Joshua Harris Till, an advocate for criminal justice reform and a relative of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old killed 67 years ago in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman) is the Democratic nominee for the Oklahoma Fifth Congressional seat.
The candidate said he believes he was “called” to be the criminal reform advocate he is today and said that “calling” has led to his candidacy for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
His name will be on the general election ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
If he wins, he will become only the second Black to hold an Oklahoma congressional seat.
Emmett Till’s lynching is said to have galvanized the Civil Rights Movement nearly 70 years ago.
The teen was beaten, shot and lynched, and his body was thrown into the Tallahatchie River before it was recovered and transported to Chicago for burial.
“Till,” the movie, is scheduled to be released in October.
The Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act was signed into law in March.
Most recently, the name, Emmett Till,” made headlines after More recently, we see the teenager’s name is in the headlines as a warrant for Carolyn Bryan Donham (the woman believed to have accused the teenager of whistling at her) was found by relatives of the teenager at a courthouse in Mississippi.
A grand jury declined to indict her in the Till murder case.
“I didn’t choose a life of advocacy,” Joshua Till said the other day. “I was called, pointing out that Emmett Till was his cousin.
The candidate graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Oklahoma State University, having majored in political science.
While a student there, he worked in the offices of U.S. Rep. Dan Boren (Dem., Okla.), and has worked in the campaign as a canvass captain “stretching from the foothills of the Ozarks in Stillwell to New York City,” he said.
He said he also has worked as a constituency director a presidential campaign.
The Fifth Congressional District candidate said he has held leadership positions with the Oklahoma Democratic Party since 2017, having risen from being a precinct officer to become an officer with the Democratic National Party.
In addition, the congressional candidate has been an executive committee member of the Democratic National Committee.
“Now,” he said, “I am applying to work for the people in the Oklahoma Fifth Congressional District,” the candidate remarked.
“During the time I have spent advocating for the concerns of others,” he commented, “I have learned that justice requires us to move in a way that best suits us.
“Protesting has often provided us with the opportunity to have a seat at the table and affect change.
“Protests have given the time and space required to register people to vote, provide larger platforms for candidates to speak on the issues, and the necessary media attention for those in leadership positions not to turn a blind eye”.
“I know history has proven protests are not only necessary, but vital in building bridges and closing gaps for those who have a lack of concern and are privileged,” the congressional candidate went on.
“I think if protests are organized and planned with tangible tasks, then yes, they are extremely effective.”
“Over the years, I have been compelled to lead and participate in protests to bring to the forefront the plight of those that are considered the most vulnerable: the least, the lost, and the left-out.”
“It is heartbreaking to witness the dire circumstances of fellow citizens,” he stated.
“However, during my own declaration of their mistreatment, I am uplifted to witness people of all backgrounds standing beside and behind me, marching, chanting, and praying for change.”
Education, infrastructure, jobs and health care are the key issues being stressed in his campaign, the candidate pointed out.
“I believe each one is vital to the success of Oklahoma and our country,” he said.
“All of these issues are very close to my heart and have directly impacted my life and the lives of those around me.”