Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook is joining Sen. Kamala Harris virtually alongside entertainers, artists and activists for a Juneteenth block party based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
And they’re lining up against President Donald Trump.
The block party is taking place at 5 p.m. ET Saturday, a day after the observed Juneteenth celebration, marking the emancipation of the last remaining slaves in the United States in 1865. Saturday’s celebration will be held at the same time Trump holds a campaign rally in the city. Guests are invited to tune in virtually on the party’s website.
Westbrook also working on Tulsa race documentary
Westbrook played his first 11 NBA seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder and has a special relationship with the region. He announced last week that he’s working as a producer on an upcoming documentary on the 1921 Tulsa race massacre titled “Terror In Tulsa: The Rise And Fall of Black Wall Street.”
“Spending 11 years in Oklahoma opened my eyes to the rich and sordid history of the state,” Westbrook told Variety last week. “When I learned about the heartbreaking events that happened in Tulsa nearly 100 years ago, I knew this was a story I wanted to tell.”
Controversy behind Trump rally
Trump initially scheduled his rally for Friday and drew heat for the date and location of the event. Many saw the Juneteenth date and Tulsa location of the MAGA rally as a nod to white nationalists. Harris called it a “welcome home party” for “white supremacists.”
This isn't just a wink to white supremacists—he's throwing them a welcome home party. https://t.co/lUXpnUoFQU— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 11, 2020
Trump changed the date to Saturday following the backlash. Saturday’s block party clearly has the MAGA rally in its sights.
Juneteenth, Tulsa race massacre in focus
Along with Westbrook and Harris, Saturday’s block party will feature appearances from actress and activist Alfre Woodard, Oklahoma state Sen. Kevin Matthews and rapper Jidenna, among many others. Damon Lindelof, who wrote and produced HBO’s rendition of “Watchmen” will also make an appearance. The HBO series introduced many of its viewers to the Tulsa race massacre by making the event a central part of its storyline.
The incident that’s often overlooked in the telling of America’s history is considered one of the nation’s worst instances of race violence. The massacre saw a mob of white residents launch an attack on an affluent black community in Tulsa known as “Black Wall Street” using airplanes and explosives to decimate the business district and its residential surroundings.
The 24 hours of violence leveled 35 city blocks and resulted in 800 injuries with the death toll estimated anywhere from 36 to 300 people, according to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum.
Westbrook and Black Lives Matter
Westbrook has been active in the the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s homicide while in custody of the Minneapolis police on May 25. He helped lead a Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles on June 7.
Westbrook’s manager told Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes that he’ll participate in Saturday’s block party virtually.
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