'Focus: Black Oklahoma': Black male mentors, restorative justice, Elk City's oldest cemetery
This episode of Focus: Black Oklahoma features reports on restorative justice, Black male mentorship programs and Elk City's oldest cemetery.
On this episode, we start off with exploring why most people believe that justice must be punitive. The Restorative Justice Institute of Oklahoma seeks to change the public’s perceptions on this issue using a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens. Jasmine Bivar-Tobie has the story.
Next, Jamie Glisson introduces us to political candidate Joshua Harris-Till. 67 years ago, a 14-year-old boy was murdered based on an accusation. An accusation that was deemed false at the time and then proven so decades later. Emmitt Till was dragged from the home of his aunt and uncle in Drew, Mississippi by two white men with shotguns, then taken to a nearby barn and tortured for hours until he was shot in the head and then thrown into a nearby river with a large fan tied to his leg to weigh him down. Harris-Till is Emmitt's cousin and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress.
Media coverage of the recent shooting at McLain High school in Tulsa, perpetuates the narrative that our communities are dangerous and rife with violence. Anthony Cherry shares a story about how Black male mentors through organizations like Men of Power are focused on making sure more young Black men are seen as thriving, not as threats.
With a written history dating back 3,000 years, China has one of the oldest cultures in the world. As the Mandarin Chinese language grows into a 21st century lingua franca, Chinese language programs have achieved success in Oklahoma despite obstacles like budget cuts and political and cultural barriers. Carlos Moreno spoke with members of the United States Heartland China Association to discuss ongoing efforts to promote Chinese language education.
An often overlooked aspect of Oklahoma history is the legacy of Jim Crow style policies that were implemented even prior to statehood. Shonda Little traveled to Elk City to hear how members of the Black community have maintained the city’s oldest cemetery by cultivating a “for us, by us” attitude for nearly 120 years.
There’s an old proverb about friendship: as iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Sometimes being sharp means having as much fun as possible while keeping each other out of trouble. Sondra Slade recounts what real friendship looks like during a cross-country road trip in college.
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. Smriti Ayengar is our associate producer. Our production intern is Torren Doss.