'Black Women Voices' Schedule Their Own Panel After Absent From Governor's Race Roundtable

June 8, 2020

Gov. Kevin Stitt released a recorded roundtable discussion on race over the weekend.

The conversation was criticized by some for not including any women of color. The governor’s office said they had tried to but schedules did not match up.

“Black women are on the front lines in so many different ways,” Bailey Perkins with the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition said.

Now, Perkins is hosting a live panel of “Black Women Voices” at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.  

“When you talk about race relations, black women in particular are impacted by all areas of systemic racism,” she said. “Black women are more likely to die in childbirth; and that's across income levels, that's across education levels, so when you're looking at a lot of the disparities, they impact black women especially.”

The conversation series will include OKC City Councilwoman Nikki Nice, OKC Black Lives Matter leader Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, New Leader’s Council board member Chaunte Gilmore, activist Camile Landry and Skye Latimer with the Folded Owl.

The governor’s office said he plans to post another video with Tulsa-based economic development CEO Rose Washington. Stitt’s office said she was unable to attend the roundtable due to a scheduling conflict.

“As the governor for all 4 million Oklahomans, he applauds community leaders at all levels who step up and engage voices different from their own,” Chief of Communications Charlie Hannema said in a statement.

Perkins said it’s about more than booking one black woman for one event.

“When you look at how many black women we have elected in our legislature, there's two,” Perkins said. “When you look at the number of people who are appointed by the governor on his cabinet or by the legislature in different capacities, there's very few black women. Maybe one or two.”

The first of several Black Women Voices discussions is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday.  

“It's not just about being nice to someone that is a different race than you,” Perkins said. “It's about creating opportunities for other folks around us to create equity.”

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