“Lawyers refer human and civil rights cases to Rex. I have seen him in the trenches, community activities for 30 years. Pro-bono work for the poor is his stock-in-trade.”
Rex Friend is active in Oklahoma’s interfaith community, he defends the rights of immigrants, and he speaks for the rights of prisoners and others. He will be honored as one of the 2016 winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award.
After growing up on a cattle ranch in rural northwest Oklahoma, Rex Friend attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University, where he received his B.A. in Sociology in 1975. He then began at the University of Oklahoma, which he received his M.A. in Sociology in 1980. After working as a social worker at Children’s Hospital for several years, Rex entered law school. He received his J.D. in 1983 from OU.
Seeing clients from various religious and several nations is standard practice for Rex, as he practices Immigration Law in Oklahoma City. He has also represented many stigmatized populations: gays and lesbians, prisoners, the disabled, and persons with AIDS.
Mr. Friend served six years on the Executive Committee of the Central Region of the American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world). He serves on the board of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the Peace House, the Oklahoma Conference of Churches, and several non-profits that further his values of improving life for our marginalized brothers and sisters.
To the greatest extent possible, Rex approaches issues from a preventive, problem solving perspective, focused on root causes. He relies on the power of dialogue and respect to build bridges with potential “opponents.” This commitment to non-adversarial relationships reflects the Quaker beliefs of non-violence and respecting and maintaining the dignity of all people.
When asked about the pivotal influences that resulted in the nature of his practice being one of service, Rex states, “As a boy growing up in a rural, sparsely populated, northwest, Freedom, Oklahoma, my family, my community, and church impressed upon me that whatever talents I might have, I should develop and use for the common good.”
You’re invited to attend the presentation of the 2016 Human Rights Awards on Saturday, December 10th, in the House Chamber of the Oklahoma State Capitol. The program will begin at 10am. It will be emcee’d by former State Representative Seneca Scott. There is no charge to attend. Following the awards program, you are invited to enjoy a Free Speech Forum in the Senate Assembly Room from 12 Noon to 2pm.
Every year, the Oklahoma Human Rights Awards are co-sponsored by the Oklahoma City chapter of the United Nations Association and the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance.
Previous winners of the award include educators, physicians, students, and community volunteers from many different communities and all walks of life. They are united by their enduring commitment to the values and principles expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For more information about the awards program, please contact Wilfredo Santosrivera, 405-631-3027.