Some of Tulsa's faith leaders practiced physical distancing during a roundtable discussion with Vice President Mike Pence at the Tulsa Dream Center.
Apostle Paula Price with Congregation of the Mighty Ecclesial Embassy describes Saturday's visit as "surreal."
"I kept thinking, 'How did this happen?” Price said. She said when she spoke, she felt heard. "He took notes. He was very attentive. He's a good listener. But yes, he did what he came to do,” she said.
Tulsa Dream Center Executive Director and Administrative Pastor of Victory Church Aaron Johnson said the discussion was based around five pillars: housing for minorities, financial literacy, education, food access and medical and mental health.
Johnson said the conversation evolved. "It was a positive discussion on really how can we make North Tulsa the catalyst for restoring Black Wall Street, commemorating the Tulsa Race Massacre, in such a way that brings restoration to businesses and really gives options to Blacks and minorities in North Tulsa,” Johnson said.
Pence told the group in part, " it may well be, in the next year, that Tulsa can provide a backdrop for how we move our nation forward toward a more perfect union."
"It became about making Tulsa a model and he was very interested in that. In Tulsa being a model and a template for how to address the issues that we came to the table to discuss,” Price said.
"To have that discussion around how Tulsa and North Tulsa can be the leader in that, was truly, you know, an honor,” Johnson said.
Price said she did not feel at any point that the discussion became political, adding she did not feel any tension in the room.
Both Johnson and Price said Pence did more listening than talking during the visit.
The other faith leaders in attendance were Pastor Calvin Battle with the Destiny Center, Pastor Philip Abode with Crossover Preparatory Academy and Dr. Howard Hatcher with the International Outreach Ministry and Training Center.