June 06, 2020
Contact: Alicia Andrews

Oklahoma City, Okla. – Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Alicia Andrews has released the following statement in response to the pre-recorded “roundtable on race,” moderated by Governor Kevin Stitt and Sarah Stitt, scheduled to air Sunday, June 7.

“Across the state, Oklahomans have come together to have conversations about racial inequity that are long overdue. Regional efforts to convene stakeholders with policy makers have been set in motion, and signs of progress are gradually materializing. I had hope that real change may be coming, and then I saw Governor Stitt’s late week announcement of a ‘roundtable on race.’ On race.

“We don’t need a conversation on race, governor. We need to sit down and have a hard conversation about the institutional racism that has led to the disenfranchisement and death of Black Oklahomans. Terrance Crutcher did not deserve to die. Isaiah Lewis did not deserve to die. Derrick Ollie, Sr. did not deserve to die. So many others did not deserve to die, yet they did. And it is insulting to reduce the conversation to a “roundtable on race.” Race is not the problem. Racism is the problem. Racially biased institutions and systems are the problem.

“I appreciate that you acknowledged the pain you witnessed while viewing demonstrations. You are right. It is difficult to see. It is even more difficult to experience. If you truly want to learn from the leaders of Oklahoma’s African American community, I implore you to invite people to the table who have been instrumental in organizing the communities you saw suffering.

“This is not the time to host a casual conversation with your friends and donors. We need voices up there who will challenge you to grow. We need you to listen. I truly hope you will take several steps back and regroup. Let members of the Black community guide your planning and be involved in the conversation. The conversation will surely be more difficult this way, but this is no time to be comfortable.”