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Governor Stitt on Friday signed a controversial and racist piece of legislation into law preventing the teaching of anti-racism and discouraging sexual diversity training in schools. HB 1775, a bill spurred on by former President Trump and White supremacist groups, allows teachers and school administrators to be penalized for teaching students about systemic racism.
With just weeks until the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, this bill has re-opened deep wounds in Tulsa’s Black community. Many believe the law will make it nearly impossible for the full scope of the massacre to be accurately taught.
Leaders across the city, including the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, urged Stitt to veto the harmful legislation.
Stitt ignores calls to veto HB 1775
The Commission, of which Stitt is a member, issued a statement saying in part:
“HB 1775 would not only interfere with the teaching of Black history, but the entire history of the United States… We must do better for our children, our students and our future.”
The Black Wall Street Times urges the Commission to remove Governor Stitt immediately in light of his decision to sign this damaging bill into law.
Governor uses Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words to justify racist legislation
During a video announcing the signing of HB 1775, Governor Stitt invoked Martin Luther King, Jr. while misrepresenting the facts of the legislation.
Cloaked in a narrative of unity, this bill perpetuates systems of racism, White supremacy and violence against the LGBTQ+ community. It removes the ability for educators to engage in critical conversations around the history of racism in this country and outlaws certain diversity training for teachers.
In the 100 years since the 1921 massacre that destroyed Greenwood and Black Wall Street, state and local governments have consistently attempted to hide our true history.
Bill threatens to limit teaching on Tulsa Race Massacre
It was hidden in the massacre when critical documents and evidence were burned.
It was hidden when stories of survivors were kept from history books and again when justice in the form of convictions and reparations was repeatedly denied.
And it is being hidden today in the form of racist legislation aimed and contorting the truth.
System of racism, as Glenn E. Martin states, “are durable.”
“They tend to reinvent themselves, and they do it right under your nose.”
This is the system reinventing itself.
Not one single Republican representing Tulsa in the state legislature voted against this bill. They, and the Governor, share responsibility in helping this system of racism evolve, grow and expand.
Our students, our families, our community and the ancestors of Greenwood demand better.