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GREENWOOD DIST. — Nearly two years after the Tulsa City Council passed a resolution apologizing for the city’s role in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, conversations around repair are set to begin.
Last March, the city agreed to contract with Standpipe Hill Strategies and World Won Development to conduct community listening sessions. Next, month, those listening sessions will finally begin across the city.
The first community conversation will take place at the 36th Street North Event Center from 6-8 p.m. on April 11th.
Two nights later on April 13th, another conversation is scheduled at the Tulsa Community College southeast campus.
On May 30th, the third conversation will take place again at the 36th St. Event Center from 6-8 p.m. The final event will take place from 6-8 p.m. on June 13th at the Greenwood Cultural Center.
Greg Robinson, the founder of Standpipe Hill Strategies, told The BWSTimes his organization is putting on the community events “pro-bono”.
“All finances are being collected and disseminated through a community-based non-profit and are being used to put on the sessions,” Robinson said.
“Beyond Apology” community conversations will serve to help guide city decisions on reparations for the 1921 Massacre
Additionally, Robinson stressed that these four sessions will be a conversation about making amends. “Beyond Apology is not a debate space on the merits of reparations,” he stated.
“This is in honor and service to long overdue justice for the survivors and descendants of the Tulsa Race Massacre,” he continued. “The sessions will support the gathering of perspectives about what reparative work city leaders should prioritize.”
Along with the community conversations, the city council will also develop a working group. While the council is not required to make any specific recommendation, the working group will utilize community voices captured from these conversations and research from reparations efforts around the world to learn about best practices.
The original commission report on the 1921 Race Massacre put forth multiple recommendations for making amends. These include everything from direct cash payments, to scholarships, to tax incentives and more.
However, it will ultimately be the responsibility of the council and the mayor to determine what steps the city will take to repair the damage done by its role in the massacre.
That’s why, for Robinson, it’s crucial community members show up to lend their voice to the conversation.
“All is welcome,” he said.