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An organization that spawned out of tragedy looks to build triumphant neighborhoods in marginalized areas as it plans another round of Community Walks on Saturday, July 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. starting at the Greenwood Cultural Center.
The Terence Crutcher Foundation wants volunteers to join its staff as it canvasses communities on Saturday, not to promote a candidate, idea, or product, but rather to listen and learn about the struggles neighbors are facing in an attempt to organize and mobilize community-based solutions.
While the organization has been advocating for the community since 2017, the Community Walks began in October of 2021.
“A lot of times people don’t know the ins and outs of their communities. Community Walks allows folks to be able to come out and see the landscape of Tulsa where they don’t live. To hear from their neighbors about the good and bad things that happen in our neighborhood,” TCF Field Organizer and disabled Veteran Kenneth Brant told The Black Wall Street Times.
“We are going to listen, not to pander, not to profit off of data mining, not to sell someone, not to lift up a politician, but to listen to our community members to get feedback on what’s happening so we can organize around those issues,” he added.
Community Walks seek to support neighbors
Beginning at the Greenwood Cultural Center, volunteers will be provided free breakfast and a brief training ahead of canvassing. No prior experience is needed.
Led by executive director Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, the Terence Crutcher Foundation was birthed out of the tragic and unjust police killing of her unarmed twin brother Terence in 2016. With his car broken down on a rural road, Betty Shelby, a former Tulsa Police Department officer sworn to protect and serve, instead fired bullets at the man while he had his arms in the air.
Despite a jury ruling in the officer’s favor, they also stipulated that Shelby should never act as a police officer again. With no justice served, Terence’s death and Dr. Tiffany Crutcher’s passionate leadership opened up a Pandora’s box of activism and organizing among Black, brown and marginalized people. As a descendant of Black Wall Street victims, Dr. Tiffany Crutcher is leading a movement to reclaim power for the community.
On Saturday, once everyone has received the brief training, the group of volunteer canvassers will be given a list of homes and addresses they can use to survey the neighborhood on their phones in groups of two. Wrapping up around 1:30, the group will return to the Greenwood Cultural Center for lunch and a debrief to discuss what they heard from neighbors.
No issue is too big or small for Terence Crutcher Foundation
Brandon Warren is a policy fellow for the Terence Crutcher Foundation.
“These are issues that immediately affect our neighbors. Maybe there’s something that we can even act on right now that doesn’t need a whole strategy wrapped around it,” Warren told the Black Wall Street Times.
He explained how Community Walks don’t discriminate on any neighbor’s problem, no matter how small it may seem. For instance, Warren said a moment that stuck out to him involved an elderly woman who needed yard work done. The volunteers, out of the kindness of their heart, went and grabbed a lawn mower, cutting her yard on the spot. The woman, according to Warren, was so grateful that she gifted the volunteers with potted plants, a seemingly small gesture that resonated deeply with the canvassers.
“…recognize the plight of our neighbors”
For Kenneth Brant, it’s important to look beyond the surface when talking with neighbors. A memorable moment for him involved a man who was sitting in his car lighting a cigarette.
He was frantically rambling about issues in the neighborhood, such as shootings. As a father of adopted children in a working class neighborhood, the man vented about the lack of police response to shootings in the neighborhood, forcing him to leave work to go home and check on his kids.
“This is where we have to tune into our humanity and recognize the plight of our neighbors,” Brant said. “You might see someone with a mental health issue rambling. What I see is a Black man trying to cope with everything while providing for his family.”
Ultimately, despite receiving negativity from some in Tulsa who are offended by the Terence Crutcher Foundation’s unapologetic and independent fighting for marginalized communities, TCF has no plans of stopping and hopes more volunteers will join them.
To register for Saturday’s Community Walks, click here.
For more information about Saturday’s Community Walk and the Terence Crutcher Foundation, visit their website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.