Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: August 10, 2016
Sen. Kevin Matthews
Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus issues statement
on alleged racist incident and attempted cover-up at CareerTech
Members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus issued
the following statement Wednesday in reaction to reports of an incident
at last week’s CareerTech Summer Conference in Oklahoma City
alleging a retiring black educator who was to be recognized for
his service was presented with a white robe, hood, and Confederate
flag. After the incident, attendees reportedly were told not to
speak about it and to erase any cell phone video.
“Once again we have had another example of insensitivity
and ignorance as it relates to comments and actions made in public
and how they affect others. Last week we had a deplorable situation
happen to an African American Agricultural Education teacher in
the state of Oklahoma during an event at the CareerTech summer conference.
The Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus cannot allow this type of
incident to take place under the authority of a state funded entity
without addressing the issue immediately.
“In the past 24 hours, we’ve gained additional facts
and have immediately begun dialogue with the State Director of CareerTech.
We have been informed that an internal investigation is almost complete.
Ultimately, our concern is to have more inclusion of African Americans
in senior management levels of CareerTech to reduce the likelihood
of these incidents in the future. We applaud Dr. Marcie Mack for
being open to take this necessary action immediately. We recommend
diversity training at all levels and the continuance of programs
that bring more African Americans into agriculture through both
public and private partnerships.
“We believe public words and actions have consequences. This
is an extremely sensitive time in our nation as it related to race
and sensitivity to differences. Therefore, our focus is on specific
consequences for the individual that believed it was okay to ‘joke’
with a black person in such bad taste and publicly utilizing items
associated with the KKK. We recommend that the individual whom we
have been told initiated this action be removed from all boards
related to public entities of any kind. Board positions are leadership
positions and this type of leadership should not be tolerated in
the state of Oklahoma.
“We are in agreement with the initial actions taken at Career
Tech, but are awaiting the review of the policies and procedures
that were not followed or that need to be revised to address these
types of incidents at the policy level in the future. We fully,
expect that the appropriate discipline for such violations will
be swift and severe.”
Members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus include Caucus
Chair, Sen. Kevin
Matthews, Senate District 11; Vice Chair, Rep. George E. Young,
House District 99; Sen. Anastasia Pittman, Senate District 48; Rep.
Mike Shelton, House District 97; and Rep. Regina Goodwin, House
Goodwin released an additional comment:
“Initial efforts to cover up this
racially inflammatory incident must be met with transparent and
corrective action that will also provide for capable African-American
representation, administratively and academically, at CareerTech.
Hopefully all involved will be sensitive and smart in these circumstances.”
For more information,
Matthews: 405-521-5598 or 918-955-2283