Today, Monday, May 31, marks the 100th commemorative year of the tragic and horrific events that resulted in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Leading up to this weekend’s slate of events, brother-and-sister survivors, Viola Fletcher and Hughes Van Ellis, testified before a House committee earlier this month to amplify calls for justice, impress upon the country a lawsuit against the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and seek relief in the form of a victims’ fund.
The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, which was supposed to have hosted the Remember & Rise event today, has been canceled due to unexpected circumstances. “The Centennial Commission is unable to fulfill our high expectations for Monday afternoon’s commemoration event and has determined not to move forward with the event at this time,” a recent statement shared. The event has hopes and expectations to reschedule this 100th commemorative year later this year.
Both Stacey Abrams, a future possible presidential nominee, and EGOT holder John Legend were slated to headline the nationally-televised “Remember & Rise” event, but it appears that any discussions were sidelined and have yet to be revealed why. “For the disappointment and any inconvenience caused to ticket holders, if [the event is] rescheduled, ticket holders will be notified first,” the statement concluded. According to officials on the ground, other events such as the Candlelight Vigil at Greenwood and Archer, which will also takes place today, will continue as scheduled.
With the rising animus by politicians and domestic terrorists towards the idea of Black Lives Matter and critical race theory, and with moves being implement to restrict voting in places across the country— he Department of Homeland Security has stated that the Tulsa Race Massacre commemoration events could be a target for white supremacists. In an intelligence brief from the DHS, officials say while there haven’t been any credible threats, but “the current Homeland threat environment remains heightened.” It also says white supremacists, “historically have used simple tactics, such as vehicle ramming, small arms, edged weapons, and rudimentary explosive devices to target individuals perceived as having ideologically opposing views, racial minorities, or law enforcement at mass gatherings or crowded public spaces.”
Last week, President Joe Biden announced that he will be present in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and expects people to still pay remembrances to the lives lost.
Lastly, the City of Tulsa plans to begin a full excavation and analysis of the ‘Original 18’ site at Oaklawn Cemetery.
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