Courtesy Tulsa YWCA
The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission (1921 TRMCC) has partnered with YWCA Tulsa and John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park to host the launch event for the centennial anniversary year of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
The event was held on Jan. 1 at John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park located at 302 N. Elgin Ave. in Tulsa. In keeping with Tulsa County Health Department guidance for public gatherings, the event was live-streamed on Facebook.
The community heard from several prominent speakers as they commemorated what took place 100 years ago and called the community to action and engagement with the Centennial Commemorative events for 2021.
Speakers at the event included United States Senator James Lankford; State Senator Kevin Matthews, founder/chair of the 1921 TRMCC; Phil Armstrong, Project Director of the 1921 TRMCC; Onikah Asamoa-Caesar, owner of Fulton Street Books and Coffee; Alfre Woodward, social activist, actress, and Tulsa native; Maggie Hille-Yar, executive director of the Hille Foundation; Julie Davis, executive director YWCA Tulsa
Armstrong, acknowledged the significance of the event.
“This moment is the culmination of an incredible amount of work and community input. To stand at the threshold of 2021 and partner with an organization like the YWCA is a testament to all the collaborative work since the inception of the Centennial Commission in 2015. This event marks the journey as we make our way to the 100th Anniversary of the Massacre and a turning point for racial equity and social justice.”
Matthews, chair of the Tulsa Race Massacre Commission, spoke to how this moment helps the community address race equity. “As we enter the year 2021, the spirit of Black Wall Street is alive and well 100 years after the tragedy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. This year, we are commemorating the tenacity and grit of our ancestors, while crossing over into a cultural and entrepreneurial revival that affirms a triumphant Tulsa. Through the work of the commission and all of our local, regional and national partners, we are committed to honoring our history and working together to pave the way for the next generation of world changers.”
The YWCA is proud to ally with the 1921 TRMCC. YWCA CEO Julie Davis emphasizes, “We are stronger together, and our community needs to reconcile with its past.” She continues, “100 years ago, YWCA Tulsa was providing meals and shelter for the victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Today, we invite the community to remember, engage, and commit to change.”
As part of the Centennial launch, YWCA Tulsa is inviting the people of Tulsa to make a tangible commitment to eliminate racism and work towards reconciliation in 2021. The YWCA campaign, #TulsaTriumphs, will invite people to make commitments on their website at www.YWCA Tulsa.org, and their team will be working to help connect people to events happening with the Centennial, ways to support people and businesses on Black Wall Street and Deep Greenwood, and resources to learn more about the history of the Race Massacre and ways to eliminate racism.