Taking Part in Government

Isaac Caviness

Haskell

(Nominated by Amy Hinton)

Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that, “Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.”

In Oklahoma, where we live, the people have the right to participate directly in public policy-making by the initiative petition process. It is a time-honored right, enshrined in our state constitution.

Presently, a group called “Green the Vote” is circulating a petition for the legalization of medical marijuana in Oklahoma. They will be collecting signatures until the petition deadline on December 29, 2015.

This is the second time in as many years that a coalition of medical marijuana supporters has pushed the idea of legalizing the drug for patients with debilitating illnesses. The last attempt fell short of the required number by 60,000 signatures.

Isaac Caviness is leading the charge this time. He has lined up about 300 volunteers. They have set up scores of signature sites across the state. 

“This effort is by patients for patients,” Caviness says. “People can’t deny the medical benefit of marijuana anymore.”

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human
Rights Alliance will honor human rights heroes from
around our great state. A recognition program will take
place at the State Capitol.For more information, see:
Celebrate Human Rights.”

From the Red Dirt Report: “Caviness referred to several Oklahoma families who are classified as medical refugees because they moved to Colorado so their children who suffer from severe cases of epilepsy could be treated with medical marijuana.”

The petition needs 123,725 signatures in order for the new Article to the Oklahoma Constitution to be accepted. If this amount is reached, the cause will have a place on the 2016 ballot.

Amy Hinton writes:

“Isaac has been registering people to vote since May of this year. He has put forth a petition to legalize medical marijuana and industrial hemp. By doing that, he is fighting to open the door to natural medical alternatives for all, but most importantly, children with seizure disorders with little to no quality of life on pharmaceuticals.”

In the News: 

“Grassroots organization wants Oklahomans to ‘green the vote,’ legalize medical marijuana”
KFOR.com, 8/21/2015
http://kfor.com/2015/08/21/grassroots-organization-wants-oklahomans-to-green-the-vote/

“Two grassroots groups work to change state medical marijuana laws”
The Oklahoma Gazette, 9/4/92015
http://okgazette.com/2015/09/04/cover-story-are-our-states-marijuana-laws-going-up-in-smoke/




“…Every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and… to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.” 
–From the Preamble to the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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John Pettyjohn

United States Marine Corps veteran John Pettyjohn asks a question during a a town hall
meeting at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center. Pettyjohn was among a handful of
veterans who expressed concerns about their care and the way staff members at the
VA treated them. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN 

John Pettyjohn
Oklahoma City
(Nominated by Wilfredo Santos-Rivera)

John Pettyjohn is a retired Marine Corp Veteran, Korean Era, Chosen Few, who served his country and has been serving Veterans and their families since he left the service. I have seen him go beyond the call of duty time and again. He is an advocate for human rights “por excelencia.” I am proud to submit his name for the OKUHRA human rights award.

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance will honor human rights heroes from around our great state. A recognition program will take place at the State Capitol. John Pettyjohn will be among those to be honored. More information about the program can be found here: “Celebrate Human Rights.”
“Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.”
–Article 21 of the 

The Aldridge Foundation

Helping People to be The Best They Can Be

The Aldridge Foundation
Oklahoma City
Nominated by Fr. Paul Zahler, O.S.B., Ph.D.

The Aldridge Foundation was created under the terms of Tom Aldridge’s will in June of 1995. Bob Aldridge was named Chairman of Trustees for the Foundation to manage the assets of the Trust, so as best to realize the desires of his mother and dad, who wanted to pay back the communities where they had raised their family and made their fortune.

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human
Rights Alliance will honor human rights heroes from
around our great state. A recognition program will take
place at the State Capitol.For more information, see:
Celebrate Human Rights.”

To best accomplish this, Bob remembered the scripture wherein St. Peter ordained that he would build the Church of Living Stones.

The stated mission of the Tom & Marye Kate Aldridge Charitable and Educational Foundation is to help the community by helping individuals to become the best that they could be.

This has involved scholarship programs at four state universities, support of programs for those with developmental disabilities, libraries, and support of innovative teaching methods.

So, the monument to Tom & Marye Kate is being made of living stones: Nurses, teachers, accountants, information techs, those who work with the less fortunate, and others who dream of making the community better.

Article 26 of the 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Sundra Flansburg

Building a More Welcoming State

Sundra Flansburg
Oklahoma City
(Nominated by Rosaura de Leon)

Ms. Flansburg has worked in a number of ways in Oklahoma to make our state more welcoming to immigrants and people of color. She is president of VOICE (Voices Organized in Civic Engagement), leading efforts to help ordinary OKCers learn to be effective in speaking about their concerns & building relationships with leaders & holding them accountable to the people they represent.

Following the Moore & Shawnee tornadoes in 2013, she raised money & organized several churches to reach out to undocumented families in the area who were impacted but unable to access some of the official relief efforts. Over $150,000 was raised and many families were helped. With the funds remaining, and as agreed with donors, the rest was rolled over into a scholarship fund that helps undocumented students pay for college. The first three scholarships have been awarded.

VOICE is a coalition of 25 congregations, nonprofits, and
schools that have come together out of a deep sense
of concern for the pressures faced by families the
Oklahoma City metropolitan area. 

She co-chairs VOICE’s Restorative Justice Action Team, and helps lead efforts to build awareness & support for criminal justice reform.

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance will honor human rights heroes from around our great state. A recognition program will take place at the State Capitol. Sundra Flansburg will be among those to be recognized. More information about the program can be found here: “Celebrate Human Rights.”

“Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” 
–From the Preamble of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

"I Think We’re in Awe Daily"

Stacey Wright
Norman
(Nominated by Kathy Talkington)

The group YES ALL DAUGHTERS, started by Norman High School student Danielle Brown, was a recipient of the 2014 Oklahoma Human Rights Award.

Photo: Kate Carlton Greer, KGOU 

By now, their story is well-known. In November, 2014, hundreds of Norman High School students and parents lined the streets in Norman protesting the school administration’s response to three rape allegations. Protest organizers demanded school officials implement anti-bullying policies to protect future victims.

Yes All Daughters founder Stacey Wright organized the protest after learning from Danielle (her niece) about multiple teenage girls who say they were raped by the same classmate.

Kathy Talkington, a member of the group, says Stacey’s leadership of the group was “most inspiring.”

“She led hundreds of participants into a media blitz,” Talkington said, “that said the victims would not go quietly down in shame. Instead, they rose to the level of bringing in not only the media, but the legislature as well. There were suddenly other schools standing for victims and more media, and it led to Representative Claudia Griffith writing new legislation to be heard and later passed concerning the way schools handle these situations. There is training at both Norman schools, and it will carry over to other schools across Oklahoma.”

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights 
Alliance will honor human rights heroes from around our
great state. A recognition program  will take place at the
State Capitol. More information can be found here:

The new law, House Bill 1684, authored by Rep. Claudia Griffith, was approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives in April of this year. It provides for sexual assault prevention and response education in Oklahoma schools.

Stacey Wright commented on the significance of the bill.

“It’s huge. It’s monumental. I can’t believe what we’ve done in under 6 months. I think it will prepare administrators and hopefully students knowing how to respond to people that have been victims of this kind of violence,” she said.

Stacey’s ambition is to take the Yes All Daughters campaign to the nation and the world.

In March of this year, Stacey set her sights on the United Nations’ 59th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59). She attended as a delegate of the United Nations Association. The CSW gathers each year to determine and implement goals for gender equality and the empowerment of women worldwide.

“I wouldn’t believe it if I wasn’t living it,” Wright told the Norman Transcript. “It’s been so big, and I think we (Yes All Daughters) all feel that way— just a little bit in awe of the momentum and the fact that we’re seeing action… I think we’re in awe daily.”

Presently, YES ALL Daughters is partnering with a national campaign, SafeBAE, to end sexual violence by educating middle and high school-aged students on sexual violence and safe relationships.

“Girls ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault. Educating teens about safe and healthy relationships is essential to reversing these horrifying statistics,” Wright says.

Wright, along with Danielle Brown and Christina Owen of Yes All Daughters, are traveling to Washington, DC, for the launch.

Article 3 of the 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

Drs. P.T. and Julia Teska

Nominated by Fr. Paul Zahler, O.S.B., Ph.D. 

Dr. P.T. Teska was recruited in the early 1950’s to begin the Special Education program at the University of Oklahoma. This was prior to Public Law 94-147, so public school classes for children with special needs were not required. In conjunction with his work at the University, he spoke to many organizations around the state to promote the beginning of such classes in public schools.

Psychology: A Biosocial Study
of Behaviour by Edwin Terry
Prothro and P.T. Teska (Jan 1973)

A model class was operated at the University School, a laboratory school operated by the College of Education. Numerous graduate students received both Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Special Education with Dr. Teska as their major professor.

His model is now perpetuated locally, statewide, nationally, and worldwide through the National Institute on Developmental Delays on the campus of St. Gregory’s University, founded and directed by Fr. Paul Zahler, O.S.B., Ph.D.

Dr. Teska was not a proponent of institutionalization and worked to help parents advocate for a more normal environment for their children.

Dr. Julia Teska in 1985.

Dr. Teska’s widow, Julia Teska, has continued in the field and currently serves on the board of directors for a community facility for adults with developmental disabilities and also serves on the board of the “Bridges out of Poverty” organization in Delaware County. She has been on these boards for nearly 20 years.

In her job at a community action agency, she assists felons in locating and maintaining employment, provides financial literacy training for low-income families and individuals, and assists those applying for disability income. She also trains new Child Welfare supervisors who are working in the resolution of a federal lawsuit to provide safe and secure home placements for children referred to OKDHS.

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance will honor human rights heroes from around our great state. A recognition program will take place at the State Capitol. Dr. Julia Teska will be honored along with her late husband. More information about the program can be found here: “Celebrate Human Rights.”

“Discrimination against any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person.”
— From the Preamble of the 
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Fundacion Iris Violeta

Through the Fundacion Iris Violeta, after-school tutoring is provided
to children in Oklahoma City. 

Iris Santos, nacio en naranjito Puerto Rico y fue una luchadora de los derechos humanos Y EDUCADORA.

Nominated by John Pettyjohn

The Fundacion Iris Violeta was named in memory of Iris Violeta Santos Rivera, an advocate for the children of Oklahoma City Public Schools for over 35 years.

Otilia Fuentes (right) brings a holiday gift to a grateful
woman in El Salvador — made possible through the
Fundaion Iris Violeta.

Wilfredo Santos-Rivera speaks freely of his love for his sister. She inspired Wilfredo with her words and her example. Her spirit continues to illuminate the good actions of Wilfredo, Otilia, and their friends and supporters. Through them, children are being tutored in Oklahoma City. Children are being fed in El Salvador. People are being encouraged and empowered.

Wilfredo writes:

“Iris Violeta Santos Rivera was born with a compassionate heart and a fine mind. She was a natural teacher. She loved children, and they loved her. It was the key to winning their respect and critical to the learning process.

“She taught children of all races and fought for their rights. Administrators and teachers who violated children’s rights were confronted by an expert on education law. She knew her “due process” and saved many children from long term suspension and tutored them to success, when many were on the brink of failure.

Wilfredo Santos-Rivera

“She worked for the Indian Controlled School Boards for many years and won their respect. She Chaired the NAACP Education Committee for 17 years and won their respect. She was an advocate for the children of Oklahoma City Public Schools for over 35 years and won the respect of the children and parents that she helped. She was a natural leader and a wonderful mentor. She taught me many lessons.

“She fed my intellectual curiosity. She taught me how to be a good problem-solver. She taught me how to serve the community and humanity.

“Our parents were farmers. She was proud of her roots and would return to Puerto Rico to recharge her inspirational energy. She continued to give her talent to the community, in spite of her breast cancer. She was a radical against injustice and was always a truth-teller. Many of us reaped the rewards of her wisdom. I will love you always Iris Violeta, my soul sister.”

“The advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.” 
–From the Preamble of the 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

A True Kickapooo Warrior and Gentleman

Lawrence Brewer Wahpepah
McLoud
Nominated by Fr. Paul Zahler, O.S.B., Ph.D. 

Mr. Wahpepah is being honored posthumously. He died in 2014.

Lawrence Wahpepah was born in McLoud, OK, in 1924. He graduated from Dale High School and enlisted in the United States Navy, serving during World War II.

Francena Wahpepah with her husband, Lawrence.

After the war, Mr. Wahpepah returned to his hometown. He found employment at Tinker Air Force Base, and he served his community in many ways. For example, he served as the mayor of McLoud. He sat as a tribal judge for the Potawatomi and Sauk and Fox tribes. He volunteered as a Little League coach, and he enjoyed singing at many pow-wows.

Lawrence married Francena Wahweahon in 1949. He and Cena had three daughters: Betty, Leslie, and Carol.

Lawrence Wahpepah had a deep sense of public service.  He was a huge supporter of Human Rights for Native Americans as well as his entire country.  This was illustrated by his two terms as McLoud’s mayor.  He also was on the McLoud City council and he was a long time tribal judge, defending the rights of his fellow Native Americans.

In the U.S. Navy, Mr. Wahpepah saw action in the Aleutians Islands.  The Alaskan government, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, issued a citation that states, “the State of Alaska salutes Lawrence Wahpepah, a veteran of the heroic effort that defeated and expelled invading Imperial Japanese forces from Alaska.”

Lawrence and Francena’s three daughters graduated from McLoud High School and excelled in Academics.  When asked the secret of their children’s success, Francena said softly, “We taught them to always do their best and to be self-reliant and to treat others well.”  This philosophy was duplicated in their support of a Bureau of Indian Affairs three-year grant for the Kickapoo Native American Home Start Project for children with special needs.

Mr. Wahpepah was 90 years old when he died.

At the time of his death, it was written:

“Lawrence was a true Kickapoo warrior and gentleman who was a role model for not only his family, but for his community as well. No matter where he traveled, he never met a stranger.”

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance will honor human rights heroes from around our great state. A recognition program will take place at the State Capitol. Lawrence Wahpepah will be among those to be recognized. More information about the program can be found here: “Celebrate Human Rights.”

Read Mr. Wahpepah’s obituary in the Norman Transcript:
http://www.normantranscript.com/obituaries/lawrence-b-wahpepah/article_1660b9c0-30ad-11e4-bc2e-001a4bcf887a.html 

Article 16 of the 
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Tina Peña

Tina Peña
Tulsa
(Nominated by Hilda De Leon Xavier)

Tulsa World photo.

Tina Peña is a host of “Temas en Tulsa,” a television program that covers current events and crucial topics of importance to Spanish speaking and English speaking viewers. A member of the United Nations Association of Eastern Oklahoma, Tina serves on the Governor’s Task force for the Advancement of Hispanic Students in Higher Education, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the ACLU. She is also the past Chair for the National Board of Medical Interpreters.

Professionally, Tina Peña is an Associate Professor of Spanish and a Medical Interpreter Trainer at Tulsa Community College. She helped found DREAM Act Oklahoma where she worked arduously with undocumented students. She educates the community in general about the plight of the immigrant.

Recently she brought Jocelyn Samuels, the Office of Civil Rights director (appointed by President Obama) to speak in Tulsa about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, all because she believes in educating the community about dealing with our growing diverse community.

In 2013, Tina was recognized as an “Orgullo Peruano” by Peruanos en Oklahoma, and she has also won the Nania 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award, and the 2007 Pinnacle Award. Tina is also a board member of the Language and Cultural Bank and the Martin Luther King Board.

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights
Alliance will honor human rights heroes from around our
great state. A recognition program will take place at the
State Capitol. More information about the program
can be found here: “Celebrate Human Rights.”

One of Tina’s passions is her work in support of the Mita’s Foundation, a Tulsa-based non-profit organization that organizes assistance projects for children in Peru.

Every year several volunteers take their Christmas vacation to make a mission trip to Culebras, Peru. The Port of Culebras is located five hours north of Lima, the capital of Peru. Christmas 2015 will make the fifth consecutive year that two of the volunteers here in the USA, take their Christmas vacation to go and serve Peru by helping those children who would not otherwise receive a present during this very special holiday.

In Tina’s spare time she enjoys tutoring the local youth of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Tina Peña is a great asset to the people of Oklahoma. She is a great advocate for our immigrants, undocumented students, and LGBT rights —  making her a fitting recipient of the 2015 Oklahoma Human Rights Award.

Article 26 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. 

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace….

Lynda K. Powell and The Bethel Foundation

Lynda K. Powell and The Bethel Foundation
Edmond
(Nominated by Hilda de Leon Xavier)

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights 
Alliance will honor human rights heroes from around our
great state. A recognition program  will take place at the
State Capitol. More information can be found here:

The Bethel Foundation reaches out to one single mom at a time — giving a ray of sunshine at the end of the tunnel by providing team support with mentoring, rehabilitation and quality housing. Bethel takes pride in helping mothers get on their feet! Lynda Powell, founder of the Bethel Foundation, was a struggling single mother who saw the need for the resources Bethel provides to the community.

It was Lynda Powell’s experience as a struggling single mother that led her to dedicate her life to provide opportunities for others. Lynda founded the Bethel Foundation in 2004, with the mission of making single mothers more productive citizens. She works daily to help alleviate the roadblocks that keep single mothers from taking steps to provide a better life for themselves and their children.

In addition to serving single mothers and their children, the Bethel Foundation also serves many others who need help. For example, after the Moore tornado of 2013, FEMA and the American Red Cross started referring tornado victims to the Bethel Foundation.

Lynda Powell writes, “While we started out as a Single Mothers ministry and still our main focus, we are now serving so many others that need our help.” Bethel Foundation is now recognized as a Long Term Recovery Agency that helps in many different ways.

Her foundation provides support through mentoring, rehabilitation and quality housing options designed to help struggling single mothers get back on their feet. Since the Bethel Foundation began almost a decade ago, the Oklahoma City nonprofit has helped more than 58,000 single mothers, single fathers, children and families (through 2014). By the time 2015 is over, they will have served another 10 to 12,000 people.

Bethel Foundation in the News: 

“Bethel Foundation’s food bank open even though school is closed”
KFOR.com, 2/6/14
http://kfor.com/2014/02/06/bethel-foundations-food-bank-open-even-though-school-is-closed/

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
–Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

World Experiences Foundation

World Experiences Foundation
Norman
(Nominated by Hilda de Leon Xavier)

WEF is a 501(c)3 organization that strives to bring people of color and people with diverse experiences in school classrooms to impart anti-bias education.

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights 
Alliance will honor human rights heroes from around our
great state. A recognition program  will take place at the
State Capitol. More information can be found here:

The mission of the nonprofit is to promote global citizenship in Oklahoma communities, and fight racism and bigotry with anti-bias multicultural and multilingual education. WEF was founded in 2013 by Norman resident and the 2015 Oklahoma Multicultural Teacher of the Year Akash Patel.

In less than 2 years, WEF has recruited dozens of international student volunteers to bring diverse learning experiences to over 17,000 students at 41 schools and trained hundreds of teachers in inter-disciplinary global learning across the state of Oklahoma. Their presentations and events are exciting and informative, and more importantly, act as a catalyst in causing individuals young and old to think about all the aspects involved with multiculturalism.

WEF is making a positive difference in Oklahoma and it is well-deserving of this award.

“Our digital partnerships with schools and people around the world have afforded unmatched global learning opportunities for students at this inner-city school in Oklahoma City! From mystery skypes to Google Hangout to video conferencing, students have interacted with and learned from classes and leaders from all across the globe.” 
–From the World Experiences Foundation website
http://worldexperiencesfoundation.org/2015/06/20/global-connect/  







“All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.”
–Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Lynn Schusterman

Photo from NewsOK.com

Lynn Schusterman – A Human Rights Champion
Tulsa
(Nominated by Bill Bryant) 

Lynn Schusterman is the Founder and Co-Chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, a global organization that seeks to ignite the passion and unleash the power in young people to create positive change for themselves, in Oklahoma and across the broader world.

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights 
Alliance will honor human rights heroes from around our
great state. A recognition program  will take place at the
State Capitol. More information can be found here:

The Schusterman Foundation supports the Parent Child Center in Tulsa and its efforts to deliver cutting-edge domestic violence prevention and intervention treatment programs to the most at-risk families. Through the foundation, Ms. Schusterman has also invested in long-term partnerships with the University of Oklahoma-Child Abuse Pediatrics, Child Protection Coalition, Family and Children’s Services, the Family Safety Center and Youth Services of Tulsa, and others.

In February of this year, Ms. Schusterman penned an op-ed (published on NewsOK.com) in which she strongly criticized proposed legislation “attacking the rights of LGBT individuals and attempting to deprive their families of the rights provided to all others.”

Ms. Schusterman wrote: “The people of Oklahoma deserve better…. Now is the moment to boldly look forward to how we can more constructively address critical issues and create a respectful, welcoming future for Oklahoma that upholds a fundamental commitment to inclusionary policies and practices for all.” 

I admire Ms. Schusterman’s voice and values.

“Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.”
–Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Convention on the Rights of the Child 
Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 November 1989 

The States Parties to the present Convention… 

Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding…

Have agreed as follows: 

States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child… without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. 

Dr. Jeanne Mather

Dr. Jeanne Mather – A Human Rights Champion
Chickasha
(nominated by Akash Patel)

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights
Alliance will honor human rights heroes from around our
great state. A recognition program  will take place at the
State Capitol. More information can be found here:
Celebrate Human Rights.”

A faculty leader in multicultural education and service learning, Dr. Jeanne Mather has been a member of the USAO faculty in Education since 1990. She is Oklahoma’s 2015 Multicultural Citizen of the Year.

One of her passions is helping others. One way she does this is through the Books for Tots Program which she founded and which has distributed over 80,000 new books to needy children since its inception in 1998.

Another of her passions is multicultural education, strongly influenced by her own Hispanic background. After working a few years at USAO, Dr. Mather received a grant entitled Building a Legacy. This grant targeted minority junior high school students with hopes of becoming first generation college graduates. Over several years, this grant enabled hundreds of minority students to view college campus life up close for the first time.

She also co-founded USAO’s Bear Project this year that donated over 1,000 stuffed animals to Syrian children in refugee camps.

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
–Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Juan Iglesias

Juan Iglesias – A Human Rights Champion
Oklahoma City
(nominated by Hilda De Leon Xavier)

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights
Alliance will honor human rights heroes from around our
great state. A recognition program will take place at the
State Capitol. More information about the program
can be found here: “Celebrate Human Rights.”

“I believe I support human rights through the art form of dance. Every year a dance piece is created that raises human rights awareness. Such topics have included the human rights in Venezuela, the chaos in Ferguson, Human Trafficking, and the missing students in Ayotzinapa Mexico. Each time a piece is created the students research the topic and are expanding their knowledge of human rights when the dance is performed the audience is educated, and it opens their eyes to the human rights struggles faced not only in other countries but here in Oklahoma as well.

“Here in Oklahoma but especially on the southside, I believe supporting each and every student to be treated equally and fairly, is defining human rights. No child no matter their economic or social status should go without an education and the opportunity to be able to succeed in life. They will not be limited or discriminated against because of their gender, nationality or sexual orientation.”

See a 3-minute video about his work with students at Jefferson Middle School in Oklahoma City: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBnJ5_3A-Zo 

“Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.” 
–Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

OU Unheard

OU Unheard
Norman 

From the nomination submitted by Marina Rodriguez —

Unheard’s Mission:

On December 10th, the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights 
Alliance will honor human rights heroes from around our
great state. A recognition program  will take place at the
State Capitol. More information can be found here:

Unheard is a movement dedicated to enact change and address various grievances aimed towards Black students at the University of Oklahoma.

Before the SAE scandal at the University of Oklahoma, OU Unheard students were organizing, protesting, and making their voices heard for all black students who felt they were being left out of the discussion.

Their group has continued to work vigorously to demand equal opportunities on the campus not only for black students but for all peoples of color. After the blatantly racist video from SAE surfaced, they stepped into the spotlight as the leaders of change and opened up a conversation that was so needed. National news coverage took over the campus but they remained organized and their words were more powerful and necessary than ever before. For the first time at OU (and all over Oklahoma) faculty, staff, and students had to address the inequality so many black students face everyday. I’m so incredibly moved by this group.

“OU Unheard” in the news: 

“Black University of Oklahoma students urge change after racist video”
Mashable.com, 3/10/2015
http://mashable.com/2015/03/10/oklahoma-fraternity-black-students/#a3bJgdaY.8ql

“OU Unheard to receive award for equality efforts”
The Oklahoma Daily, 10/14/2015
http://www.oudaily.com/news/ou-unheard-to-receive-award-for-equality-efforts/article_c9a80cbe-72b4-11e5-95af-8b846aa33cbb.html 

“Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”
–Article 6 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights