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Senator Lankford Discusses Race Relations In Senate Floor Speech

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WASHINGTON, DC– Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today delivered a speech on the Senate floor about the Dallas police shooting and race relations in America. During the speech, Lankford suggested racial tension would improve in our local communities by intentionally spending time with each other in our homes.

Lankford suggested an idea called “Solution Sundays” – an initiative that encourages Members of Congress and Americans to build relationships across racial lines, and with police, through sharing meals in our homes. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Lankford began discussing this idea throughout the week in Washington, DC.

Racial reconciliation has been a priority for Senator Lankford. In May, he visited Tulsa’s Greenwood Cultural Center and delivered a speech on the Senate floor to recognize the 95th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riot.

Transcript:

Mr. President, just days ago, five police officers were shot and killed. Others were very seriously wounded. In the middle of a rally trying to bring people together. Trying to allow Americans to be able to have what many call our conversation on race. As several have mentioned before on this floor about my friend the Junior Senator from South Carolina, Tim Scott, Senator Scott’s comments on race all this week as have several others on this floor that have talked about it. I hear many people in my own state and the conversations that I’ve had around my state about issues of race, and I keep hearing this ongoing statement. We need to have a greater conversation about race, and I think we somewhat are a little confused about how this gets resolved in some ways. 

I want to make a quick comment and a challenge to my fellow Senators and others that may be around. The challenge is very straightforward and simple.We talk about a conversation on race as if it is something that can happen nationally at a rally, at a protest, in the media, among leaders. It’s not really how America solves issues and problems. We solve it around dinner tables. It’s always been the place that we’ve resolved issues as a nation. It’s how families sit down together and have a chance to talk it out. Over the past week, I’ve had this recurring conversation with people, just a simple question. Have you ever had a family of another race sit down with your family for dinner at your home? Have you ever invited another family of another race to your home for dinner? 

That doesn’t seem like a challenging question, but I’m amazed at the number of people that I’ve posed that question to that have looked at me that have hesitated and have said of course I have. 

Then I said, “When?” and they had to hesitate and think and said, “No, I don’t think really that’s ever happened. I have people that I work with, I have people I interact with, play sports with, go to school with, live in my neighborhood, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a family of a different race than mine over for dinner.” 

So here’s my simple challenge to us. If we’re going to have a conversation about race, maybe the conversation should start with each of our families at our dinner tables. It’s why Senator Scott mentioned earlier, I’ve laid out a challenge, just a simple statement, what I call Solution Sundays. If you’re going to be part of the solution in America, maybe on a Sunday for lunch or for dinner to invite another family over of another race just to sit and have conversation. Everybody put their feet under the same table and to develop a friendship and a relationship. Every person can do that. Every person can be a part of the solution. Every person in our country can start to move that conversation a little farther. It’s part of who we are. We don’t solve things based on a vote in America. We solve things around our dinner table. 

Mr. President, I would challenge every American to invite someone from another race to their home and just sit and have Sunday lunch together and watch and see what begins to happen in our nation. 

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