Reflections on Four Months of “Debate” on Race, Policing, and the Value of Black Lives

Tulsa Star published my remarks from the City Council’s special meeting on racial and gender disparities in adult arrests. The Justice Indicators Syllabus is here.

Tulsa Star

by Contributing Writer Mana Tahaie

Author’s Note: These are my remarks from September 25th’s Tulsa City Council special meeting on racial and gender disparities in adult arrests.

Opening Statement

Good evening Councilors, Mayor Bynum, Chief Jordan, Ms. Doring, and Mr. O’Mellia. Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that we are on occupied land belonging both to the indigenous people who no longer live here due to genocide and to those who were forcibly relocated here. I recognize and pay tribute to the Osage, Chickasaw, Caddo, and Muscogee Creek peoples past and present.

When I graduated from TU, I thought I was going to leave for a more dynamic, progressive city, like most of my peers — many of them people of color, or queer, or from other marginalized identities — had also done. But somewhere along the way, I fell in love with this community. One day, I woke…

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Extractions, exploitation, destruction: How state-sanctioned disenfranchisement stunted Black wealth acquisition (Part 1 of 3)

My first piece for the Tulsa Star, on the government-sponsored extraction and destruction of Black wealth.

Tulsa Star

by Contributing Writer Mana Tahaie

Earlier this year, Tulsa Development Authority (TDA) once again came under scrutiny by Tulsans concerned about the displacement of Black North Tulsa residents. In March, City Councilor Vanessa Hall Harper warned residents of District 1 that a proposed amendment of the Greenwood/Unity Heritage Neighborhoods sector plan subjected approximately 2,000 addresses to eminent domain. After significant and sustained opposition, the City put the plans on hold.

At the nexus of many interconnected current issues — Black Wall Street, urban renewal, gentrification, University Center at Tulsa (UCAT) land and others —lies a complex story of Black wealth acquisition and destruction in Oklahoma.

All-Black towns

Oklahoma remains the home of the greatest number of all-Black towns in the U.S., with over 30 incorporated communities established in the late 1800s and early 1900s. (It’s important to note that White colonial settlers first stole these lands from the Native…

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