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Oklahoma City Community College Kicks Out Their Land Run Monument!

4:00 AM EST on February 1, 2021

It’s easy to make fun of community colleges. I’ve done it myself a few times, usually unwarranted and wholly unnecessary, but now I’m feeling nothing but pangs of guilt after receiving this headline via social media last Friday: “Oklahoma City Community College Removes Controversial Land Run Monument.”

Even though I went to OCU for most of my university matriculation, I’ve always thought of community college as the “high school after high school.” But, after reading that Oklahoma City Community College has made this applaud-worthy announcement, I’m ready to go back to school there, Dangerfield-style.

In case you haven’t heard the news—or know no Indigenous peoples, natch—OCCC has torn down their Land Run monument to create a safe and inclusive atmosphere for all those that attend, particularly students with Native blood running through their veins that, you know, don’t appreciate being reminded of the theft and murder of their peoples on the daily.

From KOCO.com:

Executive Vice President Danita Rose, whose maternal grandfather was of Cherokee descent, said in the news release that the decision to remove the monument was a top priority for the executive leadership team.

 “It was a no-brainer,” Rose said in the news release. “If our goal is to create a community that is inclusive and welcoming to everyone, a monument that depicts cruelty and oppression can’t be on display here.”

Rose completely gets it: you can’t have a place of education that welcomes all if you’re going to have a proud monument to one of the most horrific parts of Oklahoma history right out front. As students showed up to the campus last week to find the monument long gone and possibly reassembled in Governor Stitt’s front yard—I have no proof but I’m guessing—it must’ve installed a newly acquired sense of not only Indigenous pride, but sheer humanity for most.

And while I’m sure that the number of embattled QAnoners, Tea Partiers and the like wouldn’t appreciate any of this, still, for them and other haters, OCCC interim President Dr. Jeremy Thomas summed the removal perfectly in this statement:

“We have always agreed with those who felt the monument was offensive and had no place on our campus. It does not accurately represent history, and it does not accurately reflect the respect, empathy and admiration we have for the true pioneers of this land: the Indigenous people of this country. As soon as we were in a position to take it down, we did.”

If only other colleges, universities and so on in Oklahoma—and beyond—were as brave as to not only say something but to actually do something, about the colonial evils that continue to blanket this land the way OCCC did...

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Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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