Welcome to Equity Corner
Honoring Juneteenth National Independence Day

People of God,
“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8: 31-32
June 19, known as Juneteenth, celebrates the freedom of enslaved Black Americans, by recalling the day in 1865 when the news of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was finally proclaimed in Texas, three years after it was issued.
Yesterday the U.S. Congress established June 19th as a federal holiday: Juneteenth National Independence Day. The action awaits President Biden’s signature.
On Saturday, June 19th at 10 a.m., the Coos Bay Museum in Coos Bay, Oregon, will dedicate a memorial to the only confirmed lynching of a Black man in the state of Oregon. Alonzo Tucker was lynched in Coos Bay in 1902 as a crowd of 300 people watched. Sponsors of Saturday’s memorial event hope at least 300 people will attend the online dedication of a memorial to Alonzo Tucker.
The memorial to Alonzo Tucker’s lynching is part of a movement of the National Memorial of Peace and Justice to remember and mark the sites where more than 4,400 Black people died by lynching between 1877 and 1950. Taylor Stewart began the Oregon Remembrance Project after visiting the National Memorial as part of a Civil Rights tour of southern states.
Much of our nation’s violent racial history has been forgotten or suppressed by white Americans or assumed to have occurred only in slave states. This event, on Juneteenth, 2021, is an opportunity for citizens of the Northwest to remember and realize that this region has its own violent past that is ours to reckon with and heal.
I hope you will join me online on Saturday, Juneteenth, 2021, as part of the crowd that stands for truth, justice and reconciliation. 
Thank you,
Elaine JW Stanovsky
Bishop, Greater NW Episcopal Area
Yellow Bird:
Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search
for Justice in Oil Country

By Sierra Crane Murdoch
Random House/New York
Review by Maureen Miller

Twenty-nine year old Kristopher (KC) Clarke disappeared February 22, 2012 from the Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. He had been employed by James Henrikson in the Bakken Oil Field. Lissa Yellow Bird started looking for KC after one of her relatives informed her of his disappearance. Some of these names may sound familiar. Lissa Yellow Bird was featured in a May, 2020 episode of “This American Life” titled “A Mess to be Reckoned With” where she searches for her missing niece (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/706/a-mess-to-be-reckoned-with). James Henrikson was convicted of the murder of KC Clarke and his business partner, Doug Carlile, on Spokane’s South Hill in December 2013.

Lissa is a member of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara (MHA) nation. She is a single mother with five children with four different fathers, only one of whom she married. She has worked as a court advocate, stripper, drug dealer, prison guard, bondsman, and welder. She is a convicted felon who did time in prison for possessing meth with intent to deliver.

Lissa contacted KC’s mother, Jill Williams, through Facebook. She told Jill that she knew or was related to most of the people on the reservation so she had a lot of contacts there even though she was living in Fargo at the time and offered to help.
Lissa and Jill traveled to Oregon to visit KC’s grandfather as KC was planning on to visit him, but never arrived. Lissa worked her contacts, tried to enlist allies who knew and had dealings with Henrikson and his companies, and tried to enlist the help of law enforcement without much luck. Her methods were not always kosher, but she was dealing with some pretty ruthless people. It wasn’t until after the Carlile case that law enforcement realized that Lissa’s information on KC’s was valuable in solving both cases.

In the author’s notes, Murdoch wrote that many people commented to both her and Lissa that these were such unusual cases. Murdoch believes that most of the news coverage noted the reservation as a footnote, but she thinks that these cases could only have occurred on the reservation.

Murdoch spent three years traveling with Lissa and talked to many of her relatives and friends on the reservation. She traces the history of the reservation from its start, to the building of the Garrison Dam in the 1950’s which significantly impacted the lives of the residents, to the oil boom of the 2000’s which brought all kinds of problems. She doesn’t flinch in her descriptions of the issues: the crime, the drugs, the environmental laws which are either flaunted or ignored, the missing women (one of Lissa’s cousins disappears during this period), and the confusing jurisdictions of multiple law enforcement agencies. Murdoch is intent on giving the full picture of the reservation. She was able to interview tribal chairman Tex Hall about allowing outsiders to drill and frack on the reservation and also about his company that did business with Henrikson. To get another perspective, she interviewed another tribal official who advocated a different approach to opening the reservation for extraction.

Murdoch’s book is thorough and thoughtful. She describes the reservation, its residents, its culture, and Lissa’s complicated relationship with her children and her family. Lissa is a complex and fascinating person. The connection to Spokane also keeps the book interesting. KC Clarke’s body has never been found. The persons involved in his murder have led authorities to the Badlands on the reservation where they dumped his body in a deep gorge, but they are unsure of the exact location.

A Pastoral Letter on the
Tulsa Race Massacre from the Bishop of the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

"We recognize racism as sin and affirm the ultimate and temporal worth of all persons. We rejoice in the gifts that particular ethnic histories and cultures bring to our total life." --United Methodist Social Principles, 2016

Greetings in the name of the risen Christ.

100 years ago, a massacre occurred in Tulsa which destroyed one of the most prosperous African-American neighborhoods in America. The Greenwood District, or Black Wall Street as it was commonly called, was decimated by a white mob not deterred by law enforcement. Over 300 residents of Greenwood were killed, many buried in unmarked graves, and many more were arrested for committing no crimes. Thousands were left homeless and a neighborhood was ransacked, leaving behind millions in property damage. After that, the story of this event was mostly forgotten.

During this time, there were two branches of Methodism in Tulsa – the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South – that would eventually become part of The United Methodist Church. Other branches of Methodism were active in the community, including the Vernon African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, which is the only edifice to survive the massacre.

Both downtown churches, Boston Avenue and First, were utilized as make-shift hospitals for the injured. At the same time, church leaders in many of the Methodist-affiliated churches preached sermons blaming the victims of the massacre for inciting it. After Tigert Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, South moved to a new location, their former building was sold and the site became the corporate front for the Ku Klux Klan. It is important that we recognize our own explicit and implicit actions in perpetrating and responding to this horrific event.

To read the letter in its entirety as well as the call to response, click here.
Subscribe to the Black Lens

Interested in learning more about the issues important to Spokane's black community? The Black Lens is the only African American newspaper published in Eastern Washington. Monthly subscriptions are delivered by mail or by email. For more information, click here.
A Prayer for Racial Justice

When we do not see the gravity of racial injustice,
Shake us from our slumber and open our eyes.
When out of fear we are frozen into inaction,
Give us a spirit of bravery.
When we try our best but say the wrong things,
Give us a spirit of humility.
When the chaos of this dies down,
Give us a lasting spirit of solidarity.
When it becomes easier to point fingers outward,
Help us to examine our own hearts.
God of truth, in your wisdom, Enlighten Us.
God of love, in your mercy, Forgive Us.
God of hope in your kindness, Heal Us.
Creator of All People, in your generosity, Guide Us.
Racism breaks your heart,
break our hearts for what breaks yours.

~ Anonymous, from EYES TO SEE: An Anti - Racism Examen for Jesuit Colleges and Universities, AJCU, updated March 3, 2021.
World Day for Social Justice by rikkis_refuge