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At a press conference Wednesday morning the legal team for the three last know living survivors as well as the descendants of the Tulsa Race Massacre, led by attorney Demario Solomon-Simmons, renewed their call for reparations and justice for Greenwood.
“We will not accept any empty resolutions. We will not accept any empty rhetoric, empty promises. We need to see justice. These people [who committed the massacre] were acting under the authority and direction of the city [of Tulsa]” said Solomon-Simmons.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum has come under increased scrutiny this past week as The Black Wall Street Times Editor-in-Chief Nehemiah D. Frank revealed in an MSNBC interview that he was a descendant of a family who enslaved nearly 1,000 Black people. In the interview Bynum reiterated his stance that he is against reparations of cash payments, even though his family lineage’s wealth can be traced back to enslaving Africans. Bynum has long claimed that direct cash payments would not solve inequities within the city.
City aided and abetted in crime
The fact that the massacre was called a riot was an intentional move perpetuated by the City of Tulsa and insurance companies so that the thousands of homes, hundreds of businesses, and hundreds of lives lost would not be able to be claimed through insurance.
The City of Tulsa played a pivotal role in the destruction of Greenwood, which is why the legal team has pointed a lawsuit at the city.
“The white mob was acting within the scope of the employment of the city. They were criminals, but legally they were doing what they were told by the city,” Solomon-Simmons reiterated.
Wednesday evening, Tulsa’s city council is voting on a resolution to acknowledge the horrors of the massacre and the inequities that ensued. The resolution does not ensure reparations, but seeks to provide a framework for community input as a means of “making amends” for the harm endured by Tulsa’s Black community.
City to vote on resolution
The resolution also apologizes for the acts of terror committed by the city’s White residents. However, it does not go so far as to acknowledge the city’s actions or culpability in the massacre itself.
If passed, the council will have six months to begin engaging in a process of community listening sessions in order to build out recommendations for reform and repair.
“Making amends for such a terrible event is a complicated process,” Counselor Kara Joy McKee said in a public Facebook post. “Passing this resolution launches a community effort that will go far beyond anything Tulsa has done before.”
It will be incumbent upon every Tulsa citizen to continue pushing and fighting beyond tonight to ensure Greenwood receives justice.