A Tulsa entrepreneur and candidate for mayor explains his 4-part philosophy for a deeper education on racial justice
Dr. Ricco Wright is a philosopher, educator, social justice activist, and the founder of Black Wall Street Gallery in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He created the gallery as a space to educate, preserve Black history, and curate Black culture. Wright is also running for mayor of Tulsa; he placed his bid the day it was due, after people told him they thought he would make a good candidate. He told Business Insider that in order to see real change in communities, equity and justice must be promoted over diversity and inclusion. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Tulsa native Dr. Ricco Wright has many roles, including philosopher, educator, writer, and social justice activist. One of those more recently added titles is candidate for mayor of Tulsa — a decision he made the day his bid to enter the race was due. One of his main running points is to support small businesses, as he has experienced the challenges of being an entrepreneur himself. Wright launched Black Wall Street Gallery in 2018 as a space to preserve Black history and curate Black culture. True to its name, he is one of many young Tulsa entrepreneurs who is reinvigorating the Black Wall Street neighborhood in the Oklahoma city that was destroyed a century ago in one of the most devastating acts of racist violence in American history. The Gallery, as a business, centers around promoting equity and justice over diversity and inclusion. "It's shifting that paradigm," he said. "Part of the problem that we're dealing with is a lack of education. People don't know about other cultures." Though the gallery took a hit during the coronavirus pandemic, it pushed him and his team to build an online presence and start his clothing label Stradford & Smitherman. Wright also plans to open a record store called Needle & Wax. Wright said it's important for business owners to go back to the drawing board during crises and ask what they need to be doing differently. "I noticed that more people were engaging online," he said. "So take your business online."
When he posts on the gallery's Instagram page, he includes up to ten photos of one artwork so viewers feel closer to the piece and can appreciate it when they can't visit the physical exhibit. Wright created a four-part philosophy he calls socioracial idealism which has guided every exhibition at the gallery. According to this concept, each step — conciliation, healing, unity, and love — are essential for communities to achieve justice and equity. He is hopeful, but not optimistic, that the current momentum of Black Lives Matter has become an unprecedented global movement. "People who haven't been activists, now they're ready to be activists, to get on the frontline, to also support Black-owned businesses and Black organizations and Black activists, because they're saying enough is enough," he said. Business Insider spoke with entrepreneurs in Tulsa about how they're stepping up to fulfill the needs of the community and taking advantage of its resources. Together, these founders are writing a new chapter in the story of Black Wall Street. Read them here.SEE ALSO: Your 'Black Lives Matter' Instagram post was a good start — now here's everything else entrepreneurs must do to support black communities year round MUST READ: 5 steps to navigate brand messaging in a time of civil unrest so you don't lose customer trust Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly
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