For residents of Black Tulsa, the city's past and racial current loom at Trump rally

For residents of Black Tulsa, the city's past and racial current loom at Trump rally
A group of young black men stand outside. Dressed in black, they conduct military exercises at BS Roberts Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

"Original Salute! Left Face! Back Attention!"

They are gearing up for the tense tension of 19 June in a small town that has attracted national attention. A stone's throw from where these people practice, President Donald Trump will take the stage for his first rally on Saturday after the Kovid-19 outbreak.

All are native to Tulsa, following the principles of the original Black Panther movement, which was formed in 1966 as a force for social reform. In that sense, they are advocating against the oppression of blacks. Although the small group is made up of less than a dozen men and is not affiliated with any national movement, they hope to maintain peace using a de-escalation strategy if concentration declines.

"This is unity, this is brotherhood. We all come here from these streets," group member Akeno Bay told CNN. "We've all faced similar problems. We all want to do something better here for our children. And the only way to do better is to do better."

As Tulsa prepares for Trump's visit, civic leaders and others here are aware of the city's troubled history of racial violence, while also carefully awaiting the potential of the Black Lives Matter movement. Many are concerned about Trump's visit, but are also curious as to whether this is the time when Tulsa considers his complex racial history.

Tulsi native Greg Robinson, who is running to become the first black mayor in the city's history, says he is learning a lot with the youth. But he understands that some may view them with some degree of fear, as young blacks are often depicted.

The men have read reports of outside agitators, including white supremacists, disrupting protests in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd. They believe it distracts the Black Lives Matter movement, and they say they will be on the lookout for potential problems as President Trump lands on their city. Although this movement is unarmed, Oklahoma residents have the right to bear arms. However, they say that this is only out of the need for self-defense.

"They are a lot more peaceful than society and the media wants you to believe," Robinson said referring to the group. "They want an education, they want economic opportunity. They want space to be able to express itself and not feel like they have a police around their neck."

Ultimate emotional shock

Like many American cities, Tulsa has experienced well-publicized disputes between the local police department and the black community.

Earlier this month, police arrested two teenagers who had no sidewalk after walking in the middle of a road. Police body camera pictures and video of an eyewitness show some conversations between officers and the teen.

In a video filmed by a viewer, an officer is seen leaning against his police car, where he placed a handcuffed teenager. After a few seconds, the officer appears kicking the car. A moment later, the officer throws the handcuffed teenager out of the car and takes him to the pavement.

In the police dash camera video posted by the Tulsa Police Department, an officer can be seen searching the teenager's pocket, which was placed on the front seat of the police car. After a few minutes, the officer can be seen with his legs fighting the teenager.

However, the children were eventually released, and as the Tulsa Police Department announced an investigation, the lasting emotional trauma from such incidents is often deeper than some believe, Robinson says.

And says, 'What can I do today?' "Robinson said.

He hopes that as mayor he can clear the way in a city with a long history of racial violence, returning in 1921 to the Tulsa Massacre, which destroyed the Black Greenwood district and killed about 300 black residents.

"When you look and think that we are on the centennial blur of the Tulsa massacre, and the descendants of one victim have not yet received justice," Robinson said. "There are still families who are victims of police violence, and justice has not been found."

'Rally cry' for All-Right?

Anisia West is a teacher and activist who has lived her entire life in Tulsa. A descendant of Creek Freedmen, former African slave for Muskogee Creek Aboriginal members, West says it's important for Tulsa to consider its past as it looks into the future, starting with President Trump's rally this weekend it happens.

She says that she should have moved the rally to a different weekend.

He said, "June is a weekend celebration. It can start on Thursday and last till Sunday".

She says Trump's decision to perform in Tulsa, not far from the site of such deadly racial genocide, is more than a coincidence.

"I can't help but see it as an act of terrorism," he said. "He knows that whether he believes he is racist or not, he knows that KRK members and other far-right organizations are following him and they will see what he is doing as a cry of protest."

However, West is remembered during the President's visit, saying she has never been to her city and her reaction to the police killing of George Floyd.

"I have spent years protesting in Tulsa and elsewhere in Oklahoma with very little turnout." "I was furious at Tulsa because we have a tendency to say 'good Tulsa' where we fight for something, but we're also going for a barbecue. This time it was different."

Moving to a popular location in the West Greenwood district, recalling a large mural area once known as Black Wall Street was at some point the center of life's hope for blacks.

"It's a sacred place," he said. "We know this is a place where buildings were destroyed. People died here. But the soul is still here. But we are still here, and we will continue to build, and we will go nowhere . "

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