OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Religious and civil rights leaders say it was a historical moment this weekend as protests saw huge numbers turning out, especially on Sunday in NE OKC and at the Capitol.
“A lot of times people get tired, they get tired of injustice. You get tired of being stepped on, of being held down by the neck,” said Marilyn Luper Hildreth.
The daughter of Oklahoma Civil Rights activist Clara Luper says Sunday’s turnout in NE Oklahoma City was born out of frustration, but the voices at the demonstrators were historically diverse.
“All types of people, all religions working together for the good of this state,” said Luper Hildreth.
“I don’t think people really understood the level of pain and drama,” said Pastor Clarence Hill.
The “Stronger Together” leader says seeing the knee on the neck of George Floyd has made the problem real for so many more Oklahomans.
“This was a culminating moment that awakened a whole 20-30 percent more people that were saying ‘hey I want to stand with you now,’ I was just so proud of Oklahoma,” said Hill.
“The feeling of being an Oklahoman yesterday was unimaginable. To see that sea of people of every creed and every color out there yesterday, I mean my heart was over-joyed,” said Lee Roland.
The educator and community leader says seeing the diversity in the crowd on Sunday meant a lot.
“The non-blacks might have exceeded the blacks that were out there. Just feeling like you had somebody else saying you know what because you hurt, I hurt,” said Roland.
And although the people we talked to were encouraged by the turnout and the peaceful protest at the Capitol, they say it’s important to keep moving forward.
“Organize and really get some systematic change, not where it’s anger, it may come from that place, but we have to come to a place of unity,” said Roland
“Things have been moving too slow and now we have a multi-ethnic group that wants to see things move faster,” said Hill.
“Just like the story of the sit-ins, just like the story of the civil rights movement, you just keep fighting,” said Luper Hildreth.