Legislator, activist pushing for Greenwood District license plates to help fund Juneteenth

    Legislator, activist pushing for Greenwood District license plates to help fund Juneteenth (KTUL)

    TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- A Tulsa lawmaker is taking a creative approach to share the history of Black Wall Street.

    An amended bill has made its way through the committee, which would allow a specialty license plate for the Greenwood District.

    On a Sunday afternoon, foot traffic, or really any traffic is minimal in the Greenwood District.

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    "There isn't a whole lot for them to do and a whole lot for people to see," Glory Well said. "I think if we got more people here it would be a different experience."

    Wells works at her dads restaurant, Wanda J's, in the district.

    It is one of just a few restaurants in the area.

    "There's a lot of empty buildings so there is a lot of potential for people down here," She said.

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    Over the last nearly 100 years there has been a strong push to make the Greenwood District what it once was.

    In 2011, Michael Reed, a north Tulsa activist, came up with the idea to create a district license plate as a fundraiser.

    "We didn't have enough applications," he said.

    Now that we are nearing the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, Reed decided it was time to try again.

    "More people are trying to change the issues north Tulsa has and the Greenwood District," Reed said.

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    State Representative Regina Goodwin has amended a current bill, which if passed, would allow Oklahomans to buy one of the license plates.

    "Of the $35, $25 of that goes to Juneteenth, eight dollars goes to the tax commission and two dollars goes to school supplies," Goodwin said.

    The Juneteenth celebration, which commemorates the freedom from slavery, brought in about 70,000 people last year. Just the traffic this area needs.

    Goodwin says with the money from the license plate, can become something even more.

    "It is to identify the area, celebrate the area and it is really important that the celebration is in the Greenwood District," she said.

    Goodwin says the bill stipulates that the license plates would only help fund Juneteenth as long as the celebration remains in the Greenwood District.

    "It gives them something to be proud of saying hey I invested in something for my community and not just for my community but this big festival," President/CEO of Juneteenth Sherry Gamble Smith said.

    If the bill is passed, the district would need at least 100 people to buy the tag.

    Goodwin says she will know this week if the bill will be heard on the floor.

    A sketch of the tag should be presented soon.

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