Ahead of an event marking the 100 years since the Tulsa race massacre, the group tasked with planning the centennial removed the Oklahoma governor from its committee. The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission reached a consensus on the matter, according to local news.
While the commission did not expressly state the reason for his removal, the move comes after Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Oklahoma’s version of Trump’s 1776 misinformation in the form of an anti-critical race theory bill.
Members of the committee urged the governor not to sign the bill. Faith leaders, educators, and other community members reached out to the governor, asking him not to sign the bill.
The Black Wall Street Times editorial board was among those demanding Stitt be removed for his willing participation in making the anti-critical race theory bill a reality. Despite their differences in opinion, the commission was gracious in its statement.
Stitt clearly learned nothing about grace and gratitude. Even after his removal from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission, Stitt learned nothing from the past week. Instead of reflecting on the impact of his decision, Stitt doubled down.
“It is disappointing to see an organization of such importance spend so much effort to sow division based on falsehoods and political rhetoric two weeks before the centennial and a month before the commission is scheduled to sunset,” read a statement from Stitt’s office.
That’s rich coming from someone steeped deep in conservative disinformation and deflection. Dismissing the actual concerns communities had about the passage of HB 1775 is another example of Stitt being out of touch on matters of equity.
Last week Stitt explained his motivation to sign the controversial bill had to do with feelings, not facts. And yet, there is no legitimate public purpose or valid argument to support the passage of laws like Oklahoma’s HB 1775.
The attack on expansive discussions of racial justice and equity predates former President Donald Trump. But his rhetoric and policy framings fanned the flames of this current iteration of revisionist history.
Stitt was given the option to resign earlier in the week. Oklahoma’s News 4 reported the commission sent a letter to Stitt asking him to step down or clarify his intent regarding the commission’s goals.
“The Centennial Commission feels that your signature on the bill at this critical time when Oklahoma should embrace its history is diametrically opposite to the mission of the Centennial Commission and reflects your desire to end your affiliation,” read the statement.
The commission continued to question Stitt’s understanding of reconciliation and restoration given his signing of a bill that promotes an educational environment that avoids both concepts. While Stitt maintains the new law would not prevent teaching about the Tulsa Race Massacre and other events such as the Trail of Tears, the bill could limit the scope and veracity of conversations of these events and others.
The Centennial Commission is moving forward with its work, including the “Remember and Rise” event on May 31, 2021. Check out the full list of events here.