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'Focus: Black Oklahoma': minority voters, Ketanji Brown Jackson, Oklahoma's Black history

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Jamie Glisson

Focus: Black Oklahoma has been selected to participate in the Advancing Democracy cohort with the Solutions Journalism Network, or SJN. Our series, In A Confused State, will follow Oklahoma advocacy groups navigating new restrictions on freedoms in four areas: reproductive rights, voting laws, teaching history and direct action/activism. We begin the show with our final piece in the series, as Devin Williams sheds light on the obstacles between minority voters and the ballot box in Oklahoma. We also get closer to the people working to make the path to accurate representation more clear.

Next, Jamie Glisson looks at Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was officially confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court on April 7, 2022, by a 53 to 47 vote, and the political successes of Black women locally and nationally that brought our political system to this historic moment.

In the first installment intended to help us understand the McGirt v. Oklahoma Supreme Court case and its continued challenges by the state, Dawn Carter notes that almost half the state of Oklahoma may still be considered Native American land that was never disestablished when Oklahoma was granted statehood. The decision could have transformative impacts for citizens across what we know of as Oklahoma.

Oklahoma's rich Black history could be lost, if not for people like Damario Solomon-Simmons and Derrick Edie Smith Jr., also known as the history influencer, "Young Black Mayor." Crystal Patrick shares some of what led them on this journey of educating not just our state, but our world on Oklahoma history.

Then we get an introduction to a new exhibit, Woven, by Shenequa Brooks at 108 Contemporary. In this exhibit, she demonstrates where art and entrepreneurship collide. Brooks is creating art while sharing her talents and expertise with other young artists of color. Carlos Moreno shares the unique story of an “Artpreneur” with us.

In this month's final story, we get an inside look at what it takes to put on the biggest art show for the youngest artists in town. Lydia Jeong takes us to Philbrook for The Big Show.


Focus: Black Oklahoma is produced in partnership with KOSU Radio, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and Tri-City Collective. Additional support is provided by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.

Our theme music is by Moffett Music.

Focus: Black Oklahoma’s executive producers are Quraysh Ali Lansana and Bracken Klar. Our associate producers are Nick Alexandrov and Vanessa Gaona. Our production intern is Smriti Iyengar.

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