Due to logistical issues related to a planned #WeCantBreathe event in Bricktown on Saturday, June 6, Water Taxi will be unavailable for service on this day. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
We will be on site, however, passing out water to demonstrators exercising their right of free speech. Please feel free to join us.
Our company works hard to serve all, and has never allowed politics to become a part of our messaging. However, we believe the movement we are witnessing transcends politics. The right to free expression is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution – in fact our country was FOUNDED in protest – and there is nothing more American than raising one’s voice to demand equal treatment under the law.
Water Taxi proudly serves our customers in a district that we strongly believe has the greatest diversity of uses and diversity of users in all of the metro, and as such our district is often home to events, rallies and fundraisers of all types. It is a privilege to be front and center in a neighborhood which serves in many ways as Oklahoma City’s front room.
We also believe it is our job to welcome all visitors and to best represent Oklahoma City by giving them an accurate account of Oklahoma City’s past, a history that is interesting, though not perfect.
In this instance the event is expected to draw many thousands of attendees, and nearly all activity will be within feet of our ticket booth and our main dock. We believe it will likely be impractical – and tone deaf – to demand that our ticket booth remain accessible during this time, and possibly also our main dock.
Therefore we choose to NOT insist on keeping such access open and available, so as not to not distract from a critically important community and ultimately national conversation.
It is not lost on our team that we work in the shadow of the Walnut Street Bridge – you can see it from our ticket booth – where more than 50 years ago marchers streamed down into what is now called Bricktown, and then into other parts of downtown Oklahoma City to demand the same type of justice today’s protesters seek. More than half a century has now passed, and though admittedly much has changed we still live with examples of profound racial inequality in our country.
At the top of that bridge – only a few hundred yards from our booth – stands Calvary Baptist Church, where many of those historic demonstrations were joined, and where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr once addressed Oklahoma City during the Civil Rights era. Only blocks from Bricktown once stood the lunch counters where Clara Luper and the NAACP Youth Council sparked a national sit-in movement that brought real change to our country.
Across the street from the canal – near the first base entrance to the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark – once stood the venerable Douglass High School, an institution where educators such as Inman Page, Zelia Breaux, FD Moon and others shaped minds. Only a block from Bricktown is Deep Deuce, from where their students Charlie Christian, Jimmy Rushing and Ralph Ellison launched, changing American music, literature and culture forever.
Our main dock and waiting area features a sculpture – by David Phelps – titled “Inclined,” which symbolizes not only the warehouse workers who once populated our district, but (in a nod to Sisyphus from Greek mythology) also represents the seemingly eternal upward struggle of African Americans.
For 21 years we have worked to feature their stories on our tours, and will continue to weave these details into the complete picture of Oklahoma history that we try to tell.
Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel – and 1953 National Book Award winner – “Invisible Man” tells its story from the perspective of a narrator who moves through the world as if invisible, unseen by his white neighbors. In many ways this story – almost 60 years old now – is still being told by our Black neighbors, friends and co-workers. To these neighbors, we see you. And today, we will listen.