Financial support from Frontier readers has helped me uncover stories on the coronavirus pandemic, Oklahoma eviction laws and the landmark U.S. Supreme Court McGirt decision over the past year.
Despite a federal prohibition on eviction for failure to pay rent because of the coronavirus pandemic, I found that thousands of Oklahomans were still being kicked out of their homes when they could not pay rent as landlords found ways to work around the federal eviction ban.
I also discovered that one of the most prolific evictors in Tulsa County had continued to perform serial evictions — filing legal actions against the same tenants multiple times, often as a collection tool — despite the moratorium.
Frontier reporter Kayla Branch and I reported on what federal, state and local authorities were doing to try and head off a surge of homelessness by making more rental assistance available. I also reported on Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s decision to cut off federally expanded unemployment payments and the lawsuits that followed that move.
In April, The Frontier launched its “Oklahomans We’ve Lost” series, honoring the lives of Oklahomans who have died of COVID-19. I told the story of Anita Greenwalt, who lost four family members to the virus, and her subsequent struggles with people in her community who said COVID-19 was a hoax.
Just when Oklahomans thought the worst of the pandemic was over, the state saw a resurgence of cases in late spring and early summer. I reported that the state’s prison system was slow to respond to this new threat.
Over the past year, I also reported on the fallout from the McGirt U.S. Supreme Court decision that led the governor’s office and some district attorneys to clash with Oklahoma tribes.
The Frontier launched the McGirt v Oklahoma website earlier this month to explain the complex history behind the Supreme Court ruling and provide information and resources for various tribal jurisdictions in the state.
I could not have done any of these stories without the generous support of our readers. We rely on you to help us report on stories that matter to Oklahomans, and for that I thank you.
Want to help? Then here’s some good news — from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, Newsmatch will match your individual donations from a coalition of national funders. It’s a great way to get the most bang for your generously donated buck.
The Frontier aims to keep the public informed through good journalism. Your donation will help us continue that mission into the next year and far into the future.