More Hispanics enjoying Downtown
Ever since the passage of Oklahoma’s notorious antiimmigrant law HB 1804 in 2007, Hispanics were seen in fewer numbers in areas where they had to travel a long distance away from home or where there was a perception of a large law enforcement presence. The law, combined with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office’s participation in the 287(g) immigration enforcement program, made many who might have a family member with an immigration status issue wary of venturing more than a short distance from East Tulsa for fear that a fun day outdoors could turn into a nightmare of family separation.
Luckily, the worst of such fears seem to have abated in the last couple of years, despite the ongoing anti-immigrant rhetoric emanating from Washington, DC. Tulsa, along with several other major cities across the country, has been making a visible effort to make the immigrant population feel safe and welcome in all public spaces, an acknowledgement that this city belongs to all who live here.
In addition to efforts by city leaders to make Tulsa a more inclusive place for all residents, various groups have been making a concerted effort to put on events that specifically appeal to the city’s Latin population, notably the annual Festival Americas celebration – also held at the Guthrie Green – and Living Arts’ Day of the Dead festival.
Tulsa Roots Music has also tailored several of its Guthrie Green free concerts to Latin music fans, hosting such acts as Los Lobos, Felix y Los Gatos, and others.
And it isn’t just downtown that is experiencing a resurgence in Hispanic event attendance – Tulsa’s Cinco de Mayo celebration has seen greater numbers each year the event has taken place at River West Festival Park.
With the opening of the Gathering Place on Riverside just around the corner, it’s good to know that as Tulsa offers more opportunities for families to enjoy themselves outdoors that everyone will feel welcome and safe, regardless of what they look like or where they came from. (La Semana)