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'Focus: Black Oklahoma': book bans, Black women in politics, anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes

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Jamie Glisson

Oklahoma is among the Republican led states that have banned more than 1,000 books since Fall 2021, with the bans disproportionately affecting works with Black characters or addressing issues of race. Focus: Black Oklahoma’s Anthony Cherry spoke with educators about the impact of restricting literature in the classroom.

With Kamala Harris holding the office of the Vice President of the United States, Black women are arguably more visible in American politics than ever. Dawn Carter reports on a national organization dedicated to increasing engagement and representation of Black women in the political process. For more reporting on the topics discussed in this story, you can listen to our episode released in January 2021.

Anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric along with a Molotov cocktail were thrown into a Tulsa donut shop because it was hosting a Drag Queen event. This event, and others like it, indicates performers and even their allies have reason for fear and concern. Dr. Nick Alexandrov has details on the growing instances of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes.

The U.S. Supreme Court's landmark McGirt v. Oklahoma decision in 2020 was a big win for tribal sovereignty that gave tribal nations jurisdiction over many crimes committed in their territory and by their citizens. But, working out the state of Oklahoma's role in such matters has proven extremely contentious. StateImpact Oklahoma's Logan Layden spoke with KOSU Indigenous Affairs reporter Allison Herrera about one case that highlights the complications involved.

Oklahoma health officials have surveyed high school students for decades, looking at things like their alcohol use, nutrition, and home life. StateImpact’s Catherine Sweeney reports the data have shown a spike in mental health struggles.

Being your truest self in any life situation can sometimes be challenging. Jasmine Bivar-Tobie shares the experience of attempting to honor and protect herself in an alternative space.

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 Smriti Iyengar and Jesse Ulrich.

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