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GREENWOOD Dist.–Flourish, an Oklahoma City organization deeply rooted in faith, has embarked on a new and noteworthy initiative called Mend. This initiative, approached through a biblical lens, aims to address the pressing issue of racial injustice within their community.
Specifically targeting white individuals of faith, Mend strives to broaden their perspective on historical racial injustices and foster a commitment to repair and justice
The inaugural step of this initiative involved a visit to Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District, where participants were immersed in the profound and tragic history of the Tulsa Race Massacre and its enduring impact on the Black community.
Cece Jones-Davis, a Minister of Social Activists working closely with Flourish Mend, expressed her hopes for this initial gathering, emphasizing the importance of education and truth-telling as transformative tools. Jones-Davis remarked, “This is our first gathering and it’s about educating this group in hopes that they will be a core group that will spread information and help other people come into the truth and truth telling.”
She firmly believes that acknowledging and amplifying Black voices, which have historically been suppressed, is pivotal to their journey.
Flourish Mend tours Black Wall Street and Greenwood
During their visit to The Black Wall Street Times, an integral part of the Mend tour, Davis stressed the significance of education in understanding present-day racial injustices. She emphasized the need for individuals of all races and backgrounds to acquaint themselves with historical racial injustices as a fundamental prerequisite for genuine comprehension.
Davis expanded, stating, “What we are seeking to do is to root people in the truth, which takes a lot of time and education. We are here in Tulsa on a retreat with a group of people that want to know more and do more but don’t necessarily have the answers.”
Recognizing that the path to racial repair is lengthy and complex, Davis maintains that faith and education serve as crucial initial steps. She explained, “We have come together this weekend to talk about what truth telling looks like and means. What repair looks like and models. All of that in light of Oklahoma’s specific history.”
Davis shared that since the initiative is brand new and her journey with this group has only just begun, its future trajectory remains uncertain. Nevertheless, she is grounded by their unwavering dedication.“We believe that you can not have peace without justice. Peace building is messy work, but we are committed to that messy work and will show up for it,” Davis said.
An “answered prayer”
Antoinette Jones, the sister of Julius Jones, a former death row prisoner, expressed profound gratitude for the impactful work that Flourish Mend is doing for the community. Julius Jones, who was charged and arrested for the murder of Paul Howell, has spent over two decades on death row, consistently maintaining his innocence.
His execution was originally scheduled for November 2021 but he was granted clemency and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Antoinette Jones has devoted her life to advocating for justice and freedom for her brother.
Antoinette Jones shared the challenges she has faced in her fight for her brother’s freedom, which often pushed her beyond her comfort zone, compelling her to engage in activities she never thought herself capable of, such as public speaking.
She recounted moments of loss and despair when she prayed to God for the strength to endure. Jones expressed that she believes the Flourish Mend initiative is a sign from God. “It is an answered prayer honestly,” Jones said.
She feels that it has been comforting and inspiring to learn about Flourish Mend’s mission because it has further motivated her to continue fighting for racial justice. “The more I am around people who I have prayed and asked God for, it makes me feel so good on the inside that there are people in our community that are wanting to repair,” Jones said.
Davis stressed the necessity of collective action in enacting meaningful change, asserting, “It doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen with one or two people.” This message resonates deeply with Jones, given her experience fighting for her brother’s freedom.
She passionately declared, “I know for a fact that it takes us all to do this. If six million people wouldn’t have signed the petition and shared it to continue to speak about the injustice of my brother he would have been executed.”
Jones firmly believes that the Flourish Mend initiative represents God’s work in repairing racial injustices in Oklahoma. “It hits home being a child of God. It centers me the more that I do this work,” Jones remarked.