Greenwood kids are always best suited to carry ancestral torches.
Published November 22, 2020 | Read time 4 minutes 27 seconds
Opinion by Tyrance Billingsley II, Contributor
Five-year-old Arianne is working on technology, sitting in front of a mural dedicated to her father, Stephon Simon, and others in the community. The murals sponsored by MetroT-Mobile include truck batons that are passed down from generation to generation. | Photo by Corey Young of the Black Wall Street Times on Thursday, November 19, 2020
Almost 100 years ago, Tulsa’s prosperous shadow economy was leveled by a hateful mob. These armed vigilantes, fueled by racism and indifferent to humanity, inflicted socio-economic injuries that did not heal almost a century later. I don’t know what Oklahoma was — if Black Wall Street was supported instead of destroyed. The phrase “cut off your nose and bully your face” doesn’t feel very strong here, but it works. In 1921, a thriving economic hub of innovation and entrepreneurship was stolen from all Oklahoma offspring.
We have a responsibility to learn from the past, but it’s not just the mistakes of the past. It’s time to truly study the innovations that catalyzed Blackwall Street and made it prosperous in the face of racism and disfranchisement during the Jim Crow era.
Today, we live in a society where technology is having a major impact on our economy and the world. Less than 30% of the industry is POC (or Women, or LatinX). And if we really believe that a fair and just economy is a strong economy, our current system is counterintuitive.
Tulsa is always in a position to be what it should be, a hub for innovation led by the black community. Or what I call “Black Tech Street”.
For the past 13 months, industry leaders and philanthropist giants have heard my vision of how to make Black Tech Street a reality. Built on a foundation built by Black Wall Street’s economic pioneers, Black Tech Street provides a self-sustaining ecosystem of black talent, business and technological progress, improving every aspect of the economy. Black Tech Street’s main objective is to promote $ 1 billion in investment through grants, community development, entrepreneurship, education, culture and attraction, and a decade of workforce development. Tulsa will be the ultimate source of highly sought after investment opportunities, talent and innovation.
Tulsa approaches the idea of ”what could be done” that lives in the hearts of all who are the heirs of the heritage of the original Greenwood community.
As the son of Greenwood, this vision is very personal to me. I know the untapped potential that exists within my community. Greenwood kids are always best suited to carry ancestral torches. The leaders we need are already here. That’s why Black Tech Street is more than just an economic venture. It’s my way to pay tribute to all the people who came before me when my dreams were shortened and to all who are fighting with me in a world of unjustified systematic barriers-between COVID A barrier that disproportionately endangered black-owned companies in 19 Pandemics. But with the efforts of Black Tech Street, Tulsa’s black community is ready to survive the upcoming storm.
Our ancestors laid the foundation for our success outside the 1921 brick and mortar rubble. We have everything needed to build a strong denial of ignorance that maliciously robbed (and was inadvertently destined) of the dreams and lives of the Greenwood community Oklahoma is in a flyover state Known as). We are not leading the country in attracting POC industry professionals, businesses and cultural events, but we do. This is Tulsa’s chance to pretend that the world is seeing during the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race next year. Stop playing and start playing.
Tyrance Billingsley is a contributor to The Black Wall Street Times, an entrepreneurial and politically active African-American in Tulsa. He remained in Tulsa after graduating from high school, aiming to establish a local position and build Tulsa, which was once for all citizens, into a global hub. Tyrance is very passionate about Tulsa and wants to use Tulsa as a starting point for global change.
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