Several hundred community members and leaders were tasked with one mission at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa Thursday afternoon: To spread the good news about all the work accomplished to craft a better, more productive Tulsa.
The Good News Summit, in its second year, was created to highlight all the positive collaborations occurring across the city through the efforts of more than 300 locals.
Greg Robinson, director of family and community ownership at Met Cares, passionately described how the organization has attempted to reshape north Tulsa through educational and economic opportunities for residents who have been historically underserved.
Robinson, who was among 24 speakers at the event, wanted to investigate the issues holding back north Tulsa and how residents envisioned what the ideal community would look like.
“They wanted a walkable community that would be a place for everyone,” he said. “They wanted to see kids be able to play outside. They wanted everyone to have a sense of pride.
“Many of them enjoy going to Guthrie Green and wondered why there wasn’t a (Guthrie Green) there (in north Tulsa).”
Robinson said the Tulsa Equality Indicators reflected the reality of north Tulsans, who often struggle with access to transportation, jobs and even grocery stores. However, Met Cares is hopeful, said Robinson, that a project it’s embarking on to use 23 acres of acquired land to construct housing, retail developments, businesses and a school will go a long way in creating a thriving community again.
Through her own research, Holly Becker, the executive director at ahha Tulsa, found that while humans are smarter than they’ve ever been, they’ve also become less creative over time.
“So it’s Netflix’s fault,” Becker jokingly said during her 5-minute presentation. “Luckily, Tulsa has always been a creative city.”
Ahha’s mission has been to cultivate a more creative Tulsa through advocacy, education and innovative partnerships.
It’s about being “the voice for Tulsa arts and creativity,” said Becker.
And the Hardesty Center, situated in the heart of the Tulsa Arts District since 2012, has tried to ignite creativity and energy around the arts without a reliance on digital technology.
The Hardesty Center prides itself on displaying local, national and international pieces of art in its gallery on a rotating basis. Patrons are also encouraged to explore the building’s studio to make their own creations from materials provided for them.
“We do agree that we spend too much time looking at those devices,” said Becker. “We want to break away from screens and give people of all ages a chance to create something with their hands as well as with their brains.”
Wendy Thomas, executive director of Leadership Tulsa, was pleased that Tulsans were provided a platform to share all the remarkable work that has had an impact on thousands of residents.
“(This) event was an extraordinary opportunity for Tulsans to come together across sectors and share their stories of how they are making the community better while gaining knowledge and connections to others doing different but equally good work,” said Thomas.