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NYC Black Wall Street gallery vandalized as Oklahoma massacre's centennial is marked

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating after white paint was found defacing the outside of a gallery in SoHo Monday morning.

News 12 Staff

Jun 1, 2021, 2:17 AM

Updated 1,117 days ago

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The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating after white paint was found defacing the outside of a gallery in SoHo Monday morning.
The vandalism happened on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, where a white mob in Oklahoma descended on an affluent Black neighborhood, known as Black Wall Street, to kill hundreds and burn down the community.
The outside of the vandalized Black Wall Street, a gallery on Mercer Street, uses theater, arts and education to bring people together. The gallery also serves to build better relationships and understanding on the anniversary of the infamous Tulsa Race Massacre.
The gallery's owner, Dr. Ricco Wright, said this act of vandalism is not​ a coincidence.
"I'm not surprised by the incident, just when you're not anticipating something like that, it throws you off a bit. But at the same time, I'm aware that racism is still alive in 2021," Wright said. "We have in our name Black Wall Street and that was the very area that was bombed and attacked 100 years ago, so there's certain people who, 100 years later, still don't want to see successful Black entrepreneurs."
The act of vandalism occurred as commemorative events are happening around the country to mark the day. President Joe Biden plans to be in Tulsa on Tuesday for a day of remembrance.
Wright said it is clear to him that his gallery was specifically targeted.
"'Wow, lets like get past this, it's 2021,' but on the other hand it really speaks to the impact that we are having," he said.
Now he wants police to redefine their standards for what constitutes as an act of hate.
"Just because there is not a noose hanging at my door does not mean that this isn't some variance of hate," Wright said. "It wasn't as if there were any other businesses around that had the same white paint."


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