Gov. Stitt at risk of removal from Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission after bill signing

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt could be removed from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission after his recent signing of a controversial bill into law.

Stitt signed House Bill 1775 on Friday afternoon, essentially banning schools from teaching certain topics about race and gender.

MORE >>> Gov. Stitt signs bill banning Oklahoma schools from teaching certain topics about race, gender

The Centennial Commission, which has been preparing to mark 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre later this month, sent a letter to Stitt on Tuesday asking for a response.

The commission disputes Stitt’s claims that the bill would bring Oklahomans together.

In the letter, they ask the governor to respond to their concerns or else they’ll consider it an official resignation from its membership.

Members of the 1921 Race Massacre Centennial Commission held a press conference Tuesday afternoon along with 107-year-old Massacre survivor Mother Viola Fletcher and descendants of survivors. During the press conference, community members talked about Gov. Stitt’s and Mayor G.T. Bynum involvement on the commission as well as reparations for descendants.

The office of Governor Kevin Stitt released the following statement:

“Governor Stitt and the First Lady both strongly support reconciliation, healing and the rebirth of Tulsa’s Greenwood District, and have worked with the 1921 Race Massacre Centennial Commission on multiple productive events.

“While it has become clear that Mr. Armstrong does not speak for the entire Centennial Commission, it is disappointing that some commission members feel that a common-sense law preventing students from being taught that one race or sex is superior to another is contrary to the mission of reconciliation and restoration.

“Governor Stitt issued Executive Order 2021-12 as a signing statement to expressly direct that the Tulsa Race Massacre, and all historical events included in the Oklahoma Academic Standards, must still be taught in our schools. The governor believes that any other interpretation of this legislation is misguided and fundamentally inaccurate, and that position was expressed to the Centennial Commission before the bill was signed into law.”