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'Focus: Black Oklahoma': school vouchers, Black Excellence, documenting the search for Tulsa Race Massacre graves

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In this episode, we start with education. No matter what you call it, a “voucher” or a “tax credit,” the end result is defunding our state’s public education system. Anthony Cherry talks with two state lawmakers about the current legislative session and the bills regarding school vouchers.

Since the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011, there has been a growing focus on the disparity between the wealthiest 1% of Americans and the other 99% of the population. A recently published report demonstrates how wealth inequality is a global issue that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nick Alexandrov details how the effects can be measured here in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma has long been on the list of states that incarcerates a large percentage of its population. Prison conditions such as overcrowding and mismanagement are just a few of the public's concerns. One group, the People’s Council for Criminal Justice Reform, is working to ensure someone is held accountable. Shonda Little has details.

In 2019, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum announced a public investigation into potential mass graves of Race Massacre victims located at Oaklawn Cemetery. The documentary film, Oaklawn, produced by the Center for Public Secrets and Well-Told covers the events since that first announcement and more broadly the injustices Black Americans face daily including government and policing. Charlie Chadwick has the story.

The term Black Excellence has become mainstream in recent years, just as Drag and drag culture have taken over our brunches and our Friday evenings. Jasmine Bivar Tobie shares the thoughts of global drag superstars and some local voices to get to the meaning of Black Excellence.

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, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, and the Commemoration Fund.

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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