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Join us February 1st at Prairie Artisan Ales for our Young Professional Happy Hour with Whitney Anderson

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Whitney Anderson, Executive Director of The Dragonfly Home

Join United Nations Association of OKC as we host Whitney Anderson of The Dragonfly Home at our Young Professional Happy Hour on Thursday, February 1st at 6 PM at Prairie Artisan Ales at 3 NE 8th St.

Whitney Anderson is co-founder and Executive Director of The Dragonfly Home, an organization serving those impacted by human trafficking.

She gained her experience working with survivors of sex and labor trafficking abroad, then participated on Oklahoma’s Human Trafficking Taskforce and assisted in the establishment of a state certified shelter for adult victims of sex trafficking. She has extensive experience providing direct care for survivors of sex and labor trafficking, building partnerships and leveraging strengths in the community to combat human trafficking, and increasing community awareness of the crime. 

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Prairie Artisan Ales OKC Taproom

Whitney is a member of the Office for Victims of Crime Consultant Network and has spoken nationally on matters of trafficking in professional, academic, community, and tribal settings to thousands of individuals.

In 2016, Whitney, seeing a major gap in services for survivors of human trafficking in Oklahoma, co-founded The Dragonfly Home. There, she alongside her team, opened Oklahoma’s first state-certified crisis center for victims of human trafficking, The Dragonfly Home Human Trafficking Relief and Restoration Center, which provides specialized, non-residential services to human trafficking victim/survivors.

We’re proud to have Whitney help us kick off our first YP Happy Hour of the year and we can’t wait to see you there!

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Lydia Gill-Polley

Join us on Saturday, December 9th, as we honor the memory of Lydia Gill-Polley – along with 12 other winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award. The program will begin at 10am in the House Chamber of the Oklahoma Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. You’re welcome to join us!

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Lydia Gill-Polley (July 18, 1931 – Sept. 24, 2017) was a lifelong advocate of “peace and justice for all.” An adult educator by profession, Polley conducted training events nationwide and in Costa Rica. A renowned speaker and workshop facilitator, she attracted “repeat participants” who proclaimed her sessions as “the most rewarding you’ve ever been a part of.” Polley worked as Oklahoma State Coordinator with Congressman Dennis Kucinich to promote a United States Department of Peace. A fierce anti-death penalty activist, she served as OK-CADP’s chair, co-chair, and secretary and was active with the group until her death.

“As a tireless resister of the death penalty, I knew that she frequently visited and befriended death row inmates, and worked for their clemency, believing that all of us are more than the worst thing we have ever done,” said Robin Meyers, Senior Minister at Mayflower Church, where she attended.

Nominated by Darla Jane Shelden.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 5.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

Michael Barlow

Join us on Saturday, December 9th, as we honor the memory of Michael Barlow – along with 12 other winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award. The program will begin at 10am in the House Chamber of the Oklahoma Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. You’re welcome to join us!

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Michael Barlow (Nov. 2, 1944 – Nov. 28, 2015) was a passionate teacher who often performed workshops and seminars for school administrators. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Educator’s Hall of Fame in 2010. Many knew him as an ardent supporter of the State of Israel, a voice for the Oklahoma City Jewish Community, a negotiator and education consultant, a teacher, union leader, an improv comic, a snow camper, cross country skier, world traveler and the guy with the “Moses beard.”

Wilfredo Santos Rivera nominated Michael Barlow for this award. Rivera remembers Barlow as a “mover and a shaker for labor and for education.”

“We miss him dearly,” he added.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 26.
(1) Everyone has the right to education….
(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.
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

Dr. Mari Fagin

Join us on Saturday, December 9th, as we celebrate Mari Fagin and 12 other winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award. The program will begin at 10am in the House Chamber of the Oklahoma Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. You’re welcome to join us!

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Dr. Mari Fagin‘s life’s work has included positions as a college professor, director of outpatient services of a large mental health center, and a private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marital and Family Therapist. She is a member of Temple B’nai Israel in Oklahoma City and is committed to the encouragement and support of interfaith relationships and activities. She is a board member of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma and a former chairman of the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 22.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

 

Peter K. Schaffer

Join us on Saturday, December 9th, as we celebrate Pete Schaffer and 12 other winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award. The program will begin at 10am in the House Chamber of the Oklahoma Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. You’re welcome to join us!

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Attorney Peter K. Schaffer opened Kaiser’s Grateful Bean Café on North Walker, in Oklahoma City in 1993 with the intent to hire people down on their luck. The people that he hires are from half-way houses, Dale Rodgers Training Center, the Department of Corrections and court-related or mental-health organizations. The café hires people in need as a “hand-up not a hand-out.” Last Thanksgiving, Schaffer opened his restaurant to homeless people, gave them a typical Thanksgiving Dinner with all the trimmings and had volunteers waiting on each table.

“Pete’s selfless work on behalf of the less-fortunate among us for so many years certainly qualifies him for the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Award,” said OKUHRA vice chair John Walters.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 23.
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

Veronica Laizure

Join us on Saturday, December 9th, as we celebrate Veronica Laizure and 12 other winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award. The program will begin at 10am in the House Chamber of the Oklahoma Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. You’re welcome to join us!

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Attorney Veronica Laizure is the Civil Rights Director for the Council on American Islamic Relations Oklahoma Chapter (CAIR-OK). She was nominated by the organization’s executive director, Adam Soltani who said, “Veronica Laizure is defining what it means to protect the human rights for one of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable communities: the Oklahoma Muslim Community.”

In addition to her work for CAIR-OK, Laizure’s commentary on the state of civil rights in Oklahoma has been published in dozens of media outlets. She has been asked to speak on the topic at organizations including the Oklahoma Department of Education, the John Hope Franklin Symposium, the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission, and many interfaith programs.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 18.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

Rena Guay

Join us on Saturday, December 9th, as we celebrate Rena Guay and 12 other winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award. The program will begin at 10am in the House Chamber of the Oklahoma Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. You’re welcome to join us!

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A longtime activist, Rena Guay has worked to combat sexism, poverty, racism, homophobia, AIDS, homelessness, and war, seeking a unified vision of peace, justice and community. Her photographs provide a visual record of Oklahoma City’s progressive movement, and she has used her technology skills to further her causes through websites, podcasts and on social media. She serves as chair of Amnesty OKC and is the state death penalty abolition coordinator for Amnesty USA.

Nominated by David Brinker.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 21.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

Narciso Arguelles

Join us on Saturday, December 9th, as we celebrate Narciso Arguelles and 12 other winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award. The program will begin at 10am in the House Chamber of the Oklahoma Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. You’re welcome to join us!

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Narciso Argüelles’ life is rooted in education and service. With time spent balancing community work, teaching art, and an art career, he has played a significant role in the development of Oklahoma’s first Latino Cultural Center, to be unveiled later this year. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the non-profit group, Inclusion in Art, whose mission is to advance racial and cultural diversity.

Inclusion in Art’s mission is to advance racial and cultural diversity in Oklahoma’s visual arts community. The group puts on exhibits at @1219 Creative Galley, near the Plaza District, for artists of color. They have also started a mentor program with the goal of teaching students the in’s and out’s of putting on a successful exhibition.

For the last six years, Arguelles has worked full time at the high school level, and teaching at night at OCCC, Oklahoma School of Science and Math (OSSM), and Rose State College.

Most recently, Mr. Arguelles produced and directed a conceptual art film – part of which was filmed in the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum. The film, called “Imaginary Spaces,” includes Wanbli Tallchief dancing with members of the Oklahoma City Ballet in the still unfinished cultural center. (The museum is scheduled to be finished in October, 2021). If the name of Wanbli Tallchief is familiar, it is because she is related to the famous Tallchief ballerinas.

Nominated by Hilda De Leon Xavier.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 19.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

 

Anne Murray

Join us on Saturday, December 9th, as we celebrate Anne Murray and 12 other winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award. The program will begin at 10am in the House Chamber of the Oklahoma Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. You’re welcome to join us!

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For most of her adult life, Anne Murray has been an active advocate for numerous human rights and social justice issues. She has been a volunteer at the Peace House in Oklahoma City since 1985, working on its Peace Strategy Newspaper, helping to organize public events, speakers and films, and serving today as its volunteer financial accountant.

In the 1980’s and early ‘90’s, Murray was an active member of NukeWatch, which did fall and spring demonstrations at the Pantex Nuclear Weapons facility in Amarillo, TX. Activists, including Murray, watched the plant and followed unmarked convoys of nuclear weapons trucks delivering H-bombs to facilities as widespread as Knoxville, TN, Grand Forks, ND, Cheyenne, WY, and the San Diego Naval Base in California. These efforts did much to alert the American public to the many “H-Bombs on our Highways.”

A longtime opponent of capital punishment, Murray has been the Unitarian Church representative to OKCADP, the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Following two years of church classes given by Murray and others, the members of the Unitarian Church voted unanimously to designate it as “Abolition Church.” Murray has also been involved several years no with “Moms Demand Action on Gun Control.”

For 15 years, Murray has served as Chair of the Social Justice Committee of the First Unitarian Church in Oklahoma City. In this position, she has called for active support for human rights and social justice events at the church. For example, the church has raised over $55,000 to support the micro-lending mission of FINCA in Guatemala. Through the program, small loans are made to impoverished women to support their cottage industries and businesses. The loans – usually less than $100 – are paid back with interest.

Murray first traveled to Guatemala in 1987 on a human rights mission to learn about the challenges facing Guatemala during the civil strife there. She became involved with the national organization, “Women For Guatemala.” She also helped to form a group to import from Guatemalan women the weaving and handcrafts they produced. The products were sold in Oklahoma, with all proceeds returned to the women in Guatemala.

In 1992, when Rigoberta Menchu was selected to receive the Nobel Prize for Peace, Murray was one of 20 international women who accompanied Ms. Menchu, providing protection for the Nobel laureate.

For these and other efforts, Anne Murray richly deserves to be recognized as a champion of human rights.

Nominated by Nathaniel Batchelder.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 3.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

Victor Acosta

Join us on Saturday, December 9th, as we celebrate Victor Acosta and 12 other winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award. The program will begin at 10am in the House Chamber of the Oklahoma Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. You’re welcome to join us!

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Victor Acosta was born in San Luis Potosi (Mexico). He moved to Oklahoma City at the age of seventeen, and he has called OKC his home since then. In 2008, he graduated from Santa Fe South High School. His academic achievements led him to receive an Oklahoma’s Promise Scholarship as well as a scholarship from the Latino Community Development Agency. He attended the University of Central Oklahoma, graduating in 2014 with a major in Graphic Design.

As part of the Hispanic community, Victor likes to be involved with and help different organizations using his talent in design. Currently, he is taking a leadership class with the World Experiences Foundation. He is working on a project to organize a foundation to help immigrant students who have just arrived in the United States. He plans to name the foundation, “Not Alone.”

This year, Victor Acosta has been recognized for a “Next Gen Under 30” Award for his work in graphic design. He has also been selected as “Mr. Fiesta de Las Americas.” He plans to use his position as crowned Mr. Fiesta de Las Americas to motivate and help other generations. He is also very active and involved with Dream Act Oklahoma.

President Trump’s decision to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy creates uncertainty for young people like Victor Acosta, putting them at risk of deportation unless there is Congressional action or a change of heart by Mr. Trump.

Dr. Nyla Ali Khan, a previous recipient of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award, writes:

“Victor Acosta is an accomplished and ambitious person. He came to this country as an adolescent and was motivated by his family to overcome several barriers, linguistic, cultural, and economic in order to forge ahead with panache. He witnessed his parents’ struggle in the land of opportunity and would be devastated if he is separated from them.”

“It would serve us well to remember that the Latinos/ Hispanics who came to this country as minors identify as Americans and have a firm conviction in the values that the founding father of the United States built this country upon.”

Nominated by Miguel Angel Aponte.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 15.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html