Several dozen people crowded a south Tulsa intersection on Sunday to demonstrate under Black Lives Matter banners.
The protesters congregated late Sunday afternoon at the southwest corner of the 71st Street and Memorial Drive intersection. They rallied against police brutality and systemic racism.
“The inequalities that are big here, just in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is shocking and something this side of town really needs to see,” said Tykebrean Cheshier, an organizer of Sunday’s rally.
Cheshier referenced the disparities between north Tulsa, where the historic Black Wall Street area was located before its destruction by white mobs, and south Tulsa, a more prosperous and more developed side of town. She said there are disparities in the quality of educational institutions in north Tulsa when compared to other parts of Tulsa and the metro suburbs.
She said they “can see the differences and we need to change that.”
Sunday’s rally is part of a broader movement against police brutality and systemic racism. The Black Lives Matter movement was rekindled en masse when former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Floyd died during that encounter.
Nationally, police uses of force, fatal and nonfatal, have sustained the movement.
At the south Tulsa intersection, demonstrators flew Black Lives Matter flags and banners printed or painted with the raised fist of solidarity. Volunteers carried paperwork to register people to vote.
People waved signs at passing vehicles that carried various messages in support of the movement. Most passing motorists honked in support and raised fists in solidarity.
One person, a white woman, yelled at demonstrators while leaving a telecommunications storefront. She displayed a vulgar hand gesture from the passenger seat of a white vehicle while they drove away. The vulgar gesture may have been intended for the demonstrators but was directed toward the telecommunications storefront.
Ranesha Smith, an attendee of the demonstration, said she came to the intersection Sunday to stand against core issues of the movement: police brutality and systemic racism.
“The reason why I am here today is to stand in the line to show that Black lives matter,” Smith said. “And this is a rally for change that everyone ... definitely needs to get behind.”
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