Rev. Al Sharpton Challenges Trump To Address Systemic Racism At Tulsa Rally

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Reverend Al Sharpton speaks on stage at 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

Rev. Al Sharpton Challenges Trump To Address Systemic Racism At Tulsa Rally

The civil rights leader warns the President on Juneteenth, one day before Trump's controversial rally.

Published June 19th

Written by BET Staff

One week after he delivered a powerful eulogy during George Floyd’s funeral, Rev. Al Sharpton is furthering his message of action and is demanding Donald Trump to no longer dodge the issue of systemic racial inequality in America.

The civil rights leader and founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN) gave the keynote speech on Juneteeth, June 19, in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a commemoration of the anniversary of the emancipation of enslaved Black people in the United States. Sharpton was joined by the family of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed Black man who was fatally shot in 2016 by police officer Betty Jo Shelby as he was standing next to his vehicle. A jury later acquitted Shelby, who now works as a deputy sheriff in a neighboring Rogers County, which is in direct opposition to Trump’s new police reform executive order.

RELATED: BET To Air Special Coverage Of George Floyd’s Houston Funeral Today

Sharpton demanded that President Trump, who is holding a rally in Tulsa the next day on Saturday, June 20, trade in his usual divisive talking points for words of unity and awakening.

“When was America great for everybody? You can't be great when you can shoot people down like you did Terrence Crutcher,” said Sharpton who continued on by reminding the crowd of the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshad Brooks. 

"I read this morning the President was talking about warning lowlifes. What is lowlifes that who shoot unarmed people Mr. President. It’s lowlifes who have prosecutors who don't prosecute the law but look out for their friends. You couldn't be talking about us because we fought for the country when it wouldn't fight for us. You couldn't be talking about us because we went to foreign shores where those we fought could come and check into hotels that we couldn't. And eat in restaurants that we couldn’t, and we still stood for America. You don't know what greatness is? Just look over here in Greenwood tonight. This is what is great about America!”

A collective group of community-based organizations united together to host Tulsa’s annual, Juneteenth celebration in the heart of the Historic Greenwood District, Home of America's Black Wall Street, on Friday, June 19 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

As Tulsa approaches the 100 year anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, this year’s Juneteenth Celebration, now more than ever, represents a spirit of resilience and perseverance as the community presses forward in solidarity during these challenging times.

"President said he was coming on June 19 didn’t know [about] June 19, but if you didn’t know about Juneteenth it was because you were so incentive and isolated and if you did know, you were lying,” said Sharpton of Trump. “Either way, you’re not qualified as someone truly proficient to address this country as the head of state.”

The clivi rights leader went on to say in closing making reference to the Biblical story of David and Goliath and comparing that ideology to protestors fighting the establishment of systematic racism. 

 "Our vote is going to speak for us."

Watch Rev. Al Sharpton’s full Tulsa speech below.

Getty Images

COMMENTS

Latest in news