Biden issues proclamation on Tulsa race massacre

No Black people who survived the massacre or their relatives have been given compensation in return. Insurance companies declined most Black victims’ claims, which were worth more than $27 million in today’s money. About 10,000 community residents were left homeless.

“I call on the American people to reflect on the deep roots of racial terror in our Nation and recommit to the work of rooting out systemic racism across our country,” Biden said in the proclamation on Monday, in which he committed to work to remove systemic racism from policies, laws and hearts.

In the proclamation, Biden also called on the federal government to “reckon with and acknowledge” how it has “stripp[ed] wealth and opportunity from Black communities.” He said his administration was “committed to acknowledging” how federal policy affected Greenwood in particular.

The president said that laws and policies made recuperating from the massacre “nearly impossible,” including federal highway construction splitting the community and federal involvement in redlining.

Biden also pledged that his administration would tackle racial inequities in a number of ways, including infrastructure, environmental justice, funds for businesses in “economically disadvantaged” regions, and in particular for minority-owned businesses.

On Tuesday, Biden is set to visit Tulsa, where he will give a speech on the massacre and meet with survivors.

Oklahoma has been caught in a culture war over education and race, with a new GOP-backed state law that will ban teachers from teaching subjects that cause anyone to “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress” because of their race or gender.

Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, has said the new law won’t bar teaching about the massacre, but state Sen. Kevin Matthews, a Democrat, has called the law “an affront to Black people.”

Republicans across the country have pushed back against the teaching of critical race theory, with many states moving to bar it from classrooms. Critics of such legislation have said it would limit schools from properly teaching and discussing subjects like diversity and equity.

The centennial comes just over a year after the nation faced a reckoning following the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deemed racism a “serious public health threat,” with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky pointing to “severe” and “unacceptable” inequities in health outcomes across racial and ethnic lines.

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