Caucus Members Say Events to Note Issues
TULSA—Black legislators said they will persist in focusing on Medicaid expansion, voting by absentee ballot and police department reform during this year’s Juneteenth celebrations.
They said that the nearby Trump campaign rally will not deter them.
Spokesmen for the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus said those and other issues will be addressed during Juneteenth events set for June 19.
“We will be addressing the issues that have crippled us,” a spokesman said.
State Rep. Regina Goodwin (Dem., Tulsa), chairman of the caucus, in discussing Juneteenth plans at a news conference at the Greenwood Cultural Center, said events will be held at that center.
“We’re not focused on Trump, per se,” State Rep. Jason Lowe (Dem., Oklahoma City) said Friday.
“We are more focused on absentee voting. We’re more focused on State Question 802, Medicaid expansion.
“We’re focusing on people in rural Oklahoma. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, COVID-19.”
“Those people need health care,” State Rep. Lowe continued. “I think it’s a no brainer.”
State Rep. Lowe is vice chairman of the caucus.
Juneteenth Day celebrates the end of slavery.
The news conference was held near the 1921 Black Wall Street Memorial.
The 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre will be held next year, but the Juneteenth Day events at the Greenwood Cultural Center will pay homage to that event, as well.
“Juneteenth is our journey. Juneteenth is our story,” State Rep. Goodwin said.
She said that, by focusing on relevant issues important to the caucus’ constituents, Juneteenth events will honor “our ancestors.”
“We came to America as slaves,” State Rep. Goodwin said, saying that her ancestors, once freed from slavery, were forced to endure injustices throughout the years “and even now.”
“Juneteenth is no joke,” State Rep. Goodwin continued. “We’re not fully free until we have justice. We’re going to continue to be truth-tellers and fighters for justice.”
“We’re not going to dishonor the history of our ancestors,” State Rep. Goodwin commented.
“We’re not going to be distracted by the divisiveness of racism. “We’re not going to be distracted by the foolishness of double talk.”
She was referring to the planned campaign rally President Trump initially planned to have on Juneteenth Day.
State Rep. Ajay Pittman (Dem., Oklahoma City), State Sen. Kevin Matthews (Dem., Tulsa) and State Rep. Monroe Nichols (Dem., Tulsa) were other caucus members attending the news conference.
The news conference was also attended by Alicia Andrews, chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.