NICHOLS HILLS (Oklahoma) — With pots, pans, and wooden spoons, protesters took to a part of the Oklahoma City metro that is not used to hearing the sounds of protest.
About 30 protesters from across racial lines gathered in Nichols Hills Friday evening to march through what many believe to be the most secure bastion of old wealth in the metro.
The action, called “White Silence is Violence,” was intended to heighten awareness of the plight of others in the city who are less fortunate.
Certainly as the night wore on and protesters wound their way through Nichols Hills neighborhoods, residents were at the least yanked out of their comfort zones.
Traffic through some parts of the city slowed to a crawl and unusual noises only heard on TV before were now live out on some people’s streets.
Marchers carried several bullhorns with a siren feature that was used liberally throughout the evening. It created a sound environment that is a normal thing in the inner city but not in a place where wealth keeps emergencies to a minimum.
Adrianna Laws, by now a true veteran of protests in the metro, talked with Free Press just before giving her opening pep talk in the parking lot just outside Trader Joes in the Nichols Hills Plaza about why the action had been organized.
“They don’t have to worry about the plight of everyday, marginalized people,” said Laws about residents of Nichols Hills. “They don’t have to see us, you know?”
“And so, today, it’s kind of to open their eyes and let them know white silence is violence,” she continued. “The more that we see government and law enforcement agencies attacking marginalized communities and you don’t say anything, you’re a part of the problem that makes you complicit.”
Elizabeth Okeke and her daughter Laila were present with pans and spoons in hand ready to make noise and they talked about their motives for being at the protest Friday.
“This is the epitome of where everybody comes, they feel safe. They get to grocery shop. They stand in lines. And they’re fine with it,” Elizabeth Okeke said about residents of Nichols Hills. “I’m sure some of them have some quote/unquote black friends. But even just being here tonight – being present – you can see how bothered they are by it just by mere presence.
We counted around about 15 people standing around the edges of the parking lot angrily talking on their phones or tapping out messages.
“And the bills that have just gotten passed [in the Oklahoma Legislature] where we can’t even do this safely and not worry about getting arrested, worry about going to jail and paying 1,000s of dollars in fines …. So, we have to keep coming out because they can’t scare us like that,” Elizabeth said.
In her kick-off speech Laws seemed to sum up the reasoning for the action we heard from a number of people throughout the evening:
“They [Nichols Hill residents] don’t have to deal with marginalized people,” Laws said through a bullhorn. They don’t have to deal with the issues of marginalizing. However, some of the most important decision makers and influencers in Oklahoma and Oklahoma County, Oklahoma City and all over the state, some of them live right here.”
Tricia Everest home
The group chanted and banged pots and pans as they made their way to what they said was Tricia Everest’s home. Everest was the chair of the Jail Trust until her resignation Friday as she took up the role of Secretary of Public Safety for Oklahoma Governor Stitt.
Marchers rehearsed some of the grievances they had about Everest, the biggest being the deaths in the Jail under her tenure as chair of the Jail Trust.
Joined by Second Amendment protesters
A well-known Second Amendment protester in Oklahoma City, Tim Harper arrived carrying a handgun and an assault rifle as was his friend Rick Hubbard.
After Harper and Hubbard reassured marchers that they were not there to disrupt the action but to take part, Free Press talked with Harper about what he was doing there.
“We’re going to have a very peaceful protest,” Harper insisted. “We’re going to watch the beauty of people exercising their First Amendment rights out here in public. We support what they’re saying – what they’re doing.”
“And we’re exercising our Second Amendment rights as well in a city that doesn’t support rights,” Harper told us. “They don’t like us exercising our rights in their city.”
Circle and then back
Marchers stopped for a moment in front of the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club at the geographic and social center of Nichols Hills, and rehearsed their disdain for the people who are members and who disregard the needs of black people among them.
The group then marched without incident back to the Nichols Hills Plaza although shadowed by a few the whole evening.
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Last Updated May 1, 2021, 8:26 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor