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A team of teenagers, dubbed the Black “Justice League”, traveled to the Oklahoma State Capitol on Tuesday to lobby lawmakers for solutions impacting marginalized communities.
Dressed in Black, and part of the Terence Crutcher Foundation’s Youth Justice Fellowship, the group unapologetically pushed for better conditions in the state as part of TCF’s Project Lead.
“Our students studied several bills introduced by Oklahoma Legislators this session and was well prepared to make their case for CHANGE in Oklahoma around teacher pay, gun control, and reforming prison sentences,” Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, executive director of TCF, posted to Facebook on Tuesday night. “All I can say is WOW!! They truly represented our community well!”
Black “Justice League” demands change from legislators
Trained by nationally recognized community organizer and Tulsa native Greg Robinson II, the teenagers experienced the power of utilizing their voice in a building that often produces legislation harmful to Black and marginalized communities.
Oklahoma legislators are wrapping up the session for the 59th Legislature. The political season has been dominated by bills targeting LBTQ+ persons and attacks on diversity, equity and inclusion. Meanwhile, in the final days of the session, lawmakers in the Republican-controlled legislature have appeared to finalize an agreement on an education package. It would both expands funding to public schools and siphons some funds toward private education, according to NonDoc.
In addition, the proposal includes a $3,000 – $6,000 teacher pay raise and funding for more school resource officers.
“Project LEAD powered by the Terence Crutcher Foundation commenced nearly a year long “Youth Justice Fellowship” that taught Tulsa high school students the principles of POWER, ORGANIZING, STORYTELLING, AND LEADERSHIP,” Dr. Crutcher posted.
In a state that has succeeded in stifling discussions around race in the classroom and that continues to disproportionately target Black Oklahomans in the criminal legal system, the young teenagers of the Black “justice league” represent a new generation eager to create a more equitable society.
“To top the day off Kevin Perry with 105.3 KJamz gifted our students with tickets to the Lizzo concert this weekend for all of their hard work,” Dr. Crutcher said.