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Editor's Letter 11/20/19

We here at The Tulsa Voice take pride in offering richly themed issues on everything from teenagers to travelogues—from the climate crisis to workers’ rights, weed culture, and points in between. But sometimes we take our foot off the pedal, fight the urge to string these pages along a common thread, and see what it looks like. 

This issue is untethered from any guiding topic, but still plenty rich in its broad lens on life in Tulsa. Here you’ll meet teachers, dishwashers, environmental crusaders, record store clerks, radio show hosts, indigenous songwriters, art-minded ad busters and other homegrown heroes making our city strong and beautiful. 

Our cover story is about Kojo Asamoa-Caesar, a former North Tulsa educator who just launched an underdog campaign to represent Oklahoma’s first congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. I talked to the first-generation American about his family’s immigration story, how faith informs his vision of social justice, and how the 33-year-old plans to perform the miracle of flipping a seat that’s been occupied by a Republican since the year he was born. 

Asamoa-Caesar’s story is in many ways a story about America and its professed ideals, which are stretched to the breaking point by the lived experiences of many in the district he’s running to represent. It’s also a story about Greenwood, a legacy of community trauma and black excellence, and the temerity of fighting against towering odds to improve the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors. Other Democratic challengers will surely make a run at the throne before the general election, but Asamoa-Caesar’s story of migration and community-building is one we need to hear now. 

Other stories include Madeline Roper’s reverent look at back-of-the-house restaurant workers ahead of the busy holiday season; Terrie Shipley’s millenial gift guide for baby boomers on Small Business Saturday; and a photo essay by Destiny Jade Green capturing the pain and glory of the OBA 6A State Marching Band Championship in Owasso.  

Also inside: Chuck D accepts the Woody Guthrie prize in Tulsa; a local nurse takes on the city’s air polluters; a gay-to-straight “conversion therapy” survivor tells her story of hope; a new public radio show puts black voices back on the airwaves in Oklahoma; Tulsa-area vinyl shops prep for Record Store Day’s autumnal twin; an outdoor art show reclaims public space from advertisers and more.   

Until next time, remember: you are your own worst critic, the left lane is for passing, and healthcare is a fundamental human right that should always be free at the point of service.

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