Senator James Lankford (R-OK) issued a letter to Black Tulsans after his decision to contest the results of the 2020 presidential election.
In the letter, Lankford apologized for his “blindness” to how his actions were seen by the Black community in Oklahoma, as challenging results in states like Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan was “seen as casting doubt on the validity of votes coming out of predominantly Black communities.”
Sen. Lankford had voiced his support for an Electoral Commission to audit the results of the election. Following the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Lankford ultimately dropped his challenge to the election.
“After decades of fighting for voting rights, many Black friends in Oklahoma saw this as a direct attack on their right to vote, for their vote to matter,” Lankford wrote. “I can assure you, my intent to give a voice to Oklahomans who had questions was never also an intent to diminish the voice of any Black American.”
Sen. Lankford began the letter focused on the fast-approaching centennial anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and noted that while some progress has been made, there is “clearly work left to do.”
This apology comes after calls emerged for Lankford to resign from the 1921 Race Massacre Centennial Commission.
“Today, I am asking my friends in North Tulsa for grace and an opportunity for us to show the state what reconciliation looks like in moments of disagreement,” Lankford finishes his two-page letter. “None of us get any compensation or reward for what we do for the Commission, but being a part of the effort to shine a light on North Tulsa is an honor and a responsibility for me.”
You can read his full letter here.
The Race Massacre Commission issued a response to Sen. Lankford's letter, acknowledging his apology. The Commission said they do not have a specific update for Lankford yet, but will have a reply after their next meeting on January 23.