A century after a race massacre that leveled businesses and homes, and killed hundreds, what would justice look like?
The Choctaw Nation and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma said they would consider granting citizenship to the Freedmen.
Attorney General Mike Hunter announced his resignation one day after The Oklahoman said it had sent him questions about an extramarital affair.
After the court ruled last year that much of eastern Oklahoma is an Indian reservation, a state court threw out a conviction of a death row inmate.
Mr. Lowe and his wife, Lauren Lowe, are the latest figures from the Netflix series to face prosecutions by the U.S. government.
In addition to the disciplinary action they have faced, the boys’ mother said that at least one of her three sons has been bullied because of the shirts.
Creating and seeding accounts for every newborn is found to have an impact on aspirations as well as savings.
The charge was related to a “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” tape that had been rented from a video store in Norman, Okla. Prosecutors dismissed the case on Wednesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 19 people had been sickened in eight states.
An inspection by the state’s health department discovered that inmates had to deal with overcrowded cells, moldy showers and bedbugs.
Coming in to finance the new challenger bank are six of the seven largest U.S. Banks and the payment technology developers Mastercard and Visa.
That’s right, Bank of America, PNC, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Truist, are backing a bank co-founded by a man who declared, “I’m with the revolutionary. I’m with the radical policy,” when stumping for then Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Joining the financial services giants in the round are FIS, a behind-the-scenes financial services tech developer; along with the venture capital firms TTV Capital, SoftBank Group’s SB Opportunity Fund, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Sports investors Quality Control and All-Pro NFL running back Alvin Kamara also came in to finance the latest round.
Atlanta-based Greenwood was launched last October by a group that included former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young and Bounce TV founder, Ryan Glover.
“The net worth of a typical white family is nearly ten times greater than that of a Black family and eight times greater than that of a Latino family. This wealth gap is a curable injustice that requires collaboration,” said \ Glover, Chairman and Co-founder of Greenwood, in a statement. “The backing of six of the top seven banks and the two largest payment technology companies is a testament to the contemporary influence of the Black and Latino community. We now are even better positioned to deliver the world-class services our customers deserve.”
Named after the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Okla., which was known as the Black Wall Street before it was destroyed in a 1921 massacre, the digital bank promises to donate the equivalent of five free meals to an organization addressing food insecurity for every person who signs up to the bank. And every time a customer uses a Greenwood debit card, the bank will make a donation to either the United Negro College Fund, Goodr (an organization that addresses food insecurity) or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
In addition, each month the bank will provide a $10,000 grant to a Black or Latinx small business owner that uses the company’s financial services.
“Truist Ventures is helping to inspire and build better lives and communities by leading the Series A funding round for Greenwood’s innovative approach to building greater trust in banking within Black and Latino communities,” said Truist Chief Digital and Client Experience Officer Dontá L. Wilson who oversees Truist Ventures, in a statement. “In addition to the opportunity to work with and learn from this distinguished group of founders, our investment in Greenwood is reflective of our purpose and commitment to advancing economic empowerment of minority and underserved communities.”
So far, 500,000 people have signed up for the wait list to bank with Greenwood.
The tribe in Oklahoma is facing a problem that is likely to become more commonplace across the country: how to vaccinate everyone not eagerly lining up for a shot.
It all starts with universal health care and a history of self-reliance.
An Oklahoma City police sergeant fired three shots “unnecessarily” at a man “as he was running away,” officials said.
An Oklahoma man whose prison sentence had been commuted cut out and cooked a woman’s heart and tried to feed it to his relatives before killing two of them, the authorities said.
The tribe’s Supreme Court excised language from its constitution that limited the citizenship rights of descendants of Black people who had been enslaved by the tribe before the Civil War.
As the Biden Administration works to bring legislation to Congress to address the endemic problem of immigration reform in America, on the other side of the nation a small California startup called SESO Labor has raised $4.5 million to ensure that farms can have access to legal migrant labor.
SESO’s founder Mike Guirguis raised the round over the summer from investors including Founders Fund and NFX. Pete Flint, a founder of Trulia joined the company’s board. The company has 12 farms it’s working with and negotiating contracts with another 46.
Working within the existing regulatory framework that has existed since 1986, SESO has created a service that streamlines and manages the process of getting H-2A visas, which allow migrant agricultural workers to reside temporarily in the U.S. with legal protections.
At this point, SESO is automating the visa process, getting the paperwork in place for workers and smoothing the application process. The company charges about $1,000 per application, but eventually as it begins offering more services to workers themselves, Guirguis envisions several robust lines of revenue. Eventually, the company would like to offer integrated services for both farm owners and farm workers, Guirguis said.
SESO is currently expecting to bring in 1,000 workers over the course of 2021 and the company is, as of now, pre-revenue. The largest industry player handling worker visas today currently brings in 6,000 workers per year, so the competition, for SESO, is market share, Guirguis said.
America’s complicated history of immigration and agricultural labor
The H-2A program was set up to allow agricultural employers who anticipate shortages of domestic workers to bring in non-immigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to work on farms temporarily or seasonally. The workers are covered by U.S. wage laws, workers’ compensation and other standards, including access to healthcare under the Affordable Care Act.
Employers who use the the visa program to hire workers are required to pay inbound and outbound transportation, provide free or rental housing, and provide meals for workers (they’re allowed to deduct the costs from salaries).
H-2 visas were first created in 1952 as part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which reinforced the national origins quota system that restricted immigration primarily to Northern Europe, but opened America’s borders to Asian immigrants for the first time since immigration laws were first codified in 1924. While immigration regulations were further opened in the sixties, the last major immigration reform package in 1986 served to restrict immigration and made it illegal for businesses to hire undocumented workers. It also created the H-2A visas as a way for farms to hire migrant workers without incurring the penalties associated with using illegal labor.
For some migrant workers, the H-2A visa represents a golden ticket, according to Guirguis, an honors graduate of Stanford who wrote his graduate thesis on labor policy.
“We are providing a staffing solution for farms and agribusiness and we want to be Gusto for agriculture and upsell farms on a comprehensive human resources solution,” says Guirguis of the company’s ultimate mission, referencing payroll provider Gusto.
As Guirguis notes, most workers in agriculture are undocumented. “These are people who have been taken advantage of [and] the H-2A is a visa to bring workers in legally. We’re able to help employers maintain workforce [and] we’re building software to help farmers maintain the farms.”
Opening borders even as they remain closed
Farms need the help, if the latest numbers on labor shortages are believable, but it’s not necessarily a lack of H-2A visas that’s to blame, according to an article in Reuters.
In fact, the number of H-2A visas granted for agriculture equipment operators rose to 10,798 from October through March, according to the Reuters report. That’s up 49% from a year ago, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor cited by Reuters.
Instead of an inability to acquire the H-2A visa, it was an inability to travel to the U.S. that’s been causing problems. Tighter border controls, the persistent global pandemic and travel restrictions that were imposed to combat it have all played a role in keeping migrant workers in their home countries.
Still, Guirguis believes that with the right tools, more farms would be willing to use the H-2A visa, cutting down on illegal immigration and boosting the available labor pool for the tough farm jobs that American workers don’t seem to want.
David Misener, the owner of an Oklahoma-based harvesting company called Green Acres Enterprises, is one employer who has struggled to find suitable replacements for the migrant workers he typically hires.
“They could not fathom doing it and making it work,” Misener told Retuers, speaking about the American workers he’d tried to hire.
“With H-2A, migrant workers make 10 times more than they would get paid at home,” said Guirguis. “They’re taking home the equivalent of $40 an hour. The H-2A is coveted.”
Guirguis thinks that with the right incentives and an easier onramp for farmers to manage the application and approval process, the number of employers that use H-2A visas could grow to be 30% to 50% of the farm workforce in the country. That means growing the number of potential jobs from 300,000 to 1.5 million for migrants who would be under many of the same legal protections that citizens enjoy, while they’re working on the visa.
Protecting agricultural workers through better paperwork
Interest in the farm labor nexus and issues surrounding it came to the first-time founder through Guirguis’ experience helping his cousin start her own farm. Spending several weekends a month helping her grow the farm with her husband, Guirguis heard his stories about coming to the U.S. as an undocumented worker.
Employers using the program avoid the liability associated with being caught employing illegal labor, something that crackdowns under the Trump Administration made more common.
Still, it’s hard to deny the program’s roots in the darker past of America’s immigration policy. And some immigration advocates argue that the H-2A system suffers from the same kinds of structural problems that plague the corollary H-1B visas for tech workers.
“The H-2A visa is a short-term temporary visa program that employers use to import workers into the agricultural fields … It’s part of a very antiquated immigration system that needs to change. The 11.5 million people who are here need to be given citizenship,” said Saket Soni, the founder of an organization called Resilience Force, which advocates for immigrant labor. “And then workers who come from other countries, if we need them, they have to be able to stay … H-2A workers don’t have a pathway to citizenship. Workers come to us afraid of blowing the whistle on labor issues. As much as the H-2A is a welcome gift for a worker it can also be abused.”
Soni said the precarity of a worker’s situation — and their dependence on a single employer for their ability to remain in the country legally — means they are less likely to speak up about problems at work, since there’s nowhere for them to go if they are fired.
“We are big proponents that if you need people’s labor you have to welcome them as human beings,” Soni said. “Where there’s a labor shortage as people come, they should be allowed to stay … H-2A is an example of an outdated immigration tool.”
Guirguis clearly disagrees and said a platform like SESO’s will ultimately create more conveniences and better services for the workers who come in on these visas.
“We’re trying to put more money in the hands of these workers at the end of the day,” he said. “We’re going to be setting up remittance and banking services. Everything we do should be mutually beneficial for the employer and the worker who is trying to get into this program and know that they’re not getting taken advantage of.”
The coast-to-coast storm brought heavy snow and frigid temperatures as well as prompted rolling blackouts.
Rocket fuel technology startup Firehawk Aerospace has added $1.2 million to its existing seed financing, bringing the full amount invested in the round to $2.5 million. The new tranche comes from Harlow Capital Management, a Dallas-based firm run by Colby Harlow, who will join Firehawk’s board of directors as part of the deal.
Firewhawk, which was a finalist in our first-ever all-virtual Startup Battlefield at TC Disrupt last September, has developed a new kind of hybrid rocket fuel that greatly enhances rocket launch safety, cost and transportation using additive manufacturing (basically, the grown-up version of 3D printing). Hybrid rocket fuel (which combines aspects of both liquid and solid propellants used previously) isn’t new, but past technology has been unable to compete on cost and efficacy relative to existing nonhybrid alternatives.
The startup’s Chief Scientist Ron Jones was able to get around these limitations with two new approaches: Using a fuel with a hard polymer structure and producing it using additive manufacturing instead of casting via molds with a liquid that hardens.
Firehawk now intends to use its seed funding to test its technology in operational conditions and at the kind of scale required for commercialization, and to build out its partnerships and client list. The startup also intends to grow its R&D and manufacturing operations in both Texas and Oklahoma.
Medical professionals questioned how well the individual plastic bubbles protected band members and concertgoers from the coronavirus.
“Cause of Life” celebrates the messy, tenacious, and extraordinary lives of five people we lost to Covid-19.
When an accident on a building site resulted in the death of their friend, the founders of Safesight were inspired to launch the platform to digitize safety programs for construction. The data from that gave birth to a new InsurTech startup this year, Foresight, which covers workers’ compensation. The startup has now released, for the first time, news that it raised a $15 million funding round back in May this year, with participation from Blackhorn Ventures and Transverse Insurance Group. To date, it has raised $20.5 million from industrial technology venture capital firms, led by Brick and Mortar Ventures and Builders VC.
Foresight launched in August of this year but has already covered $30M in risks. The company says it is now on pace to reach $50M in underwritten premium in 2021. By leveraging the data from sister company Safesite, the platform says it has been able to reduce workers comp incidents by up to 57% in a study conducted by actuarial consulting firm Perr & Knight.
Foresight’s algorithm leverages Safesight data to predict incidents, highlight risks, and informs underwriting. By wrapping Safesite risk management technology and services into every policy, Foresight provides a path to lower incident rates and lower premiums for customers.
Of the $57Bn national workers compensation market, Foresight focuses on policies ranging from $150K to $1M+ in annual premiums. The company says this segment has been largely overlooked by well-funded InsurTech startups such as Next Insurance and Pie, which provide small business policies under $50K in annual premiums.
Foresight and Safesite were developed by longtime friends and co-founders David Fontain, Peter Grant, and Leigh Appel.
Fontain said: “Foresight strengthens the correlation between safety and savings while providing the fast and easy user experience InsurTechs are known for. We leverage purpose-built technology to drive behavioral shifts and provide an irresistible alternative to traditional workers compensation coverage.”
Darren Bechtel, the founder and managing director at Brick & Mortar Ventures commented: “We first invested in 2016 and have known the founders since 2015 when it was just the two of them, squatting at a couple of empty desks inside another portfolio company’s office. Their initial vision was both elegant and powerful, and the demonstrated impact of their solution on safety performance, even in early interactions with the product, was impossible to ignore.”
Foresight now covers Nevada, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico. The company expects to launch workers compensation in the eastern US and a general liability line in early 2021.
The Newport Beach, Calif.-based healthcare lending service PrimaHealth Credit is now pitching point-of-sale lending services for elective medical procedures.
Taking the kinds of financial lending services that have been popularized by companies like Klarna and Affirm, PrimaHealth Credit is bringing them into elective surgical space for things like cataract surgery, orthodontic work, dental care, or LASIK.
“For many dental, orthodontics, LASIK, and cataract surgery patients, our BNPL product is a ‘last resort’ – the difference between getting the treatment they need, or not,” said Brendon Kensel, founder and CEO of PrimaHealth Credit, in a statement.
The company expects that patients will pay somewhere between 25% and 50% of the cost of their treatment up front with repayment durations for the loans ranging between two and four months.
Rates for the loans will range from 19.99% to 24.99% APR with average loan sizes coming in at around $1,800 across dental, orthodontics, and LASIK, according to the company.
“Until now, when providers couldn’t approve patients for an existing payment plan, they’d either forego providing them care or take them on anyway, exposing themselves to significant liability as they struggle with adequately assessing creditworthiness and properly servicing and collecting loans,” Kensel said.
The program not only handles loan origination for healthcare practices, but handles the back-office tasks for payment and servicing.
“Our goal as a company is to remove barriers to patient acceptance and help people who have the means but not necessarily the credit score to get the quality care that everyone deserves,” Kensel said.
Using the PrimaHealth Credit mobile app, patients can receive instant credit decisions and choose the payment plan that works best for them. The company said the service is currently available in Arizona, California, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas and will be expanded to all 50 states by 2021.
The Republican state senator toppled the lone Democrat representing Oklahoma in Congress, offering her party a pickup as it sought to build its numbers in the House.
Here are the (other) races and issues our national correspondents are watching.
A Holocaust survivor wants to revisit a settlement with an Oklahoma art museum over a painting once owned by her father.
Tree limbs are breaking under the weight of an unseasonable ice storm, downing power lines and cutting off electricity to nearly 375,000 households and businesses across the state.
Inmates at an Oklahoma jail were handcuffed to a wall and forced to stand and listen to the ubiquitous children’s tune on repeat.
Providing free meals is a crucial function for schools.
U.S. cell carrier Assist Wireless left tens of thousands of personal customer documents on its website by mistake.
Assist provides free government-subsidized cell phones to low-income households across Oklahoma through the Lifeline program, set up by the Federal Communications Commission in 1985. Lifeline helps households on federal assistance programs, like food stamps or public housing, get access to cheap cell phone plans.
But part of the carrier’s website was leaking customer documents — including driver’s licenses, passports and Social Security cards — which customers submit to verify their eligibility to sign up for a free phone and a plan.
The documents are dated between 2019 and 2020.
Security researcher John Wethington found the exposed documents through a simple Google search result, and asked TechCrunch to alert the carrier to the leak. Assist removed the exposed documents from its website a short time later.
Assist told TechCrunch that it traced the issue to a third-party plugin, Imagify, which the carrier uses to optimize images on its website. Assist said that the plugin by default puts a backup of uploaded images in a separate folder, but that the backup location in Assist’s case was not secure.
“We have resolved the issue by turning the backup off and removed the folder from public view,” said Assist.
The carrier told TechCrunch it also submitted an “urgent request” to Google to remove the documents from its cached image search results. (TechCrunch held this story until the images were scrubbed.)
Assist said it is investigating if anyone else found the exposed data before the issue was fixed.
“Assist Wireless takes security and consumer data very seriously. We are hiring a third-party security firm to provide us with a thorough security audit and subsequent consultation on ensuring customer data is as safe as possible moving forward,” the carrier said.
The carrier also said it would notify customers if their data was exposed in the security lapse.
In 1921, white looters destroyed a prosperous Black business district and killed up to 300 people. In a lawsuit, survivors of the catastrophe and descendants of victims said the city and state needed to rectify the past.
Local prosecutors are referring criminal cases to the federal and tribal courts, which are now flooded with new cases.
And that’s a problem — especially for Native American women, and especially in rape cases.
The state faulted the company for prescription errors and inadequate staffing, a rare action that followed complaints at drugstore chains across the country.
From my elders, I learned that justice is sometimes seven generations away or more — and inevitable.
In 1921, the city of Tulsa erupted in a spasm of hate and fire that destroyed its prosperous Black district. A century later, excavators are uncovering a “crime scene.”
After decades of betrayals and broken treaties, the Supreme Court ruled that much of Oklahoma is their land, after all.
Court records said that the “dangerous and unnecessary tasing” by two officers in Wilson, Okla., was a “substantial factor” in the death of Jared Lakey, 28, a year ago.
Oklahoma is the latest state where voters, in choosing to expand Medicaid, have delivered a rebuke to their elected officials.
David Anthony Ware was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Craig Johnson, the authorities said.
A challenger to Senator Mitch McConnell should finally emerge, and John Hickenlooper is trying to win his Senate primary in Colorado, among other races unfolding on Tuesday.
Contrary to Trump’s recent comments, specialists say, recent increases are real, and the virus is like a “forest fire” that will burn as long as there is fuel.
How lessons from the director’s films prepared one moviegoer for a terrifying encounter with the police.
When you think about startup hubs, Tulsa, Oklahoma is probably not the first city that comes to mind.
A coalition of business, education, government and philanthropists are working to foster a startup ecosystem in a city that’s better known for its aerospace and energy companies. These community leaders recognized that raising the standard of living for a wide cross-section of citizens required a new generation of companies and jobs — which takes commitment from a broad set of interested parties.
In Tulsa, that effort began with George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF), a philanthropic organization, and ended with the creation of Tulsa Innovation Labs (TIL), a partnership between GKFF, Israeli cybersecurity venture capitalists Team8 and several area colleges and local government.
Tulsa is a city of more than 650,000 people, with a median household income of $53,902 and a median house price of $150,500. Glassdoor reports that the average salary for a software engineer in Tulsa is $66,629; in San Francisco, the median home price is over $1.1 million, household income comes in at $112,376 and Glassdoor’s average software engineer salary is $115,822.
Home to several universities and a slew of cultural attractions, the city has a lot to offer. To sweeten the deal, GKFF spun up “Tulsa Remote,” an initiative that offers $10,000 to remote workers who will relocate and make the city their home base. The goal: draw in new, high-tech workers who will help build a more vibrant economy.
Local colleges are educating the next generation of workers; Tulsa Innovation Labs is working with the University of Tulsa in partnership with Team8 through the university’s Cyber Fellows program. There are also ongoing discussions with Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa about building a similar relationship.
These constituencies are trying to grow a startup ecosystem from the ground up. It takes a sense of cooperation and hard work and it will probably take some luck, but they are starting with $50 million, announced just this week from GKFF, for startup investments through TIL.
The president is set to hold his first rally since the coronavirus shuttered most of the country, with polls showing Joe Biden establishing a significant national lead over his rival.
Law enforcement officials told three senators that they would not be pursuing charges, but an investigation into trades by Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina appears to be proceeding.
Travis Miller Sr. said he was trying to leave a gated neighborhood in Oklahoma after a delivery when a vehicle blocked his path.
Tesla officials visited two sites in Tulsa, Oklahoma this week to search for a location for its future and fifth gigafactory that will produce its all-electric Cybertruck and Model Y crossover, a source familiar with the situation told TechCrunch.
Company representatives also visited Austin. A final decision has not been made, but Austin and Tulsa are among the finalists, according to the source. The AP also reported Tulsa and Austin as top picks for the gigafactory.
Tesla expects to make a decision as soon as next month, and “certainly within three months,” CEO Elon Musk said April 29 during the company’s first quarter earnings call.
Musk tweeted in March that Tesla was scouting locations for a so-called “Cybertruck Gigafactory.” Musk said, at the time, that the factory would be located in the central part of the U.S. and would be used to produce Model Y crossovers for the East Coast market as well as the cybertruck.
Not long after the tweets, TechCrunch learned that Tesla was eyeing Nashville and had been in talks with officials there. It’s unclear if Nashville is still in the running.
An email was sent to Tesla requesting comment. The article will be updated if Tesla responds.
This next gigafactory, wherever it is located, will likely be larger and produce multiple products, CFO Zachary Kirkhorn said during the same April 29 call.
“That’s under a belief that there’s significant efficiencies by having as much as possible and similar product lines under the same roof and as much vertical integration as possible all in one facility,” Kirkhorn said.
Musk has referred to these as future plants as “tera” factories — a nod to terawatt, or more specifically a terawatt-hour of battery capacity. The company’s first “gigafactory” is in Sparks, Nevada. The massive structure, which has surpassed. 1.9 million square feet, is where Tesla produces battery packs and electric motors for its Model 3 vehicles. The company has a joint venture with Panasonic, which is making the lithium-ion cells.
Tesla dubbed the Sparks plant a “gigafactory” because the company said at the time it would be capable of producing 35 gigawatt-hours per year of battery cells.
Tesla assembles its Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles in Fremont, Calif. at a factory that was once home to GM and Toyota’s New United Motor Manufacturing Inc (NUMMI) operation. Tesla acquired the factory in 2010. The first Model S was produced at the factory in June 2012.
“Gigafactory 2” in Buffalo, New York, is where Tesla produces solar cells and modules. The company’s third gigafactory is located in Shanghai, China and started producing the Model 3 late last year. The first deliveries began in early January.
Tesla is now preparing to build another factory near Berlin. Once complete, this German factory will produce the Model 3 and Model Y for the European market.
Some states have taken tentative steps toward reopening businesses shuttered by the coronavirus. In Georgia, it meant a few residents were out getting haircuts and their tongues pierced.
Homes were destroyed, two factories were damaged and thousands were left without power.