Councilors Want Tulsa To Continue Momentum For Improved Relations

Wednesday, September 28th 2016, 10:40 pm
By: News On 6

One day after hundreds of people joined Reverend Al Sharpton to rally and marched through downtown Tulsa, city council members met to carry on with city business.

While nothing on Wednesday's agenda was specifically about city initiatives regarding race relations in Tulsa, that hasn't stopped many city leaders from starting their own.

What's next for the City of Tulsa was certainly on council members' minds as calls to continue the momentum from Tuesday's rally echoed from protesters.

“We want peace within the community, for all of our lives,” they said.

Even Sharpton said Tulsa can lead the country in race relations, but that the city needs to make the shooting death of Terence Crutcher a teaching moment.

Special Coverage: Terence Crutcher Police Shooting

"Use this situation to make it a teaching moment, not just a critical moment," he said.

At Wednesday night's city council meeting, some council members said they believe people in Tulsa can be the teachers.

"I think we are setting a standard that can be practiced throughout the nation," said city councilor Karen Gilbert.

Gilbert said she holds monthly meetings for district 5. At her last one, she invited police officers and opened the floor to have an honest discussion about race and police interaction.

No matter what people's comfort lever is, Gilbert said they need to happen.

"It's always uncomfortable to have those conversations, especially with our kids, but it is a needed discussion to be had," she said.

For her and other council members, it's about listening first. Gilbert believes people want to be talked with, not at.

Councilor Jack Henderson agreed, saying, “Can you imagine if we stopped and said, 'Let's find out more about our brothers and sisters all over this city.’"

For Henderson, the movement can't stop, but he needs the city’s help.

"We cannot do it individually,” he said. “It's going to have to be a group effort. It's going to have to be a city-wide thing."

Council members encourage Tulsans to reach out to them if you would like to organize a community meeting in your neighborhood to help strengthen the bond between people in Tulsa.