Norman Citizens for Racial Justice will occupy the Norman City Council’s budget meeting Tuesday evening as they continue to push for reform in the Norman Police Department and call for racial justice.
After members of Norman’s Citizens for Racial Justice protested and voiced their demands at the June 9 City Council meeting, council members voted to continue revising the budget. Their final decision for the next fiscal year will be announced Tuesday evening.
Currently, according to a Norman Citizens for Racial Justice press release, Norman plans to spend $32.4 million on the NPD and $1.5 million on community development projects — including services for the homeless and affordable housing. The organization said in the release this gap should not exist, as Norman experiences unprecedented unemployment and economic precarity amid the pandemic.
The group built upon previous demands, which called for decreasing spending for and militarization of the NPD — along with increased accountability and transparency, the end of school resource officer programs and justice for victims of brutality by the NPD.
According to the press release, the group wants funding to go toward public health initiatives. This would include resources like increased mental health access, affordable housing, public transportation, child care programs and the establishment of racial equity initiatives.
Norman Citizens for Racial Justice will begin their second call to action with a pre-rally at 6 p.m. at Andrews Park and will occupy Norman's city budget meeting at 6:30 p.m., according to the event's Facebook page. The organization encourages those who cannot attend to contact their local city councilperson or Mayor Breea Clark and emphasize the group’s demands.
Whether activism takes place at the meeting or in quarantine, the group said on Facebook it is the responsibility of Norman citizens to stand with the Black community and actively invest in programs to make Norman more inclusive.
“It was wrong to respond with calls for ‘patience’ when murders of Black people occurred with impunity in 1965, and it is wrong to do so when the same situation continues now,” Norman Citizens for Racial Justice said in a comment on Facebook.