OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The remaining survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre were at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Thursday for an interim study by the Oklahoma House of Representatives’ General Government Committee, reviewing the updated status and progress on the 2001 Tulsa Race “Riot” (Massacre) Commission Report recommendations.
The report was commissioned by the Oklahoma State Legislature in 2001, with the following recommendations:
- Direct payment of reparations to survivors and descendants of the Tulsa Race Massacre
- Scholarship program
- Economic Development in the historic Greenwood District
- A memorial for reburial of human remains in unmarked, mass graves for massacre victims
But 22 years after the original report, many feel not enough progress has been made to further the proposed recommendations, including financial compensation for the victims.
“Ms. Viola Fletcher is 109…Ms. Lessie Randle is 108. They really do have an undying sense of right and wrong and they have not seen justice , and they’re simply asking for something that should have been delivered 102 years ago,” said Representative Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa.
According to the 2001 bipartisan report about the event, Greenwood land and business owners suffered a significant financial loss following the Massacre.
However, insurance claims were not paid out, leading to a loss of generational wealth for much of Black Tulsa.
“We have paid reparations to Native American tribes, Alaskan natives, Hawaiian natives to Japanese. It was alright to use tax dollars then so why can’t we use them now for African American reparations,” said Dr. Vivian Clark, Commissioner.
The original commissioners of the report said the people of Greenwood were law abiding citizens who were not protected.
“It’s not just about financial compensation. its an acknowledgment of our communities collective pain,” added Attorney Jim Lloyd.
But, efforts towards reparations across the state have not yet been successful.
In July, a Tulsa County District Judge dismissed a would be historic reparations case.
“The largest terrorist attack in the history of this country happened right in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We should come together as a state and provide the resources that they need. The state can do it. The state should do it,” said Damario Solomon-Simmons, attorney for the survivors.
For Rep. Goodwin, a descendant of Massacre survivors whose district includes the historic Greenwood, the path forward is simple.
“You just have to have the right heart. You have to have the right love, and we got to have the right policy. Let’s just do the right thing. We got the money,” she said.
Damario Solomon-Simmons said the group is appealing a decision to dismiss their reparations case with the Oklahoma Supreme Court.