In The Know: Greenwood Rising history center dedicated | Tulsa council apologizes for Tulsa Race Massacre | Cemetery search resumes

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial News

Centennial Commission dedicates Tulsa’s Greenwood Rising museum: The dedication of Greenwood Rising may coincide with the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, but the brand new history center will give visitors a broader view of what came before and after and also what is still possible in the future. The $18.2 million legacy project of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission was funded with local and state dollars and private donations and will open to the general public in July. [Tulsa World] | [The Oklahoman] | [Video / The Oklahoman

Cemetery search resumes for victims of Tulsa Race Massacre: The City of Tulsa resumed its search Wednesday of a cemetery for possible victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Crews worked to define the boundaries of a mass-grave feature that was discovered in October at the Oaklawn Cemetery. State archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck said crews were able to locate three of the four corners of the mass-grave feature, giving searchers an overall sense of its dimensions. [AP News]

  • City of Tulsa Council approves resolution apologizing for Tulsa Race Massacre, committing to tangible amends [Tulsa World] | [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Community retraces route survivors took to flee from Tulsa Race Massacre (video) [The Oklahoman]
  • First lady partners with Museum of the Bible to restore historic book for Tulsa church [The Oklahoman]

Attorneys for survivors of Tulsa Race Massacre hold press conference in Greenwood: Attorneys for the survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre held a press conference Wednesday morning. The event was held at the Greenwood Cultural Center, the same facility that hosted President Joe Biden Tuesday. During the president’s visit, there was no mention of reparations for victims of the attack on Greenwood 100 years ago. Attorneys for the survivors are currently involved in a landmark reparations lawsuit against the city of Tulsa and other entities. [The Oklahoman]

  • Legal team for survivors and descendants of Tulsa Race Massacre renew call for reparations [Black Wall Street Times]
  • Biden visits site of Tulsa massacre a century later. ‘While darkness can hide much, it erases nothing.’ [New York Times]
  • In Tulsa, Biden implores Americans to confront past and help communities of color move forward [KGOU]

State Government News

Supreme Court strikes down Stitt’s privatized managed care Medicaid plan: In a 6-3 decision Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court invalidated Gov. Kevin Stitt’s plan to move part of the state’s Medicaid program to a managed care model administered through private companies because justices said it did not receive required legislative approval. [NonDoc] The court also determined a constitutional amendment approved by voters last year to expand Medicaid to more low-income people also did not authorize a new managed-care program like SoonerSelect. [AP News] The program was set to start in October and would have been run by private companies. [KOCO]  It’s unclear for now what effect this will have on the managed care plan’s implementation and on the insurance companies that have already secured contracts for services. [KGOU] | [Pubic Radio Tulsa]

  • Oklahoma state, medical leaders discuss next steps after Governor’s attempt to privatize Medicaid ruled unconstitutional [KFOR]
  • Nearly 200,000 Oklahomans can now enroll for Medicaid [KGOU]

Stitt cabinet member plans to sue former attorney general: A member of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cabinet said Wednesday he plans to sue former Attorney General Mike Hunter over a felony bribery charge that Hunter’s office filed against him, then later dropped. Stitt’s Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration David Ostrowe and his attorney, Matt Felty, allege Hunter abused his power by filing frivolous charges against Ostrowe to settle a political score. [AP News] In a news conference, Ostrowe and his attorney, Matt Felty, alleged the indictment from the state’s multicounty grand jury was politically motivated, although they did not provide specifics of what they believed to be Hunter’s intent. [The Oklahoman] Hunter resigned effective Tuesday and dismissed an attempted bribery charge against Ostrowe brought by the multicounty grand jury that Hunter oversaw. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma governor’s chief operating officer to step down: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that his chief operating officer, John Budd, will step down effective July 2. Budd was the state’s first COO and a member of Stitt’s cabinet since he took office. [AP News] John Budd, Oklahoma’s first chief operating officer — a position created by the governor, played a key role in the state’s COVID-19 response and helped implement Stitt’s vision for streamlining state government and improving how agencies deliver services. [The Oklahoman]

The NCAA threatened states over anti-transgender bills. But the games went on: In the deep-red state of Oklahoma, civil rights advocates are used to finding themselves nearly powerless to combat legislation targeting LGBTQ people. Sometimes, they say, all they can do is hold their breath and wait to see what happens. But this year, amid a torrent of anti-transgender legislation sweeping through Republican-controlled statehouses, advocates in Oklahoma found what they believed was a powerful ally: the NCAA. [The Washington Post]

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services works to empower students with disabilities: This summer, a state agency is offering two programs to help students and young adults with disabilities. The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services told News 9 the need is bigger than many of us realize. State officials said according to data from the Census, 1 in every 6 Oklahomans has a disability. [News 9]

Oklahoma treasurer says he won’t seek re-election in 2022: Oklahoma Treasurer Randy McDaniel says he won’t seek re-election in 2022. The first-term Republican said in a statement Tuesday that with his children in middle school, he plans to focus on his family instead of a statewide campaign. [AP News]

California-grown marijuana discovery sparks wide-ranging investigation into Oklahoma dispensaries: Authorities are investigating the illegal sale of marijuana grown out of state and resold in Oklahoma dispensaries. The investigation was launched May 26 after Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agents made a traffic stop on Interstate 40 and a K-9 unit found evidence that the driver and passenger were allegedly bringing California-grown marijuana into Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman

Health News

Oklahoma paid for more addiction treatment and providers say its saving lives: Addiction is time sensitive. Donna Woods says when someone comes to her ready for help she has to act fast. “There’s a very small window when a person says, ‘I need help,’ Woods said. “If there’s not a bed for them, 99% of the time they’re going to go back out to do what they know and that’s using – whether it be drugs or alcohol.” [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Oklahomans we’ve lost: A child care advocate who focused on families in need: Kathy Cronemiller had a heart for children but she also recognized the needs of parents, especially those who lacked access to affordable high-quality care. “The retail industry has changed,” Cronemiller said during a 2017 interview as she explained why she saw the need to open a childcare center that was open 24 hours a day. [The Frontier]

State officials say new public health lab in Stillwater is on track: State officials said Tuesday they are on track to have Oklahoma’s new public health lab in Stillwater fully operational by October. Newborn screening and COVID-19 sequencing are now being done there. Newborn screening tests had been outsourced to a Pennsylvania lab, while COVID sequencing remained in Oklahoma City. [Public Radio Tulsa]

OSDH to begin statewide text message campaign for COVID-19 vaccine: Oklahoma State Department of Health plans to start a statewide texting campaign to reach Oklahomans with information about the COVID-19 vaccine. Texts will be sent to residents in areas across the state that have seen lower vaccination uptake rates. A series of three messages will be sent two to three days following the dates June 4, 9 and 15, according to the OSDH. [Enid News & Eagle]

Criminal Justice News

Opinion: Oklahoma Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issues advisory memorandum on racial disparities in policing on centennial of Tulsa Race Massacre: Black residents of Oklahoma and other communities of color lack trust in law enforcement to a much greater degree than white residents. The Oklahoma Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently released a report calling on federal, state, and local officials to take steps to eliminate this disparity. [Op-Ed / Tulsa World]

Admitted serial killer William Lewis Reece gets death sentence at Oklahoma trial: A jury has decided admitted serial killer William Lewis Reece should be executed for strangling to death a 19-year-old newlywed more than two decades ago. [The Oklahoman]

Economic Opportunity

Revitalize T-Town aids disabled homeowner, launches first fundraising event to support low-income households: A Tulsa nonprofit benefiting low-income homeowners provided critical home repairs for a north Tulsa resident Wednesday as it prepares to launch its first community fundraiser. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Union Coalition: Amazon on top for injured workers, even in Tulsa: According an article published in The Washington Post yesterday, workers in Amazon warehouses are injured at nearly double the rate as workers in other warehouse jobs. The Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of labor unions, contributed data to the article and says Tulsa also has a high injury rate. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Education News

Tulsa Public Schools to drop charter funding lawsuit: Tulsa Public Schools is dropping its lawsuit against the State Board of Education over a controversial proposed settlement. At a special meeting Wednesday afternoon, the board voted unanimously without debate or discussion to authorize its attorneys to file a motion to dismiss its claim in Tulsa County District Court against the State Board of Education for that board’s March 25 vote to settle a 2017 lawsuit over charter school funding. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • June 8 special election includes school bond issues, municipal propositions [NonDoc]
  • Pride Month kickoff celebration recalls the story, points to future [OKC Free Press]
  • Town hall for congressional redistricting process set in Lawton July 29 [The Lawton Constitution]

Quote of the Day

“It is not a reparations proposal. It’s about equity. The resolution is solely a vehicle to create infrastructures for good policies that will benefit Tulsa citizens who are and have been the most adversely affected from long-term systemic racism.”

-Tulsa City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper speaking about the Tulsa City Council’s non-binding resolution apologizing for the Tulsa Race Massacre and committing to make tangible amends [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Number of businesses — including solo-practice lawyers and doctors, a library, two schools, and a hospital — in Tulsa’s Greenwood area prior to the Tulsa Race Massacre

[Source: Harvard University]

Policy Note

The Destruction of Black Wall Street: Tulsa’s 1921 Riot and the Eradication of Accumulated Wealth: The Tulsa Race Massacre was one of the most destructive riots in American history. The attack by white citizens on a flourishing black neighborhood not only resulted in mass casualties, but it destroyed nearly all of the Black businesses and churches, as well as many residential properties. The economic prosperity of Greenwood was literally obliterated overnight. The Greenwood community was perceived as a threat to white hegemony. The riot and its aftermath served to effectively impede Black prosperity. The city of Tulsa provided very little monetary assistance following the event. Greenwood residents attempted to rebuild following the destruction, but the community never regained the same economic standing. The Tulsa Race Massacre was one of many examples of racial violence during the early part of the 20th century that had long-lasting economic and social legacies for Blacks. [The American Journal of Economic and Sociology]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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