Stacey Abrams, John Legend to speak at Tulsa Race Massacre TV event
They're just two set for the May 31 "Remember & Rise" event noting the 100th anniversary of the 1921 slaughter.
National voter rights advocate Stacey Abrams and performer-activist John Legend will be two of the speakers at a nationally-televised event memorializing the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Remember & Rise will be broadcast next Monday, May 31 from ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The event was organized by the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.
According to the commission’s director, Abrams is a highly-anticipated speaker due to “her tireless efforts to create equity and access for Black Georgia voters,” which, Phil Armstrong told Tulsa World, “has inspired the entire country to re-envision what inclusive structures, systems and communities should look like.”
Upon winning Georgia’s Democratic primary in May 2018, Abrams became the first Black woman to run for governor of any state as a major party’s nominee, and she came incredibly close to winning amid rampant controversy over voter access.
She was credited as being essential to flipping the state blue during the 2020 presidential election and runoff race that sent Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate.
In a press release, she said the 100th anniversary of the slaughter in Tulsa “compels us to reflect on this tragic history, without which reconciliation is impossible.”
“Its reverberations continue across communities today,” she added, “where too many Black Americans face economic hardship, disproportionate police and gun violence and assaults on their freedom to vote.”
On May 31 and June 1, 1921, whites attacked the Black community and leveled Tulsa’s booming Greenwood District, leaving 10,000 people dead and destroying one of the most prosperous Black districts in the nation.
On Wednesday, three of the last surviving victims of the Oklahoma violence testified in front of Congress to advocate for its redress through recognition and reparations.
A 107-year-old survivor, Viola Fletcher, said she still has never forgotten the violence of the white mob that destroyed her home when she was seven.
“I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street,” Fletcher said. “I still smell smoke and see fire. I still see Black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams. I have lived through the massacre every day.”
“Our country may forget this history,” she told lawmakers, “but I cannot.”