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Tulsa Race Massacre survivors respond to reparations dismissal

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Race Massacre survivors and their legal team responded to the Friday dismissal of a lawsuit seeking reparations for the 1921 attack.

Judge Caroline Wall dismissed the case from three survivors, who are now more than 100 years old, looking for reparations for the city and others for the destruction of what used to be Black Wall Street in the Greenwood District.

The Massacre Survivors’ legal team has said they plan to appeal this decision in a news conference Monday.

“Even here in Oklahoma where we know we have a conservative Supreme Court but we believe the law and facts are so clear any judge that’s looking at the documents will say this is what the law requires,” said Damario Solomon-Simmons, the attorney representing the survivors.

Solomon-Simmons said he was surprised by Judge Wall’s ruling. He read a statement on behalf of the survivors saying they won’t stop fighting.

“We will not go quiet. We will continue to fight until our last breaths like so many Black Americans we carry the weight of racial issues day in and day out,” he read.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum spoke with the KRMG Morning News with Dan Potter on Monday in response to the judge’s ruling.

“I don’t think that you would find anyone, at least that I’m aware of in Tulsa, who’s going to argue that the victims of the Race Massacre should be done right. The challenge is do you financially penalize this generation of Tulsans for something that criminals did a century ago?” he said.

Solomon-Simmons is calling on President Joe Biden and the U.S. Department of Justice to do a federal investigation into the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

The lawsuit, on behalf of Lessie Benningfield Randle, Viola Fletcher, and Hughes Van Ellis, was brought under Oklahoma’s public nuisance law, saying the actions of the white mob that killed hundreds of Black residents and destroyed what had been the nation’s most prosperous Black business district continue to affect the city today.

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