said. “We’re driven to tell the truth of our institutional and neighborhood histories and honor the stories of the people who gather here.”
This function of the center is conducted with the goal of welcoming and including all students, faculty, staff and community as well as creating a space for all ideas.
The center works closely with other OSU-Tulsa entities and initiatives such as its Center for Public Life and student organizations.
For more information on the center’s purpose and initiatives, watch the live virtual launch event on OSU-Tulsa’s Facebook page on May 6 at 11:30 a.m., or visit the center’s page on the OSU-Tulsa website.
Oklahoma State University-Tulsa is the metropolitan branch campus of a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. Founded in 1999, OSU-Tulsa’s downtown campus offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs and graduate certificates geared toward working adults. For more information on OSU-Tulsa, visit tulsa.okstate.edu.