By: Nate Morris, senior editor TULSA, OK – For nearly ninety minutes, a packed room at the Tulsa Public Schools Education Service Center sat at rapt attention as speaker after speaker approached […]
Oklahoma has surpassed Louisiana to become the incarceration capitol of the world earlier this year. Studies have shown that suspending students out of school leads to negative educational outcome and a higher likelihood of entering the criminal justice system.
Without partnership schools like Greenwood Leadership Academy, some African American students could end up back in low performing schools that surround Greenwood Leadership Academy. These students, especially African American students, have a higher probability of landing on the infamous school-to-prison pipeline at a lower performing school. Oklahoma currently ranks at the top in the nation for incarceration.
Last week I had the privilege of sitting down with a board member who voted in favor of keeping the name out of respect for the individuals who live in the Lee District. It was one of the best conversations I have ever had in my life. We approached one another as human beings. I sat at a table across from an American who looked different from me and allowed myself to become vulnerable with the hope of reaching the heart.
The ramifications in allowing the name of a person who protected and promoted white supremacy, white power, a Ku Klux Klan mentality, and Nazism — all racist ideologies at their core the same — to remain on the side of a public school building is detrimental to race relations for the city and the nation.
We must work together to research and explore the possibilities available. We have to be willing to open our hearts and minds to new ways of learning, experiencing life and developing skills in untraditional ways. Yes, it’s okay to do that.
I noticed that I was not alone. This year, I saw much more attention being paid by my White friends and colleagues to the concept of the “White moderate” that Dr. King expressed in “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.”