On May 30, Greg Robinson stood in the middle of the intersection of South Peoria Avenue and East 36th Street and spoke from his heart into a megaphone. It was the first march of what would be three weeks of protests in Tulsa as part of a nationwide response to George Floyd’s death and police brutality.
That moment also began Robinson’s rise from north Tulsa community organizer to mayoral candidate.
In August, the 30-year-old finished second in the mayoral race, receiving 29% of the votes after just over two months of campaigning that generated more than $200,000 in support, as well as endorsements from Democratic stars across the country.
My day job is ... director of community development at Met Cares Foundation, where we work to ensure north Tulsa is a vibrant community and residents have the power to drive positive change.
My biggest takeaways from the summer’s protests are … Mayor (G.T.) Bynum still hasn’t made good on his end of the deal. We didn’t just protest to say we did something. We had and have very clear demands:
- Oversight of the Tulsa Police Department by an independent monitor with accountability to the people of Tulsa.
- Divestment in enforcement and investment in community well-being and mental health within the public safety department at the City of Tulsa.
- Justice for the families of Terence Crutcher, Joshua Barre, Joshua Harvey and countless Black lives lost to the criminal legal system.
- End “Live PD” in Tulsa.
Bynum agreed to them in public, but has done none of what he promised since the protests stopped. (Editor’s note: Bynum ended the City’s contract with “Live PD” in June.)
If we are to be the city we say we want to be, words can no longer be enough. We must be bold enough to act, and erasing the Black Lives Matter mural from Black Wall Street was a move in the wrong direction.
I ran for Tulsa mayor ... because I felt and still feel our city, with all its great people and potential, is getting less than what we deserve from our leadership at City Hall. I knew I couldn’t just sit in disappointment, so I decided to do what I know best: take action.
I didn’t win the race, but ... I’m proud of the campaign we built. For 76 days we connected with Tulsans from every corner of our city on how to improve their quality of life. We didn’t shy away from difficult or controversial issues; instead we challenged ourselves to identify collaborative ways to solve them. As a result, we turned exhaustion at political theater into energy around civic engagement and fears of the pandemic into a focus on Tulsa’s potential.
My goals for my future include... Being the husband and father Katelyn (my fiance) and our future children deserve. I look forward to learning to care for our new home and building a healthy foundation for our families future.
I want to make my ancestors proud.
I’ll continue building the power and influence necessary to make positive impacts on society by following the path and purpose God has for my life. For now, that means being unrelenting in my advocacy and organizing around the need for: increased economic investment in under resourced communities and public policy aimed at eliminating systemic racism.
The most important changes needed in Tulsa are ...We cannot ignore our way to unity or pretend our way to peace. I am concerned with the impact systemic racism and white supremacists’ ideologies have had on all of us, not just Black people. We should be investing in inclusive economic growth strategies, focusing on localizing our economic resources to ensure Tulsans in every part of the city can have ownership of their homes and control over the direction and development of their neighborhoods.
(We need) a Tulsa with a participatory budgeting process. A Tulsa where our schools partner with employers to prepare a world-class workforce and produce the next generation of entrepreneurs. A Tulsa that invests as much in an environment that develops the next Elon Musk and Tesla as we do recruiting them in.
A book I'd recommend to someone to read is... Everything sold at Fulton Street Books & Coffee. My last purchases were “We Were Eight Years in Power” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” by Tupac Shakur.
My favorite meal in Tulsa is... The “Retro Special” from Retro Grill & Bar (North Peoria). The catfish dinner from The Freeze (46th and MLK BLVD). Fried Chicken from Wanda Js (Greenwood). Tres Amigos from 3 Tequilas (Brookside). Fiesta Salad from Lefty’s (Greenwood). Any Sour from Prairie Brewery (Arts District). Greenwood Latte from The Liquid Lounge (Greenwood)