2019 Letter from Mayor of Tulsa, GT Bynum

11/2/18 2:03:15 PM — Portraits of Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum for City of Tulsa.
Photo by Shane Bevel

In 2018, Tulsa’s first Equality Indicators Report was released to establish a statistical baseline for understanding Inequality in our city. While the report did not contain new revelations for many Tulsans, it did allow us to move out of the realm of anecdotes and gut feel and into a community-wide conversation more in in informed by standardized data.

Tulsa made great strides in the last few years in acknowledging disparities that exist in our community, but acknowledgment is not enough. As a city, we are taking an active approach in applying an equitable focus to everything we do.

Since the 2018 Equality Indicators Report was released, we unveiled Tulsa’s first resilience strategy focusing on racial equity. With 41 tangible actions within the Resilient Tulsa Strategy, we created the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Equity to help with the implementation of the action items, which will help create a more inclusive and equitable future for all Tulsans.

We also launched the New Tulsans Initiative, which fosters connections between all immigrants and long-term residents. With 26 goals to help build a more cohesive Tulsa, we are celebrating and valuing our diverse cultures in our city by implementing specific policies, programs and practices to remove barriers and promote social inclusion of immigrants and their families into civic life.

Tulsa is leading by example by using an equity lens in everything we do, from economic and community development projects to transportation routes, park programming, community policing, and stronger partnerships with our schools and non-profit community. Tulsa is taking steps to improve and solve the issues we face as a community, but we know we cannot grow as a city by being complacent.

The Equality Indicators have helped provide an outlet to create meaningful dialogue regarding justice issues and the dialogue needs to continue. In 2019, the Tulsa City Council is hosting special meetings about justice to delve deeper into public safety arrests, use of force and officer recruitment. The Equality Indicators compare use of force number to population while other data compare use of force numbers to the number of arrests. Regardless of the data set, all Tulsans benefit from this dialogue.

In its second year, the Equality Indicators Report will continue to serve its intended purpose – which is not as the document that solves all of our problems, but rather as one that illuminates the problems we have so we can address them collectively.

As we work to address problems that have plagued our city for generations, we know everything won’t change overnight. Only by consistent, deliberate work together will we realize the city we want Tulsa to be. This, the second edition of the Tulsa Equality Indicators, is part of the City of Tulsa’s commitment to that work and to our ultimate goal of a city where every Tulsan has an equal opportunity for a great life.

Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum