Running Group Sends Message As Anniversary Of Tulsa Race Riot Nears

Saturday, May 28th 2016, 8:28 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

As we approach the 95th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riot, a group of runners are hoping to send a message to the community.

Danielle Muir, 15, says even though the running group was small, their message was powerful.

“As people gather, it reminds how people think it's important to do this, and it’s something that everybody should see, and it's just amazing," Muir said.  

But not everyone agrees with the location of the race.

While planning the run, the group "Racism Stinks" says it saw some backlash on social media.

Brady Street was named after one of Tulsa’s founders – Tate Brady. Because of his reported ties to the KKK, it was recently renamed for Mathew B. Brady, a Civil War photographer.

"Some of the controversy surrounding this race is that we started and ended on Brady Street, which was recently renamed,” Anthony Heykoop said. “The (new) name was attributed to a different Brady, but some of the deep hurts and deep scars related to Tate Brady is still there."

Founder of Racism Stinks Richard Baxter says the goal of the event is to unite the community, and he's glad the runners turned out despite the negativity online.

“We want this to be a destination city,” he said. “We have to come together."

Third-place winner Anthony Heykoop says running the race was important to him.

“It's just a step in the right direction as we look towards May 31, as the 95th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riots," Heykoop said.

And for those who didn't want to run, there was a day full of games, music and mingling at the Guthrie Green.

"I'm just enjoying seeing all the different colors out here, people mixed, a mixed crowd, it seems like a positive look for Tulsa," Dawnesha Alexander said.

The proceeds from the event go to various causes in the community, including tornado victims, TCC and Racism Stinks.