The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission removed Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt from their ranks.
The Centennial Commission met on Tuesday (May 11) “and agreed through consensus to part ways with Governor Stitt,” the commission’s statement said. They announced his removal on Friday.
Stitt signed House Bill 1775 on Friday (May 7) prohibiting schools from teaching critical race theory.
He announced in a video he posted on Twitter: “As governor, I firmly believe that not one cent of taxpayer money should be used to define and divide young Oklahomans about their race or sex.”
My statement on HB 1775. pic.twitter.com/2EgMh7A7xZ
— Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) May 7, 2021
School officials, educators and Democratic leaders across Oklahoma denounced the bill.
Related Story: Descendants Of Tulsa Race Massacre Demand Reparations…Again
Milwood Superintendent Cecilia Robinson-Woods said the bill was developed without the input of either educators or people of color.
The head of the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board, Paula Lewis, tweeted that HB 1775 was “an outright racist and oppressive piece of legislation.”
This past week, the Oklahoma State Legislature passed HB 1775, an outright racist and oppressive piece of legislation. As a mom, community member, and the Chair of the OKCPS Board of Education, I am appalled at the flagrant, attempt to erase factual,
— Paula Lewis (@plewisokc) May 4, 2021
A statement from the commission did not indicate the reason for the parting, and a spokeswoman said the commission had no further comment.
“Elected officials, nor representatives of elected officials, were involved in this decision,” a Centennial Commission statement read. While the Commission is disheartened to part ways with Governor Stitt, we are thankful for the things accomplished together. The Commission remains focused on lifting up the story of Black Wall Street and commemorating the Centennial.”
Although the bill signing is not mentioned in the statements, the commission previously gave Stitt the option to resign from their ranks. Commissioner project manager Phil Armstrong also sharply criticized the Republican governor for signing a bill into law that prohibits the teaching of Critical Race Theory in Oklahoma schools, according to Oklahoma News 4.
Tulsa World reported on Stitt’s removal from the Centennial Commission, including the following statement from Stitt’s office:
“It is disappointing to see an organization of such importance spend so much effort to sow division based on falsehoods and political rhetoric two weeks before the centennial and a month before the commission is scheduled to sunset.
The governor and first lady will continue to support the revitalization of the Greenwood District, honest conversations about racial reconciliation and pathways of hope in Oklahoma.
We all know why Stitt was booted and are glad he is. This, however, only highlights the extensive use of caucasian rhetoric to undermine critical race theory or any teachings that highlight systemic racism in America’s history.