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'Focus: Black Oklahoma': police reforms, PragerU Kids curriculum, Black Tech Street

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A 'Welcome to Greenwood' sign sits under the I-244 bridge that cuts through the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Okla.
Jamie Glisson
Focus: Black Oklahoma
A 'Welcome to Greenwood' sign sits under the I-244 bridge that cuts through the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Okla.

This episode of Focus: Black Oklahoma features a look at police reform recommendations, the push by State Superintendent Ryan Walters to bring PragerU Kids curriculum into K-12 classrooms and an effort to propel Black professionals in Tulsa to the top of the cybersecurity field.

In the midst of the world's urgent call for clean energy, a new project in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana casts a contentious light on the line between economic progress and environmental destruction. At the center of this new project is the proposed liquified natural gas (LNG) export facility, which is projected to provide prosperity to some while posing environmental risks to others. Two corporate titans with ties to Oklahoma are behind the idea. Dr. Nick Alexandrov traveled to Louisiana to bring us the story.

In 2015, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing released recommendations on police reforms in response to unrest in Ferguson, Missouri that occurred after the police shooting of Michael Brown. Would those reforms, if embraced by state law enforcement officers, help deter police killings and help build community? Shonda Little brings us part two of her series.

State Secretary of Education Ryan Walters recently announced that the Oklahoma Department of Education is partnering with right-wing advocacy group Prager University to provide educational resources to Oklahoma classrooms. On Monday, September 11, at a church event in Tulsa, Walters said PragerU Kids would be in every classroom as a part of “continuing the MAGA agenda” but many school districts have been opting out of using the material. Dr. Kristen Oertel, Chair of the Department of History at the University of Tulsa, shares details.

In February, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the grant awardees for its new Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program. Oklahoma’s only awardee is the North Peoria Church of Christ in Tulsa. Britny Cordera spoke with Oklahoma House District 73’s Representative Regina Goodwin about what the congregation hopes to accomplish.

Black Tech Street is ready to propel Tulsa to the top of the worldwide cybersecurity field. Who is their partner in this challenging project? IT giant Microsoft. By the end of the decade, Black Tech Street and Microsoft are providing Black professionals in the computer industry 1,000 new career opportunities. Anthony Cherry explores the revolutionary ideas that will revitalize the city's technical and cultural environment.

Sonda Slade reports that, In 2014, Tulsa’s 36 Street North corridor was rebranded the Phoenix District as part of an economic development plan. One entrepreneur is working to increase options to turn the neighborhood into a food destination and revenue generator.

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 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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