Some Community Leaders Oppose City Council’s Recommendation To Remove Mural

Wednesday, September 2nd 2020, 9:21 pm
By: Erick Payne

TULSA, Okla. -

After the Tulsa City Council recommended that the city remove the Black Lives Matter painting next month, some community leaders have voiced their own thoughts.

The Tulsa City Council said they've exhausted all legal options to allow the painting to stay and recommend possibly seeking a private property option. Some community leaders in Greenwood said they don't want it to be removed.

Dr. Robert Turner is the pastor of Vernon AME Church in Greenwood. He said he's incredibly disappointed in the city council decision to remove the Black Lives Matter street painting.

"The city councilors who're raising the most concern about it, don't even represent this district,” Turner said. “So their constituents don't even live, and probably only come to this district when they go to a baseball game.”

Only Councilwoman Vanessa Hall-Harper voted against the recommendation, and Councilwoman Kara Joy McKee said she would also continue to look for another solution.

City councilors approved a recommendation to move up construction on the street from next spring, to next month.

The city said performing street construction instead of removing the painting on its own would save taxpayers $20,000.

"The fact that they pushed up this timeline to so-called ‘beautify Greenwood,’ meanwhile there's several sections in North Tulsa that need to be beautified, but they choose the one with a Black Lives Matter mural on it," Turner said.

Mayor G.T. Bynum delayed taking action so the council could consider permits for street paintings. Some councilors were concerned if they approved this one, they would then have to allow all sorts of other street paintings.

For now, the council is not looking at a permitting process for any street paintings. The painting will be there until the crews start construction on the street next month.

Supporters of the decision said the street-painting doesn't belong on a public street. Ultimately, that's what councilors said was the biggest reason for the decision to remove it.