Statement Regarding the 100 Year Anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre

Statement Regarding the 100 Year Anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre


Burlington,  VT - In addition to recognizing fallen soldiers on this Memorial Day, we must also recognize the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. On May 31st, 1921 a white mob who were deputized and given weapons by city officials, stormed the Greenwood District, a black neighborhood of Tulsa Oklahoma, becoming one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history.


At the time, the Greenwood District was the wealthiest black community in the United States, and aptly named Black Wall Street. The violence was carried out on the ground and in the air, destroying 35 neighborhood blocks, leaving more than 300 black people dead, more than 800 injured, and 10,000 black residents displaced.


This past week, survivors of the Tulsa Massacre; Viola Fletcher who was 7 years old at the time, her younger brother Hughes Van Ellis, and Lessie Benningfield,  spoke to Congress about what happened in the Greenwood District, and how that day changed lives forever – for not only the survivors of this massacre but also their descendants.


“We tend to think of racial events in siloes, the truth of the matter is, any event that happens in America, is an American issue. Not a southern or northern issue, not a white or black issue, but an American issue,” said Tyeastia Green, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (REIB) for the City of Burlington. “We cannot let this day go by without honoring those lost in this massacre. There has been no justice for the people of Greenwood, and no justice for what was lost on that day.  It is important that the Office of Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging stand with the survivors and descendants of Greenwood.”


“I want to thank Burlington’s REIB department for ensuring that the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the darkest chapters of American racial injustice, does not pass without observation and reflection here in Vermont,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Across the country, local governments have often contributed to and created racial injustice throughout the history of our country through housing, education, and law enforcement policies and actions.  We call on all local governments in America, to consider taking the step that Burlington has of formally creating a task force to consider local reparations for historic harms to Black Americans.  Such action at the local level is particularly important at a time when the federal government has not initiated any national study of slavery reparations, having rejected such proposals every congressional session for over 30 years."



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