Local Community Leaders Provide Perspective On Why People Protest

Monday, June 1st 2020, 6:12 pm
By: Caleigh Bourgeois

While much of the discussion surrounding recent protests has been focused on the death of George Floyd, activists and leaders said the movement is about more than one death.

At Sunday’s Black Lives Matter rally in Oklahoma City, George Floyd’s name was one of many mentioned.

“What we’re seeing is not just a response to George Floyd. We are seeing a response to Breonna Taylor. We are seeing a response to Ahmaud Arbery,” local singer, speaker and social advocate CeCe Jones-Davis said.

Jones-Davis said people aren’t just protesting one death, but years of systematic racism in Oklahoma and in the rest of the country.

“There is as warm, Christian sensibility, but there is a strong social apathy, and that social apathy is what helps to keep a strong division between people,” Jones-Davis said.

Local NAACP leader Garland Pruitt said Oklahoma’s work is far from over, and many incidents of racism are not caught on camera.

“We are not getting justice and that’s the reason why every city in the country is having issues, because this is just the tip of the iceberg of what we see, know and experience every, every, every day,” Pruitt said.

Both Pruitt and Jones-Davis recommend people educate themselves on history and current social justice issues.

“I would suggest people really follow Stronger Together which is Clarence Hill’s organization, which is so focused on educating and building relationships and uniting voices. I think that is a really good resource. I think people ought to listen to the United Voice podcast where we talk solely about Oklahoma and race,” Jones-Davis said.

Jones-Davis also recommended people study the history of the Tulsa Race Massacre and other significant events.

Pruitt said change must start with leadership, but we all have a role to play.

“We as general public and organizations have got to speak up, you’ve got to demand something different. You’ve got to seek a change,” Pruitt said.