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Megachurch pastor issues $200K reparation payments to each survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre

At least 300 Black people were killed by a white mob in the Greenwood District in Tulsa in a racist attack in 1921.

Megachurch pastor issues $200K reparation payments to each survivor of the Tulsa Race  Massacre
TULSA, OKLAHOMA - JUNE 01: (L-R) Survivors Lessie Benningfield Randle, Viola Fletcher, and Hughes Van Ellis at the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre on June 01, 2021 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

A church is giving $200,000 in reparations to each of the three survivors of the Tulsa massacre on its 100th anniversary. Transformation Church Pastor Michael Todd is using the wealth from his popular megachurch to pay reparations to those survivors of the massacre carried out by White residents against Black residents in the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Their homes and businesses were destroyed in the racist attack that took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921. At least 300 Black people were killed in the massacre, with thousands of survivors being forced into internment camps overseen by the National Guard. Pastor Michael Todd said the survivors had lived with trauma. “Reparation is not a political word. Reparation is not a word that your left-wing friends or your right-wing friends have coined,” Todd told The Christian Post.



“Let me give you the definition of reparations. ‘The action of repairing something that was devastated.’ Reparations mean that somebody is going to take up the mantle and actually put into action the process of repairing something that was destroyed,” said Todd. Viola Fletcher, 107, Hughes Van Ellis, 100; and Lessie Randle, 106, will be recipients of the reparation payments of $200,000 each. The three of them had also received $100,000 payments from the Justice for Greenwood. The pastor quoted a passage from the Bible, stating that reparation is also part of God's lessons. “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you,” quoted Pastor Todd from Joel 2:25. 

TULSA, OK - JUNE 19: Attendees take in an art installation on Greenwood Avenue during the Juneteenth Festival on June 19, 2021, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Juneteenth celebrations, now recognized as a federal holiday, are taking place around the country in recognition of the emancipation of African-American slaves. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)


Pastor Todd thanked the survivors for testifying before Congress earlier this year, which in turn benefited Todd because he was able to claim a white church in North Tulsa and turn it into Transformation Church. “I’m a young Black man who took over a church from a white man who built it in North Tulsa. That couldn’t have happened if you all didn’t survive. Today, we can’t restore everything that has been stolen from you. But today, we can put a seed in the ground,” he told the survivors. 


“I told the team. I said, ‘Find me every living survivor that survived this [Tulsa race] massacre.’ And they began to search," said Todd. He decided on $200,000 as a reparations payment by finding the median price of a Tulsa home currently. "And I said the most devastating thing that was stolen from people were their homes. And I said, ‘How in the world do you rebuild when you go to sleep on a Thursday, and on Friday, all your memories, all your life savings, everything that you build your life for is in rubble in front of you. And you got to go to the fairgrounds and stay on cots and try to rebuild your life from ashes?’” asked Todd, before adding. “I read in the Bible where it says God is the only one that gives beauty from ashes.”

TULSA, OKLAHOMA - MAY 31: People rest their hands in prayer during a Prayer Wall memorial gathering at the AME Church during commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre on May 31, 2021 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. May 31st of this year marks the centennial of when a white mob started looting, burning and murdering in Tulsa's Greenwood neighborhood, then known as Black Wall Street, killing up to 300 people and displacing thousands more. Organizations and communities around Tulsa are preparing to honor and commemorate survivors and community residents. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)


“It’s reparations season, and change starts in the Church,” he said to loud cheers from those present. The church is also donating money amounting to various organizations. President Joe Biden commemorated the deaths of hundreds of Black people during its 100th anniversary. “Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous, they cannot be buried, no matter how hard people try,” said Biden, reported AP. “Only with truth can come healing. Just because history is silent, it does not mean that it did not take place,” added Biden. 


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