OKLAHOMA CITY - In response to Juneteenth in Tulsa, the ACLU of Oklahoma issued the following statement:
“The ACLU of Oklahoma stands in solidarity with the Black community in Tulsa and across Oklahoma.
While history has failed to shed light on the catastrophic events starting on May 31, 1921, with the murder and destruction of the Black community, the generational trauma can be felt to this day, almost 100 years later.
Time and time again we see our systems of justice far more willing to treat officers as innocent until proven guilty than they are the communities who are being policed -- communities where people are stopped, searched and arrested without cause, disproportionately communities with Black and Brown residents. We witnessed this in 2016 with Terence Crutcher and as recently as this week with bodycam footage from two officers arresting black teenagers. It should not take video footage for us to join our voices with the demands of Black Lives Matter and Black organizers on the ground who are seeking urgent remedies to injustice. But we bear witness to each of these atrocities and stand in solidarity with Black communities across Oklahoma.
This Juneteenth, we encourage Oklahomans to commemorate the legacy of Black Wall Street by attending "I too, am America Juneteenth Rally for Justice '' hosted by the Greenwood community. A community still fighting for restitution, equality, and just treatment under the laws of the local, state, and federal government.
We recognize it is not enough for us to claim a commitment to progress or sign pledges to action. We stand with the Black residents of Tulsa and continue to lift up the demands made by community leaders:
- Meaningful police oversight and accountability to the residents they are sworn to protect.
- Divestment from law enforcement and reinvestment centered in community mental health and well-being.
- Justice for Terence Crutcher, Joshua Barre, Joshua Harvey, and countless Black lives lost to the criminal legal system.
The ACLU of Oklahoma strongly condemns the ongoing police brutality, as well as the police violence at demonstrations on the ground in Oklahoma. It is more evident than ever that the only solution is divestment from policing, reinvestment in communities, and a reimagining of what we mean when we say public safety.
We reiterate our support for Black Lives Matter and the goals towards which Black Lives Matter works: dignity, safety, liberty, and liberation for Black and Brown lives.
Black lives matter.”