Oklahoma Black Lives Matter Leader Speaks About Group's Motives
OKLAHOMA CITY - In an exclusive interview with News9/Newson6 Black Lives Matter-Oklahoma Executive director and co-founder Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson explained her reason for starting the movement’s chapter.
“I don't want my children or myself to be a hashtag anymore,” Dickerson said peering from behind her faux-wood rimmed glasses.
A middle-aged black woman and mother of two, Dickerson is involved with metro area liberal organizations like the OKC Pride board and Artists for Justice. She also co-organized a rally in support of the victims of Daniel Holtzclaw, the former Oklahoma City police officer and convicted rapist.
She was a key organizer of the most recent Black Lives Matter peaceful protest in Oklahoma City, but says misconceptions of the movement are everywhere, especially after the killings of police officers in cities around the country.
“Black lives matter was formed to say that right now there is a disproportionate [amount] of racism and injustice against black faces and people of color,” she said. “It has always been to promote black lives and the positive aspects of those. We are not anti-police. We're anti-injustice.”
Dickerson started protesting when she was young following the example of her parents and grandparents.
“You find out that it's something that you love and you're passionate about and you just walk into your calling,” she said with a smile.
But Dickerson, whose husband is a law enforcement officer, did criticize Oklahoma City's recent decision to allow officers to carry their own rifles, afraid it will damage community-police relationships.
“When you introduce rifles it seems like it's an unnecessary and very assertive or aggressive action to take,” she said, echoing sentiments raised by other liberal and civil-rights groups.
Dickerson said her goal for the movement is to start a conversation and praised OCPD Chief Bill Citty for being willing to create an open channel of dialogue with communities of color. She said there were several planned meetings with Citty in the near future.
She also addressed the larger issue of racial tensions among every day citizens. When asked on how to start a conversation about race, Dickerson said people have to acknowledge racism in America before coming to the table.
“You have to make yourself vulnerable because you have to honest and real,” she said.