Justice For Greenwood Advises Against Submitting DNA For Tulsa Race Massacre Testing

News 6 - August 26, 2022 6:34 am

Greenwood Cemetery

TULSA, Okla. – 

Justice For Greenwood held a town hall meeting Thursday night to share concerns over DNA collection for identifying remains found in a mass grave.

The collection is part of the city’s effort to using genetics to trace descendants of victims of the 1921 race massacre.

Justice for Greenwood warned that sharing your DNA could have unintended consequences.

The City of Tulsa said DNA could help identify some of the exhumed bodies found in a mass grave at Oaklawn Cemetery, but Justice for Greenwood is pushing back.

Eric Miller is part of the Justice for Greenwood legal team. He said the services like the ones the city is using don’t have enough privacy protection.

“At the moment, our advice is to not donate your DNA to this program and to be very careful how you use your DNA in any event,” he said. “It’s accessible to any member of the public including law-enforcement to do a matching search so long as they pay the fee.”

He said submitting DNA samples can cause problems in the future. He cited stories of family members being traced to crimes by police who used samples from the type of databases and services they say the city of Tulsa is using.

“The bottom-line big worry is that when programs create DNA databases comprised only of black people’s DNA, then you have to be really sure that these databases won’t be messed around with,” Miller said.

The city of Tulsa said in a statement: “The DNA being collected as of right now is all being handled by third party databases, such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com … Our goal is solely to create greater clarity and closure to Tulsa and the descendants of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Our goal is NOT to use the DNA collected for purposes other than what has been described.”


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