In The Know: Tulsa emerges from weekend without major incident following rally, protests; Juneteenth Celebrations held; and more

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.

New from OK Policy

How Managed Care Organizations work — and potentially reduce health care services for Oklahomans: Just because managed care failed then does not mean it will always fail. It may have been structured poorly. On the other hand, there is no free lunch. To provide health care to Medicaid recipients at the current cost to the state, plus make a profit for the MCO, either provider rates, services or administrative costs will have to be cut. OHCA administrative costs are remarkably low and would be hard to beat. That leaves lower provider rates or less health care services. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Community Conversation provides opportunity for growth (video): The City of Lawton, Thick Descriptions, and Together Oklahoma helped facilitate a community conversation in Lawton about racial issues as a follow up to a protest against racism a few weeks ago. [KSWO]

Oklahoma News

Barring COVID-19 outbreak, Tulsa gets through potentially explosive weekend: The coronavirus effects won’t be known for weeks or longer, but to this point, it appears Tulsa made it through what could have been a difficult few days with only a few minor scratches. And maybe better in some ways than before. Many feared the combination of recent civil unrest in other cities, President Donald Trump restarting his reelection campaign here after months on hiatus and opposition to Trump would coalesce into violence, destruction and a fresh COVID-19 outbreak. [Tulsa World]

  • On mostly peaceful day, Trump brings combative message to rally [Oklahoma Watch]
  • Gov. Stitt says he doesn’t think COVID-19 deaths in state will increase as a result of Trump rally [Tulsa World]
  • Inside Trump’s Tulsa rally, no distancing despite empty seats, few masks and plenty of doubt about coronavirus [NBC]
  • Turnout at Trump’s Tulsa rally was just under 6,200–A fraction of the venue’s 19,200 capacity [Forbes]
  • AP Fact Check: Trump tries to pin low turnout on protesters [AP News]
  • Six Trump staffers setting up for rally positive for COVID-19 [AP News]
  • What drove them to be there [Oklahoma Watch]
  • ‘The economy is sh–’ and other thoughts from Trump fans in Tulsa [NonDoc]
  • Trump supporters converge on Tulsa [CNHI]
  • Why Trump’s Tulsa rally put the city’s Black residents on edge (video) [The New York Times]
  • Black Tulsans reflect on legacy of the 1921 Massacre (video) [The New York Times]
  • For Black Tulsans, Trump’s visit evokes painful legacy of 1921 massacre [Reuters]
  • On eve of Trump visit, Tulsa still haunted by memory of white supremacist massacre [The Guardian]
  • Black Wall Street business owners lend perspective to impact of COVID-19, protests and Trump visit [Tulsa World]
  • As Trump’s visit nears, a reminder that Tulsa’s racist history extends well beyond the 1921 Race Massacre [The Frontier]
  • Black Wall Street Memorial covered to protect against presidential ‘photo ops’ [Tulsa World]

Angry exchanges, sporadic physical conflict, occur on downtown streets while president holds rally; police deploy pepper balls: People marched in the streets. They chanted. And at times Saturday in downtown Tulsa, emotions ran high when protesters and Donald Trump supporters came together. But there was sporadic physical conflict, and by 11:45 p.m., downtown had grown calm after a day of angry exchanges. At the height of the tension, police deployed pepper balls near Fourth Street and Boulder Avenue, hours after the agency received condemnation from protesters and national media when it confirmed that officers had arrested a nonviolent protester at the behest of Trump campaign staff. [Tulsa World]

  • Heated confrontations at Trump rally, but interactions remain largely nonviolent [The Frontier]
  • Tulsa Black Lives Matter gathering focuses on unity away [The Oklahoman]
  • Protest at John Hope Franklin Center ends with march, but no approach to BOK Center [Tulsa World]
  • Greenwood serves as safe haven during Trump event [NonDoc]
  • Art teacher arrested at Trump rally plans to fight charge [The Washington Post]
  • Norman councilwoman arrested in Tulsa on Saturday night [The Oklahoman]
  • Quiet returns to downtown Tulsa following Trump rally [Tulsa World]

Amid national turmoil, Tulsa’s historic Greenwood District has its shining moment: On the day of Juneteenth, Black Wall Street — the once-proud symbol of African American economic freedom and community resiliency before succumbing to tragedy — unexpectedly became the present-day symbol of cultural and political divergence. [Tulsa World]

  • Rev. Al Sharpton challenges Trump to deal with racism; Juneteenth organizers say Sharpton got death threats in Tulsa  [Tulsa World]
  • Tulsa’s Juneteenth celebration provides outlet for fun, activism [Tulsa World]
  • Juneteenth’s legacy [Oklahoma Eagle]
  • In Tulsa, an energized Juneteenth Celebration focuses on change, not Trump [The New Yorker]
  • Black Tulsans, with a defiant Juneteenth celebration, send a message to Trump [The New York Times]
  • Al Sharpton challenges Trump on race relations (video) [Reuters]
  • Tulsa’s hopeful anger [The New Yorker]
  • ‘It’s a massacre … of minority businesses’: Activists rally for march in Tulsa, file $150 billion federal lawsuit over COVID-19 aid [Tulsa World]
  • ‘Just the start’: McAlester grad hopes for progress after Black Lives Matter event in hometown [McAlester News Capital]
  • Op-Ed: It’s time to realize the promises of Juneteenth [Op-Ed / Enid Eagle & News

Tulsa’s dividing line: Black residents in city face economic and health inequalities (video): The neighborhoods of North Tulsa and South Tulsa are only a few miles apart, but the differences in equality are vast. The mainly Black residents of North Tulsa have a life expectancy that’s 11 years shorter than the mainly white resident of South Tulsa. [NBC Nightly News]

Despite Trump’s claim at rally, state official denies there is effort to ‘slow down’ COVID-19 testing: Contradicting remarks by President Donald Trump, a top Oklahoma official said Saturday night that the state has not been instructed by the White House to ease up on COVID-19 testing. Oklahoma Chief Operating Officer John Budd told Oklahoma Watch that state leaders have never been instructed to cut down on testing for coronavirus infections – something Gov. Kevin Stitt and health experts have said is a critical component of stopping the spread of the deadly virus. [Oklahoma Watch]

New coronavirus cases in Oklahoma break days old record: The number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases jumped by 478 on Sunday to a new record while one additional death was recorded due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. [AP News] The interim commissioner of the state’s Department of Health says a surge in cases was expected after the state began reopening. [AP News] Visit for the latest COVID-19 numbers in Oklahoma. 

Health News

As the coronavirus surges in Oklahoma, rising fears of outbreaks in nursing homes: On a June 10 call, Oklahoma health officials told the state’s nursing homes that they would take a slow, measured approach toward allowing visitors to return to the facilities whose elderly, vulnerable residents account for more than half of Oklahoma’s coronavirus deaths. [NBC]

Voters to decide on expansion of Medicaid: State Question 802 is an effort to expand health care coverage for Oklahoma’s lowest-income residents or an unfunded mandate that will raise havoc with the state budget, depending on your point of view. [The Lawton Constitution]

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.: Why I Support State Question 802 and Medicaid expansion: On June 30, Oklahoma voters will make a big decision about the future of health care. I hope you will join me in voting YES on State Question 802. By expanding Medicaid and bringing home our tax dollars to provide health coverage, we can improve the well-being for nearly 200,000 Oklahomans. We can help keep rural hospitals open, and we will boost the economy. [Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. Op-Ed / Tulsa World]

Op-Ed: A chance to save rural hospitals, strengthen state’s economy: State Question 802 pumps more than $1 billion into our economy every single year by providing health coverage to 200,000 Oklahomans who today cannot afford it. Even better, we do this without increasing taxes one penny. The billion-dollar boost happens by bringing home Oklahomans’ tax dollars from Washington D.C. now scattered across 36 other states that have already expanded Medicaid. [Wagoner Community Hospital CEO Jimmy Leopard Op-Ed / Muskogee Phoenix

Opinion: Health coverage change pending in Oklahoma?: In Oklahoma’s primary election a week from Tuesday, the most consequential result will involve not a candidate but a cause — the effort to expand health care coverage to the state’s lower-income residents. [The Oklahoman Editorial Board]

State Government News

Gov. Stitt unveils grant programs totaling $110 million to help Oklahomans affected by COVID-19: Gov. Kevin Stitt has announced two new grant programs worth $110 million to support Oklahomans impacted by the presence of COVID-19. [Tulsa World]

There’s more to the WalletHub report: Oklahoma lagged behind other states in a recent analysis of the nation’s pace of economic recovery, but the conclusion merits a closer look, officials say. The finding was reported by WalletHub, a web-based platform that provides services and financial guidance to consumers and businesses and periodically reports on trends affecting finances. [The Journal Record]

Federal Government News

Distribution of $1.9 billion in tribal coronavirus relief funds sparks federal lawsuit, protest: Controversy is stirring in Oklahoma Indian country over decisions made regarding the distribution of about $1.9 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds designated for 38 Oklahoma tribes. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma City Black Lives Matter requests more robust, transparent police oversight: Black Lives Matter activists, emboldened by nationwide protests against police violence, are calling for a new system of oversight. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Opinion: Tulsa lawmaker’s good-faith effort at police oversight: Tulsa state Rep. Monroe Nichols’ background lends real gravitas to his plans to try to increase state oversight of Oklahoma law enforcement. As someone whose father was a police officer in Houston and whose uncle is a Dallas police officer, Nichols no doubt has considerable respect for those in blue. However, he believes the system is “fundamentally flawed and desperately needs to change.” [The Oklahoman Editorial Board]

Point of View: An example of community reform for criminal justice: Nearly 10 years ago, legislation was passed to create pilot programs to keep mothers out of prison. From this legislation, community leaders, along with 25 agencies, developed ReMerge, a diversion-from-prison program to end generational incarceration of women in Oklahoma County. [Op-Ed / The Oklahoman]

Tulsa World editorial: Trump starts road to police reform but more work is necessary: President Donald Trump signed an executive order this week launching the start of police reform. Measures within the order reflect some of the demands made in the weeks-long international protests over deaths of unarmed black Americans by police. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Education News

TPS students spent an average of six out of 35 possible days engaged in distance learning during spring: Tulsa Public Schools students engaged in distance learning an average of six out of 35 possible days during the spring semester, according to administrators. [Tulsa World]

Editorial: State must look for most urgent priorities for COVID-19 education relief: Gov. Kevin Stitt and state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister recently announced $16 million in grants for Oklahoma school districts struggling to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are still many other things that must be addressed with the federal education relief money, including problems faced by higher education and career tech schools. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

General News

Editorial: Court ruling a victory for people of goodwill: The LGBT community and its allies are still in celebration mode, and rightly so. On June 15, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the 1964 Civil Rights Act doesn’t just protect employees from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It also protects LGBT workers. [Editorial / Tahlequah Daily Press]

Editorial: Equal employment protection was the right thing to do: Although the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling extending equal opportunity employment protections to LGBTQ workers rendered it moot, we were pleased that the city of Enid was going to revisit the issue. [Editorial / Enid News & Eagle]

Black Power: Lawton music video rally empowers change despite fears of violence: A local rapper said he’s hurt but hopeful after residents spread rumors that his music video shoot would become a riot, causing businesses to close early and board up their windows. [Black Wall Street Times]

OKC march sought to send ‘powerful’ message on Black gun rights: About 50 Second Amendment supporters marched for a mile along Northeast 23rd Street to the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion this afternoon to emphasize Black gun rights. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Mayor Bynum staffer Jack Graham resigns, cites handling of presidential visit [Tulsa World]
  • Stillwater leaders eye hospitalizations as trigger for COVID-19 restrictions [Stillwater News Press]
  • Moore approves city budget, has no plans to cut police budget [The Norman Transcript]
  • Norman mayor wins friendly census competition against Stillwater mayor [The Norman Transcript]

Quote of the Day

“You can’t fix what you haven’t faced.”

-Tulsa author and attorney Hannibal B. Johnson, paraphrasing writer and activist James Baldwin, about the path to racial reconciliation [New York Times]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Medicaid workers nationwide who are employed in firms with fewer than 50 employees, which are not subject to ACA penalties for not offering affordable health coverage. Industries and occupations with the largest number of workers covered by Medicaid often include jobs that are physically demanding such as food service or construction. [Kaiser Family Foundation]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The Implications of Medicaid Expansion in the Remaining States: 2020 Update: Using the latest available data on Medicaid and marketplace enrollment, researchers find that if the 15 holdout states (which includes Oklahoma) had expanded Medicaid eligibility as envisioned under the ACA, 3.9 million fewer people would have been uninsured and 4.1 million people in non-expansion states would have gained health insurance that met ACA standards. [Urban Institute]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.