Three living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre are set to be gifted $100,000 each from the Justice for Greenwood Foundation. The survivors and recipients of the Foundation’s gift, Mother Viola Fletcher, Mother Lessie Benningfield Randle, and Hughes Van Ellis recently testified before Congress asking lawmakers to acknowledge the reality of racial violence in America and to make adequate reparations.
“This gift for the survivors of the Tulsa massacre shows that we have the power to demand justice for Black communities in Tulsa and all across the country,” Justice for Greenwood Foundation founder and executive director Damario Solomon Simmons said. The gift was the result of a partnership between the Foundation supporters, Color of Change, and nationwide fundraising.
“I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street, I still smoke and see fire,” Mother Fletcher told lawmakers last month, she was 7 years old at the time of the massacre, but still recalls the horrific violence. “I still see Black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams. I have lived through the massacre every day.”
Mother Fletcher’s brother, Van Ellis, told lawmakers the two-day Massacre left their family “with nothing.” “We were made refugees in our own country,” the 100-year-old testified.
A centennial commemoration was held earlier this week to honor the victims, their descendants, and call to actions for the community. President Joe Biden unveiled a multi-part approach to address economic inequality that stemmed from racial violence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
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