While President Trump will be addressing a crowd of supporters in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday amidst expected protests and rallies in the downtown area, down the I-44 turnpike in Oklahoma City several hundred black gun owners are planning on holding a rally and march of their own. The group “1,000 brothers and sisters in arms” will kick off their Second Amendment Walk at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon in front of the Ralph Ellison Library in northeast Oklahoma City, before proceeding about a mile away to the governor’s mansion.
All are welcome to march in solidarity with the group, which expects between 200 and 300 people to attend in what they are saying will be a peaceful mile walk to the Governor’s Mansion.
“As an African American, it’s important to send a message to the governor and president that we aren’t going to allow people to come into our communities and brutalize us,” [co-organizer Omar] Chatman said. “That goes for corrupt police officers, white supremacists and criminals. Criminals have no color. It doesn’t matter if you are a Black man, white man, Asian or Hispanic.
“If you come into our community, know we are armed.”
Oklahoma is a constitutional carry state, meaning if you’re legally allowed to own a gun, you’re legally allowed to carry it. Chatman says he’ll be walking with his AR-15 on Saturday, as he’s done several times in the past.
“I have encountered the police and observed them while holding my gun from a safe distance,” Chatman said. “I’ve been displeased with every encounter. They treat Black men with guns with condescension and sarcasm. They should engage us as they would anyone else.”
I haven’t lived in Oklahoma City for more than fifteen years, and I had moved before open carry protests became a thing in the Second Amendment community, but I would like to think the men and women of the Oklahoma City Police Department will treat gun owners of all colors and creed with respect this weekend and in the future. I will say that some Oklahoma City open carry activists in the past haven’t been the best ambassadors for the Second Amendment, and if Chatman has been treated with condescension and sarcasm, it may be a little more complex than the color of his skin.
As part of the walk, the group is also demanding action on four separate issues.
The group wants District Attorney David Prater to reopen the case in the death of C.J. Pettit Jr., who was killed by a Midwest City police officer in 2015.
The group is demanding the state legislature enact laws that would hold officers accountable when they are found to be at fault in any incident of police activity.
They want officers to be required to carry their own liability insurance and they are demanding the International World Court to investigate the United States for human rights violations of its Black population.
“This is for the betterment of mankind,” says Michael Washington, an organizer for the group. “We are saying that we should have the right to wear our weapon on our shoulder and the Second Amendment is the way to do that. We have a right to protect ourselves because we are tired of this crap and the United States promoting the killing of African Americans.”
I don’t agree with all of the group’s demands (and I’m not exactly sure, for example, how the International Court of Justice would even investigate the U.S. for human rights violations among black citizens), but you know what? I don’t have to agree with every position taken by every person marching to the governor’s mansion. The Second Amendment isn’t just for people who think like me, or look like me, or agree with me. It’s the right of the People to keep and bear arms that shall not be infringed, and in that I stand with the men and women who’ll be marching in support of their Second Amendment Rights in Oklahoma City on Saturday.