KIOSK NOTICE:

The Kiosk at Mitch Park in Edmond is currently down for maintenance. At this time, we don't have an estimated completion date.

Oral History: Lee Roland

Description:

Interviewee: Lee Roland (LR)

Interviewer: Hunter McPhail (HM)

 

HM: Okay so these are my questions I’m gonna ask, so what is your full name?

LR: My full name is Lee Roland.

HM: Okay, and do I have permission to record the interview?

LR: You do sir.

HM: So, when did you, when and why did you move to the JFK community area?

LR: I moved to the JFK area 11 years ago, the property value, we bought a double lot, built a home there and so here we were getting a building a brand new home on a very affordable lot so all of our money went into the home and then the area, it was so proximate to everything, so we love the location of our home proximate to downtown to the highways and what not and I also enjoy the fact of living in a community that was, I had a… good representation of people I share culture with and felt like we would find more neighborliness there than we had in other places where we lived where people uh that did not share our culture did not seem to be as inviting to chat with and do life with so.

HM: Where did you live previously?

LR: I lived out in Northwest Oklahoma City and for a few years and I also lived in Midwest city and so we bought purchased homes where as much house as we could afford and when we did, not too many people looked like us and in our cases they just weren’t as neighborly as we would have liked for some of them to be for our children and things like that they had swimming pools and things like that and didn’t invite our kids over to swim and things like that it was *sigh*.

HM: Yeah

LR: Yeah

HM: Well you mentioned that you liked the, how everyone shares your culture in the community well either talk more about that or besides that what do you like or dislike about the JFK area?

LR: I love the culture I love the fact that the people In my community they share, they share a history that that I have, which is in my case a black history and take great pride in the history that is worthy of celebration and they are they are I don’t know they have pains that we share as well and so people having that that made us feel more comfortable with those people with residents like that there were also people that were you know professional and so it was a very eclectic neighborhood its I really like that it has more diversity than I thought and I like the fact that it does have some rich history with some of the historical buildings and people that live there that has a culture that some of that is very celebrated.

HM: Is there anything that you dislike about it?

LR: Uh yeah, I did uh and still wish to see, personally some of the neighborhood become more aesthetically pleasing some of the houses I would like to see that house be painted or repaired the there’s not a lot of lighting there not a lot of plant in that way tree life that’s attractive and so walking path that just an area that where you could walk and feel like oh this is pretty safe you won’t have cars that will be coming by you at a high rate of speed and it’s just more physically attractive I’d like to see you know some walkway and they’re trying to improve that but that’s not happened as quickly as I like and I surely don’t like, or I think I’m answering the question I surely don’t like the fact that’s it’s not very proximate to businesses. One being two primary for me being neighborhood shopping the new store that they built that’s not really close its not far but I’d like to see something be a little closer even that you could just go and like a neighborhood Walmart of some sorts and restaurants uh there we have to go to Bricktown where you have to pay for parking.

HM: Yeah.

LR: Or you have to go to Midwest city or something like that you would’ve, I’m just shocked that we don’t have um restaurants uh barbeques uh chicken and Chinese.

HM: Local businesses

LR: Yeah I’m shocked that we don’t have those in the community that’s almost biking or walk walking distance.

HM: Do you know if there’s anyone in the community that’s been trying to uh start like any local businesses that you guys invest in or something like that?

LR: There have been some that have been trying to start there’s a local coffee [background noise] shop that we are celebrating that trying to patronize that facility there’s an apartment that multifamily dwelling that was built they put a gym and made that gym accessible to our neighbors but it’s a small gym and so there have been some that are trying to start but commercial uh property and loans for people to start those businesses uh we’re hearing stories that aren’t very encouraging about these people actually trying, or being able to secure funding loans to start those businesses and things like that just a little bit discouraging I don’t know how factual they are but I do believe them

HM: Okay, uh so tell me about like what the street you grew up on and how you kind of uh your area you grew up in.

LR: Well I grew up for some time not very far from there community that’s, it’s probably walking distance from where I grew up and it was mostly African American bunch of families that were kind of new to the American dream in that civil rights struggle these families wanting what’s good for their kids and our parents were mostly two parent um families I would say healthy two parent families is the where I grew up early in my childhood my family moved because my dad was a pastor moved to Spencer Oklahoma where he pastored that community that we lived in kind of went, or which is close to where we are now, or kind of went down with the social financial struggles of the time where people jobs and families that broke apart and all that so that area suffered some degree of flight from that to more prestigious looking housing and things like that and so I moved back as this area was making this resurgence and is making that resurgence but where I grew up in we were segregated by schools by law up until the sixth grade so we lived differently although you had some white residents you could not go to the same school so that was made things different than they are today, we have different cultures in our neighborhood and they can all go to the same school, I don’t know if they do or not we don’t have a school they’s children so we don’t know.

HM: Okay, um so now environmental questions, are what do you think is the most prevalent. environmental issue in the neighborhood to you?

LR: So the most prevalent uh environmental issue in my neighborhood bar none would be the blast, booms that we have in the area those booms are… alarming they are on the scale of I don’t know probably what they are hearing over in Ukraine right now we just don’t have that damage. But the sound the blast of it is powerful it sounds like it sounds like something has just ran into our garage, a car it feels like a car just running (clap) through it we’ve had my grandson awakened with the blasts we’ve had I’ve sat in chairs in zoom meetings upstairs in my home the chair has literally moved with the blast so the environmental issue bar none is the blasts the second one would be this air quality that south wind days is we’ve been told its not harmful the odor and the look we want that proven and we do have some people doing some testing right now.

HM: Is the odor like emission kind of like odor or like can you kind of like?

LR: Yeah yeah yeah.

HM: Okay, with emissions.

LR: It’s a fume that I mean you can see it you can touch it and we’ve been told its not harmful but I would say something I’ve done is not harmful too probably if somebody asked me, so.

HM: We had there was somebody in your community that they went up on top of one of the buildings by there and took an over panel picture and you can see the kind of the smog area of that, is that like when your on some days whether that’s like where you’re saying the wind is that very noticeable like that you can like when your down below it can you kind of see the smog like you know?

LR: Oh I mean It’s easy to see.

HM: Okay.

LR: Yeah yeah Its easy to see, it would be on it’d be almost on parallel with just like a… a smoke that from something that’s burning in terms of visual uh it’s not a dark smoke but it’s a visible.

HM: Like a haze?

LR: Uh huh, Oh yeah.

HM: okay um what physical effects have you been through while living in the community like crack in the walls, layers of dust, etcetera?

LR: All the above we have a grandson and on those days that south wind… we are concerned with him playing outdoors and so a lot of times we will [background noise] limit whatever, or and he loves to be outdoors like I do or so we’ll limit that. We do have cracks in our structure we’ve had people out to take picture of that, we have a two story home and I think it takes a greater impact on that two story structure so we got some cracks there, in our home we’ve had some alignment issues with doors and whatnot.

HM: Okay, What environmental problems have you witnessed in your community?

LR: Um.

HM: You mentioned like those booms and that where’s that coming from or…

LR: Yeah that boom is coming from a car crushing plant that is south of us we have done everything that we know and contacted all kinds of authorities: mayor, city council, legislators… the news has run numerous stories in newspaper and whatnot um we’ve met with those with the company that does the car crushing. They told our representatives that they’re are doing the best they can they don’t like it damages their equipment um they’re saying the impact on your structure is kind of like a pop as opposed to a boom they don’t live in our community probably the most disappointing thing that they’ve shared with our board president and vice president is that friends we were here first and we were zoned for to do the work we do and we want you to know on no uncertain terms this is not going away.

HM: Oh wow.

LR: M it it’s not going away, now they have since started erecting some kind of wall that supposed to mitigate that impact on our homes um that’s yet to be seen they told us uh we had a community meeting that they were in attendance um where they were that they attended and they told us that this such wall was built in a similar car crushing manufacture or whatever in Houston and its been very effective there and that it um will no doubt be the same here and again that’s yet to be seen

HM: So is that, are those booms those are how often? Is that like every day is it once a week?

LR: They were probably 3 to 4 times a day I think with our pounding and the authorities looking into it, the fire departments ultra whatever we’ve contacted that has caused them to be more diligent about inspecting the vehicles, but as we I understand it they come in crushed so if it has this propane tank in it they can’t eliminate that and so they’ve done something to probably lessen it, but we probably now still average with all the work we’ve done gradually reduced it where it’s probably down to two to three a week

HM: Okay.

LR: Maybe, but there are weeks where it might be four weeks where there may be a couple but somewhere in that range.

HM: Okay have you witnessed any other environmental problems besides the haze and the booms.

LR: I believe none besides the trains that run behind my house in between in our neighborhood those whistles are very very loud at one point they were running night and day and we petitioned not, and pleaded and begged with officials and they got that to where that was just during the daytime hours and so it’s not as much of a nuisance at night now, that train is pretty loud our builder told us that that train was going to become a trolley which would’ve been almost kind of fun to have in your community running from Oklahoma City to Midwest City. And that so we understand the train we’ve accepted that now that it usually comes by once a day goes usually four or five cars and it goes one direction 30 minutes later it comes back. And its not nearly the nuisance that it was when, that was probably we’ve been there eleven years so… seven of those years or so that whistle was night and day and so two or three in the morning that train was that whistle was blowing.

HM: Yeah.

LR: It seemed to be that they were laying on that horn.

HM: Yeah.

LR: Bro it was difficult.

HM: Yeah, one of my classmates they mentioned that when they were walking around with one of the interviewees that there’s a lot of oil rigs everywhere like where they could see every street corner you sit on, do you have any problems with those any issues with those?

LR: Yeah to me you know those are an eyesore for one, number two being that close to our homes what environmental issue is that for us if we knew what we didn’t know? What safety issue is that for kids who might get rambunctious and wanna go and play with those things there not to my knowledge operational they’re just there and their…

HM: So they’re not being used at all? They’re just kind of there?

LR: Not to my knowledge I think they’re just there now I don’t I walk by them I ride by them but I don’t live next to them so I don’t know I don’t see them (chh chh chh, Oil rig sound)  I don’t see that action, no

HM: How do you think environmental racism has affected you?

LR: Maybe an answer that you…

HM: That’s kind of a broad question I know but.

LR: Okay good good.

HM: I understand.

LR: cause my answer may be that what its done for me is for me personally what its done is to tell me that.. we had a, there was a saying when I was a kid and I’m 62 years old there was a saying when I was a kid that says if you’re white your right…

HM: M.

LR: If your black get back, if your brown stick around…

HM: M.

LR: Suggesting, implying that white came with it favoritism you were the right ethnic group and things would go well for you if your black you need to get back it is not gonna go well for you, you were born the unchosen one. Thinking that that’s just a silly saying among some kids that somebody picked it up somewhere and that saying is and that thinking is dead and gone this suggests otherwise that if you’re black, you’re not gonna tell me we would have these issues if we looked differently.

HM: M.

LR: That’s, I mean you couldn’t convince me otherwise unless we looked otherwise and we were away from the city area in one of these small towns where people are just poor and it’s a city, a community that’s dying and nobody cares about.

HM: Yeah

LR: And we see a lot of that happen where small town is dying because of industry and people are moving to the city but, I you cant tell that people that look differently in the city proper would face these issues, you couldn’t convince me of this they have the power the favor with officials to get those kind of necessary changes made and so we see communities north of us who I don’t know how they go about it but they petition and say “we don’t want a Walmart in our community” and one is not built they say they don’t want something there and it doesn’t happen

HM: So you think there’s a favoritism towards the predominately white communities like towards getting what they want when they do these commissions and petitions and rather than what your guy’s community gets when you guys do it, because when you said you complained about the trains you said that took seven years is what it took? You think the other communities that face those issues that are predominately white that they can that that goes away faster and like all of you know?

LR: I don’t think there’s any comparison something that is a significant issue would get the attention and action of the city in the city proper area once you get out of the major metro area, roads and stop signs issues they seem to that seems to be a battle that any group can face. In a major metropolitan area, I haven’t been to Detroit where that water was so harmful but what we know and when we ask the questions of our city leaders they have been kind enough to indulge our community in at least some neighborhood, what do we call them town house discussions. They themselves told us that you don’t see these blast booms in anywhere in the country in predominantly white middle class resident areas. So, they told us that so I don’t believe this is something I am dreaming up I believe this is just a unfortunate truth that where a red lining has taken place it still manifests itself today. We’re looking, we’re having the discussion in America about gentrification and all that kind of stuff and that can unfortunately come and make changes and get some things repaired but if those people continue to look the same I’m not aware of where cities have volunteered, not volunteered I haven’t seen where cities have taken the action to be assertive in going to those communities and making certain that sidewalks are the same as they are in the other part of town, I’m sure this is well it may not be news to you, but for the people listening, the life expectancy in my community versus a community north of us is 18 year and that’s research proven that’s what the independent health researchers proven there’s a 18 year life expectancy gap that’s not just because people got some bad habits that’s because the environment, be it the services and the environment and the all the things rolled into together contribute to that life expectancy gap.

HM: Okay.  To you what does environmental justice mean?

LR: Environmental justice to me means that the powers that be our city elected officials are attended and take action wherever they see that the environment in one community is below the standards of another community and so the environmental justice means that we look at the environment that these people live in and if it’s not one that I would want to live in as an elected official then I don’t want someone else to live in that and I will take the proper actions to make certain that their streets their quality of their environment is the same as mine.

HM: Where do you like to spend your time in the neighborhood?

LR: My yard is my favorite place to spend my time. The, there's a golf course that's basically in our community and I love to go over there and, and play golf. I'm also a biker and a runner and so I love to be outdoors. So, almost any place outdoors. When it's summertime, I'll mow my yard probably every three days. I like my yard looking well-kept and so I love being outdoors. My grandson spends a lot of times with, a lot of time with us, loves to be outdoors so any place outdoors. Again, I'd love to see those issues taken care of. I'd love to see the, the status be improved.

HM: So you'd say that you're, even with all the things you've listed, you're still comfortable and happy living in JFK?

LR: If you ask my spouse the same questions, you’d get a different answer. I would not say that I'm, I would not say that I'm comfortable living in JFK because of those issues. Those environmental issues make me want to holler, and probably… and I do have interest in leaving just because of that. My spouse is beyond interest, has my spouse would go yesterday if she, if we could, she would love to leave. What I do still have some… what I still like is its proximity to downtown. Its proximity to, we went to the Thunder game last night, so I'm five minutes away. So I like the proximity to downtown again, and I love living with people that I share a culture with, so I'm ambivalent, I'm torn. But if I could get my home in another community, I'd probably, we built the house 10 years ago, it's about I want to say 2,300 square feet, if I could get my house, my payment, in another area because of those booms and that air quality issue, we, I’d probably do it without thinking.

HM: Well, to add onto that, would you say that you're content or happy with like, with raising your kids in that, in that area, and, and you're saying your grandson, having your grandson there, and would you say you're happy they lived in that community and would you have changed anything?

LR: I don't want to be a hypocrite. I probably would not have raised my kids. They're, my kids are grown. The, the total accumulation of the issues in the neighborhood, I would not have raised our children, our grandchild is there a lot, but that's not his home.

HM: Okay. How's JFK changed over the years?

LR: Since I’ve been there in the 11 years, I would not want to offend a resident that's been there longer than, than us. And so, if they hear this, I beg their forgiveness. (HM: It was over the past 10 years that you’ve been there?) But in the past 10 years that that we've been there, we've seen the neighborhood make some, some progress. And the neighbors, some of the neighbors joining the Neighborhood Association and our Neighborhood Association president and leadership are very, very genuine, just great people so they look after neighbors and, and report “Hey, hi, how's this neighbor doing? Has anybody heard from her or seen her?” I would say that's probably progress, a step in the right direction. It has. It has. In the 10 years I've been there, it’s diversified and there have been some Caucasian families that have moved there and I believe that's a plus for any community to have diversity for, that you have different kinds of people can have a majority or whatever. But I think different incomes, different ethnic groups, religious groups, I think that's how they should be and I think that has changed for the better, I think, since we've been residents there.

HM: Okay. This is just here in our notes. So, I was going to, the wall, that, that wall noise barrier from the, the booms. So you said that's been built?

LR: It is being.

HM: Its being built

LR: Yeah.

HM: Okay. That's just something, I think other people have complained about that, too. That was just here. And I just wanted to make sure that it was, because it says, it says, because it was acting like it's already been built, but it's just being built, and

LR: I don't believe it's complete yet.

HM: Yeah.

LR: I don't believe it's complete.

HM: Have you participated in the Brownfields projects?

LR: What is the Brownfields projects?

HM: I don’t know, I was just, that was just on here too. But

LR: I, I think I've participated in everything that you can over there, but I don't know it by that name, but everything that we do for the betterment of the community, I try to participate in it.

HM: Okay. How has the recycling plant affected your life?

LR: So if it, if you wanted a one hour answer, it would be bad. More than one S-word. Horribly disruptive to us both, I would say mentally and physically. That's going to, if and when we sell, if and when we decide to make some repairs, we have done it once. We've had some cracks and whatnot sealed and painted. So that's cost me a monetary price and, and then, I can't, I can't do justice. You'd have to experience some of the booms to see how frightening that could be. And I have someone that is near and dear to me that suffers anxiety issues, and the person describing this is basically a panic. Well, when any of us are frightened all of a sudden, whatever goes on in you physiologically when you are frightened like that, can't be good.

HM: Mm-hm.

LR: Okay, and so that's what, that's what we experience and it's a very unpleasant feeling is to think someone is breaking into your, your house or whatever, that's, that's a panic feeling, and it can't be good for you in any way.

HM: Just sounds like an explosion every time in your neighborhood when it goes off.

LR: Yeah, but, but, again, the explosion, it's, it sounds like it is happening to, to the people that, this is just my version, it's, it's happening at your house though.

HM: Yeah.

LR: So it's not like

HM: Distance or anything.

LR: The war movies that we hear and you know that's over there. It sounds like the intruder is breaking into your house. And so I don't know if that's, you know, different than war and I, I don't even want to compare the two, but out of respect for our friends in Ukraine or our veterans and whatnot, but it sounds like, the boom sounds like your house is being

HM: Yeah, it sounds like its being hit by something.

LR: Yeah and the next house is feeling the same thing. So it's, it's pretty, long.

HM: On a personal level each time, it's not just like, “Oh, that's the train whistle” or that it's, it's like there.

LR: Exactly. Exactly.

HM: How do you think the landfills affected your life in the community?

LR: I think that has, has the soil I think is probably impacted and they're working in concert together to cause property damage. The high school, Douglas High School, which was only, I don't know, it's not very old. They're very proud. Reconstruction, rebuilt high school. They're suffering some, some damage there and I've seen the pictures of the damage. It is horrifying that this new school that was supposed to be built on the east side where predominantly Black school, if not 95%, or whatever, this school is having those kinds of. So it's affected our property, and, and we don't know what else. And does that affect that 18 year life expectancy gap with what's in that dirt and things like that? We don't know.

HM: Okay. You mentioned the soil. Are you, were you working with, or did they take any, or did the other classes with us take any soil samples from your yard? Or, you know, which?

LR: We granted them consent to do it and so I move around in my day quite a bit, so I'm not sure if they did it or not, but we sure did grant them consent.

HM: Okay. Um, here’s one of the final questions. What are your hopes for the future and addressing your concerns or what solutions or actions do you want to see implemented?

LR: I would like to see the plant relocated. (HM: The car plant?) Uh huh. (HM: Okay.) And any such kind of operations that emit gases, odors, sounds that are harmful. I don't think you could, nobody wants to move but if we have one business and hundreds of residents, it just makes sense to me that the one business would, would be relocated. I'd like to see that property damage that's taken place, some compensation for that or repairs made, they don't have to compensate, just go in, survey the structure, look at it and say, “Oh, you got a crack in your driveway that could have likely come from this soil and from this blast,” this shifts, there's no way in the world those cracks would be there without it. So I'd like to see those, that structure go away, that facility go away. I'd like to see people's property repaired at no cost to them. I'd like to see them take some of that and try to do something with the way of some tree planting, park. Give us the kind of park that some other people have that's big and beautiful and safe and clean.

HM: Okay. That's, I have one more. Do you have anybody else that we should be interviewing? Or can you recommend anybody else?

LR: I think that, I think the people that I know of that were willing, that were interested, that were knowledgeable, I think there was no shortage of hands that went up. My next-door neighbor, I don't remember if she volunteered or not, I'd love to talk with her first, and see if she would consent to interviewing. She's been there quite a while.

HM: I think we're gonna put up, we're making forms and things to hang up on, hang up around the area. So I think we're going to be doing that, so she'll be able to find one of those or,

LR: Well, I'm gonna, (HM: You can get back to me if you want or whatever.) Okay. And I'll ask her. We, we were actually some of the newbies being there just the 11 years. So, I don't really know. And some of the people we knew that were there longer have left and are deceased and so, but I know she's a fairly long-time resident. There's another neighbor that's been there a long time and I think you all are interviewing her. I will ask both of them. They've been there a long time.

HM: Okay. I just was thinking, I just thought of what you're talking about earlier. Do you, how do you think you’re, do you think you're being affected either like negatively or whatever by gentrification? I just, you mentioned that earlier. 

LR: I don't think I fit in the norm in my community of the people I know, I don't know that I fit in the norm. I would rather see, if I only have two choices, gentrif- gentrification or eyesore, I probably would take gentrification. I hate, abhor, dislike run-down structures and whatnot. There is a, there is a old theater in our community, it used to be a movie theater. My mom went to that movie theater when she was a child growing up and it's just been boarded up for as long as I can remember. I'd rather see it become, I'd rather see it become a nice apartment or, or (HM: Somebody make it into a movie theater again or something) make it into a movie theater that, that's, I don't know. It's not cheap, or whatever to get in there, whatever. But I'd rather see it be that than to be just, that's where I live and where I live, I want it to be, I want to take my guests from out of town, family members into my community and they're, they, they're impressed, “Oh, I like your, your, your neighborhood.” And so I don't think I'm in the norm in that some people say no gentrification, but I don't know that they have an option. If I had an option, yes, we’d put affordable living for people that were already living there. They could, they could continue living there. Their area just looks much nicer. But I haven't seen that be a ubiquitous thing in America. I seen that happen where they come in with some kind of programs, and they've made some kind of cost living where people could do that. And if that could happen, it would definitely be my preference.

HM: So you think there's just a negative stigmatism as like a norm for gentrification in the community? Just,

LR: Yeah, I think, I think we found words, that the words carry meanings that when you look at their… Very, very blanketed statements and it's taken on a connotation that is not necessarily the denotation. But the connotation saying that this is negative and was just blanketed. I don't think everything is necessarily gentrification, it's change. And sometimes that change, sometimes that change has probably been for the betterment of a lot of people, but we throw that term out there and gentrification’s connotation means you pushed this group out so this group could come and, and have that, and it was, it was, it was, it was intentional, it was all harmful. I don't know that in, and I know it happens, I know that has happened and when that happens I think that is unfortunate. But again, my personal view, if this was a drug house, and people were just been making meth here, and then this place right here, people have just been climbing through the window sleeping there, doing human trafficking there, I would rather see that demolished. And I don't care what you put there, that's better than that. I want it there. So put a church there, put a school there, but don't leave that structure in that community and if you, whatever name you want to call that, me personally, you call it that. I don't want some little girls drug over there and harmed and whatever.

HM: Well, since I've, I've lived in here, I've lived Bethany my whole life. Just in the past six, seven years, that whole, the entire downtown has just completely changed through gentrification or whatever. And yours, so you just want your community to kind of be part of that change where, I'm trying to think of like the Paseo district down there, they are, that used to be, that used to, there really used to be like nothing there. And now it's like a big, everyone goes there, they all go to the pizza places and all that stuff. You want your kind of community to kind of be a part of that getting business, some businesses there, kind of,

LR: Yeah. I don't, I don't want,

(HM: A park.)

LR: Yeah, I don't want to see the $1,800 apartment come in.

(HM: Yeah.)

LR: And the kid or the young family that was trying to have an affordable living, and I don't want to see that. So I don't, I don't, I don't want to see that, what do you call it, area there? I don't want to see that sort of thing happen. Every home torn down and the house is built there because it's now in this district, it's a $400,000 house. And if that's gentrification, nope. I'm against that, but something affordable and reasonable, torn down. Absolutely. Remove that.

HM: Yeah, you just don't want anything coming in that's making people have to move out or like have to pay more just to live there.

LR: No, yeah. Because, you know, I'm a professional man. $600,000 mortgage is not reasonable or affordable or wise to me. And if I couldn't live there, heaven forbid someone else with less marketability, how, I don't want to see that. And so I can't afford it, I basically I want, I want for other people, the same thing that I want for me. And I don't want myself, I don't want to be harmed, I want things to be fair to me, and that's what I want for the next, for the next person.

HM: Well, do you have any final statements or any final remarks you want to make?

LR: Yeah, in case you don't know it, I'm a bit loquacious and I do have opinions, and, and one being that I am delighted. Well, let me share a story about where you grew up in and where I live. And then we’ll wrap up. Where you grew up in, I have a colleague, I'm a retired principal, and my friend was a principal, so we were both principals at the time. And I was at his house in Bethany, a fairly, not fairly, very modest neighborhood. And my friend and I was standing outside. I was borrowing, actually his bike rack, to transport my new bike out to my house and so we’re standing out in his yard. His dog, little puppy, house dog, he let it out the house. It ran over to the next-door neighbor's yard, was sniffing, it was in the front yard, it was no more than 30 feet from him. And the animal control drove by. And they stopped. And my neighbor, I mean, my, my colleague, said, “Hey, hey, hey, hey, that's my dog. I just let him out. He's good. He's good.” and everything, and they said, “All right, good day.” Maybe just a coincidence, I've never seen animal control in my neighborhood. I've seen animals run around in packs in my neighborhood. And I've never seen animal control. So that's kind of back to this environment, how we take care of one group or whatever, whatever. Thought that was interesting.

LR: My closing comments to you, Hunter, would be that I am extremely grateful to see a university take on a study like this. So whoever’s idea it was to say “Let's look at this. This, there’s a discrepancy here of how people are living.” And so I applaud that, I am grateful for that. But unfortunately, you, a young man, my hope is on your shoulders. Because my peers, which would be about my age, I don't believe there’s enough of them that justice, equity, fairness is a matter of concern. And for that I'm saddened. If you read the book Caste, in the book Caste, I read that book about the origins of our discontent like, I can’t think of the name of it, but the book Caste. I read the book, and it talks about America doesn't have as much of a race problem as it does a caste problem. And the author explains the caste system in India and just juxtaposes it to America, talks about Germany and how they did the, the Jews, and it was basically a caste system of its own there. After reading the book, I listened to a podcast. This is as important as anything I say on here or more. I want you to take this to heart. I want you to hear this. I’m read, I'm listening to the podcast, Oprah, Oprah Winfrey is interviewing the author and they're talking about it and they have other people that are talking about the book, Caste. I'm guessing 15 or so people were interviewed. And I'll never forget, I told this story in a news article that I wrote for a school district that I was employed with.

LR: I’m driving to Tulsa listening to this, and so, as you know being from Oklahoma City, in the morning I’m driving into the sun. And this, this paradox of sorts, as I’m driving into the sun, listening to people ask the question, “Will you see casteism or racism, injustice-ism, ended in your lifetime?” I’m driving into the sun and tears begin to come down my face, and I’m not a crier, as I listen to people, some your age say, “I don’t think we’re going to see that end in my lifetime.” And for, that was heartbreaking to hear twenty-somethings, and I’m sure some were older, some said they were hopeful. But for everyone who said they were not hopeful that this will change, it was just heartbreaking to me that these issues that we should have, as evolving creatures we call ourselves, learning better or knowing better. We know what’s harmful to eat, we know it’s better to exercise, we know it’s better to not smoke. As we evolve to see us actually backpedaling on how we treat one another. I think it’s sickening, and I leave this with you, young man. My hope is on your watch as you live life and seeing things through your eyes, I hope you’ve seen enough that says this is not right. So whether or not I’m a lawyer, I’m a doctor, I’m a law enforcement, I’m a pastor, whatever it is, I’m hoping that you and your peers will say nope, nope nope, that’s gotta die with the old folk. And we’re gonna bury it and keep it there.

The materials in this collection are for study and research purposes only. To use these digital files in any form, please use the credit "Courtesy of Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County" to accompany the image.