Applications for UNA-OKC’s 2019 PowHer Microgrant open January 1, 2019

una okc powher microgrant flyer 2019

The United Nations is the one organization with the vision and reach to address the world’s most pressing challenges. For over 70 years, the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) has informed, inspired, and mobilized the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations.

On September 25th 2015, countries around the world adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all- as part of the new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people just like you.

We at United Nations Association OKC are calling on Oklahomans to be part of the solution. We need you to act now! The time is now for us to invest in the future we want. Please help UNA OKC in Celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th by awarding two girls in our community with a $250 grant to go towards their community project/service as they do their part in creating a sustainable future.

Our microgrants are designed to:
1.) Support passionate, committed women and girls with a social change vision.
2.) Support Projects in their early stage of development and where a small amount of money will go a long way. We want to kick start your dreams for a better future.
3.) Support projects/initiatives that align and promote one or more of Sustainable Development Goals.

Eligibility Criteria

UNA OKC will be awarding 2- $250 scholarships at our Women’s Day event in March 2019.

• The individual/organization must be located in OKC and metro areas.
• One microgrant will be granted to one middle school or high school student and the other to women 18 & older.
• The individual/organization must be willing to provide UNA OKC with statistics regarding their project and when possible, provide UNA OKC with stories to share.
• The individual must agree to becoming a member of UNA-OKC (if you are a student under 25, your membership is free)
• The individual/organization must commit to writing blog post quarterly regarding the process of the initiative and the work they are doing to be published on United Nations Association OKC website and social media accounts.

Application Process

• Individuals or organizations must submit a completed application online by the grant deadline
• Applications open Monday, January 1, 2019 and will close on Thursday February 2, 2019 at 11:59 pm Central Standard Time
• Winners of the scholarship will be announced the week of February 18, 2019.
• $250 Scholarship will be awarded to winners at our March 2019 Women’s Day event.

Fill out the application at this link.

If you have any questions, please email


You’re invited to our annual UN Day celebration, “Human Rights, Close to Home” featuring keynote speaker Dr. Evelyn Aswad

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This year, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70 years old. UNA-OKC wanted to celebrate this momentous occasion with you all during our annual UN Day celebration on November 3, 2018 at Will Rogers Gardens from 12:30-2:30 pm.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages. It remains one of the most highly translated books in modern times.

We at UNA-OKC believe that human rights start right here at home. It starts with individual action that improves the lives of those living in our local communities. We have people right here in Oklahoma doing the toughest work in the most needed places. It’s educators, community organizers, civic organizations, healthcare providers, agricultural providers, and many more. It is the person living next door to you. With each of us lies the opportunity to have an impact on our community.

For this event, Dr. Evelyn Aswad will be bringing her experience to the forefront in working in and around the UN embodying the spirit of the UDHR. She will be speaking about the intersections of human rights and international business operations. Her talk is entitled “Seventy Years Later: The Relevance of the UDHR in International Business Operations.”

Evelyn Mary Aswad is a Professor of Law and the Herman G. Kaiser Chair in International Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. She is also the founder and director of the College’s Center for International Business & Human Rights, which is the first center of its kind at a U.S. law school. The Center’s mission is to prepare College of Law students to address the growing human rights challenges faced by U.S. companies operating abroad and to provide academic think tank expertise to influence positively contemporary international business and human rights issues. Professor Aswad also provides advice on human rights matters to the U.S. Department of State through her service on its Advisory Committee on International Law as well as its Stakeholder Advisory Board on matters of responsible business conduct abroad. From 2013-2017, she served on the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy Through Law, which is an expert body that issued opinions on a variety of human rights and rule of law matters with regard to countries in Europe and the Middle East. As a College of Law professor, she has also spoken about her human rights law research at venues ranging from the United Nations in Geneva to Stanford University in Palo Alto.

Professor Aswad has brought numerous senior officials from the United Nations, NATO, the U.S. State Department, and international human rights groups to speak at OU Law and has taken her students to international human rights meetings in Central America, Europe, and Washington, DC. She has created a variety of cutting edge international law courses, including a course in which students provided academic research assistance to non-governmental organizations that help vulnerable communities in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. She also led a group of students in conducting a pro bono legal research project about ISIS atrocities occurring in Syria and Iraq. She has helped her students obtain human rights internships at the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, and with international NGOs. Professor Aswad was named outstanding faculty member by the College of Law’s student body in 2014, received the university-wide Boren Award for Global Engagement in 2016, and was awarded the World Experiences Foundation’s Global Citizen in Law/Politics Award in 2017.

Prior to joining OU, Professor Aswad worked at the U.S. Department of State for about 14 years, most recently as the director of the legal office for human rights and refugee matters. She served as the legal adviser for U.S. government delegations to numerous international negotiations at the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. She also taught international human rights law and multilateral negotiation techniques to U.S. diplomats at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. In addition, she taught international courses at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service as well as its Law Center as an adjunct professor while she was living in Washington, D.C.

UN Day 2018 Save the Date

We are very much looking forward to hosting Dr. Aswad. Please join us for a silent auction, an engaging discussion followed by a question and answer period. Food and refreshments will be provided.

Tickets are $15.00 for students, and $20.00 for adults and you can order your tickets here.  If a scholarship is needed please email us at If you’re able to donate more, please do, as we will use it to cover individuals who want to attend but require financial assistance. UNA OKC is dedicated to accessibility for all and no one will be turned away.

People can also pay cash/card at the door the day of the event.

We hope to see you there!




You’re invited to UNA-OKC’s 2018 International Day of Peace Celebration

Oklahoma City Day of Peace Celebration 2018

With all that is happening in the world and the urgent need for peace to help communities heal and rebuild, we at UNA-OKC, believe in the the power of food as tool of peace. Peace begins with individual action and we believe nothing starts a conversation better than a good meal. We believe in the power of food in cultivating community knowledge and power that builds foundations, friendships, collaborations, and connections.

An emerging field in diplomatic relations, culinary diplomacy,  studies how food can be used as a tool to promote relationship-building, cooperation, and peace. It is one of the oldest diplomatic tools in use today. Read more about it here.

With all of this in mind, we hope you can join us for a community culture potluck. No community affiliation necessary. Just bring yourself, a dish (from your culture if applicable and if you feel comfortable), and an open mind and heart. Let’s nourish ourselves as we build bonds and bridges.

This event is scheduled for Tuesday, September 18, 2018 from 6:00-8:30 p.m. at Nappy Roots Books located at 3705 Springlake Drive, OKC 73111 (the corner store at NW 37th and Kelley Avenue in Park Plaza).

Peace Day 2018

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at We hope to see you there.

Meet Sarah Adams-Cornell, guest speaker at our Young Professionals Happy Hour Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sarah Adams-Cornell August YP Photo

At our Young Professional Coffee Hour on August 9th, our guest speaker is Sarah Adams-Cornell.

This month’s topic is World Indigenous Peoples Day. International Day of the World’s Indigenous People which occurs on August 9th each year, is to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. It was first pronounced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994, marking the day of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, in 1982. Sarah will be talking about the work she does locally with Indigenous Populations and how we can support her important work right here at home.

Sarah Adams-Cornell is an advocate for Native American culture, education and rights. She is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and serves on the Board of Directors for Sovereign Community School Project where she focuses on community engagement. Sarah co-created an intertribal organization to empower Native women called Matriarch that serves women in central and NE Oklahoma. Sarah is the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the ACLU of Oklahoma. She also serves on the BOD for Live Indigenous OK and has been working alongside other Native advocates to see Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognized in OKC. Sarah is a proud ally member of Central Oklahoma Two Spirit Society, serves on the board of the World Experiences Foundation and was Activist in Residence at the University of Oklahoma.

Sarah was awarded the 2017 NCAIED Native American 40 Under 40, 2017 Journal Record 50 Women Making a Difference, the Gazette’s 2016 40 Under 40, 2015 Oklahoma Humanitarian Award and the 2014 Cottey College Young Alumna of the Year.

Sarah has worked alongside other advocates to eliminate Land Run Reenactments and Native mascots in OKC Public Schools and co-created a new program called Oklahoma History Day, a diverse and accurate account of Oklahoma history through statehood.

Through Matriarch, Live Indigenous OK and Idle No More Central Oklahoma, Sarah has helped host rallies and meetings throughout Oklahoma to educate and bring light to human and environmental injustices. Both groups champion issues like the Violence Against Women Act, preservation of the Indian Child Welfare Act, opposition to Tar Sands pipelines and DAPL, protection of sacred sites, healing generational trauma, supporting Native youth and preserving Native traditions.

Sarah values the traditional ways of her people. She and her daughters have learned the Choctaw language and enjoy singing, dance, beading, basket making, dress making and history classes to help preserve, pass on and celebrate their Choctaw heritage.

She attended Cottey College and the University of Oklahoma and has two daughters, Bella and Gabi. Sarah works for her parent’s company, RedLand Sheet Metal and lives in Oklahoma City.


The United Nations Association of Oklahoma City is proud to host Sarah Adams-Cornell at our Young Professionals Happy Hour. It is on August 9th, 2018 at from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Nappy Roots Bookstore located at 3705 Springlake Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73111. At the NE corner of 36th & Kelley in the Park Estates Shopping Plaza. There is no cost to attend. See you there! Please RSVP on Facebook.

Meet Kaitlyn Ritchie of The Spero Project, guest speaker at our Young Professionals Happy Hour Thursday, June 14, 2018

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At our Young Professional Coffee Hour on June 14th, our guest speaker is Kaitlyn Ritchie. Kaitlyn Ritchie works with The Common Community, a program of The Spero Project, a local 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to mobilize the Church by offering entry points to partnering with under­ resourced communities. The Common serves as a resource to the international refugee community by offering tangible assistance and meaningful relationships.

This month’s topic is World Refugee Day. According to USA for UNHCR, 65.6 million individuals have been forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. To learn more facts about refugees, read more here.

Kaitlyn Ritchie was born and raised in Oklahoma and attended the University of Missouri where she studied Social Work, Sociology and Communications. She received her Masters in both Human Relations and Counseling from the University of Oklahoma in 2015. She began working at The Spero Project prior to completing her Masters in the spring of 2015. The Spero Project is a non profit based in Oklahoma City that has several innovative projects all working in under resourced communities of our city. Kaitlyn is the Director of The Common, a program of The Spero Project that works specifically with providing tangible assistance and meaningful relationships to the resettled refugee community of Oklahoma City. Most recently Kaitlyn has founded The Common Home, a therapy agency specifically providing trauma informed, bicultural therapy services to the who have experienced displacement.

June YPHH Save the date

The United Nations Association of Oklahoma City is proud to host Kaitlyn Ritchie at our Young Professionals Happy Hour. It is on June 14th at from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at The Jones Assembly located at 901 W Sheridan Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73106. There is no cost to attend. See you there! Please RSVP on Facebook.

Meet Trevor Brown of Oklahoma Watch, guest speaker at our Young Professionals Coffee Hour Thursday, May 17, 2018

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At our Young Professional Coffee Hour on May 17th, our guest speaker is Trevor Brown. Trevor Brown is works with Oklahoma Watch, one of our state’s best producers of in-depth and investigative journalism on public policy and quality-of-life issues.

This month’s topic is World Press Freedom. With constant attacks on the media, we hope to learn more about the importance of World Press Freedom and the need for journalism in today’s fast-paced and ever changing world.

Trevor Brown has covered state and local politics for nearly a decade. He has been the State Capitol reporter for Oklahoma Watch since 2016. Before that he spent five years as the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s statehouse reporter and previously covered state issues for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.’s chain of newspapers in Oklahoma. He was the city/county government reporter for the Staunton News Leader in Virginia. Brown received bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science from Indiana University, where he also served as editor-in-chief of the Indiana Daily Student. He was a Pulliam Fellow at the Indianapolis Star and an intern at the Evansville Courier & Press.

Facebook Banner World Press Day UNA-OKC YPHH May 2018

The United Nations Association of Oklahoma City is proud to host Trevor Brown at our Young Professionals Coffee Hour. It is on May 17th at from 5:30-6:45 p.m. at Classen Coffee located at  2515 N. Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73106. There is no cost to attend. See you there! Please RSVP on Facebook.

Meet Amanda Kemp, guest speaker at our Young Professionals Happy Hour Thursday, April 26, 2018

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At our Young Professional Happy Hour on April 26th, our guest speaker is Amanda Kemp. Amanda Kemp is the Director of Forensic Exams at the YWCA in Oklahoma City and April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

YWCA Oklahoma City is the only Attorney General certified provider of crisis services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Oklahoma County.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Zoology Biomedical Sciences at the University of Oklahoma in 2008 along with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She began her career at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services as a Community Capacity Builder specializing in resources for abused and neglected children. In 2009, Amanda began her career at the YWCA in Oklahoma City as a Sexual Assault Advocate and became the program’s director in 2012. As the Director of Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy, Amanda served as a member of the Oklahoma County Sexual Assault Response Team, provided assistance during over 150 SANE exams, and provided sexual assault training to law enforcement, colleges, and social service agencies throughout the state. In 2015, Mrs. Kemp received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Oklahoma and was honored with multiple awards for academic achievement, outstanding professional service, and outstanding leadership. Amanda started her career in nursing working in the Cardiac ICU at Integris Baptist Medical Center and started with the YWCA Forensic Nurse program in the summer of 2016. Amanda now serves as the Director of Forensic Exams at the YWCA in Oklahoma City where she oversees both the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program as well as the Domestic Violence Nurse Examiner program.

The United Nations Association of Oklahoma City is proud to host Amanda Kemp at our Young Professional Happy Hour. It is on April 26th at 6:30 PM at Bossa Nova Caipirinha Lounge inside Cafe do Brasil (440 NW 11th St, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73103). See you there! Please RSVP on Facebook.

Meet Lauren Atkins of #YesAllDaughters and Lauren’s Law, 2018 Youth PowHer Microgrant Project Winner

Lauren Atkins

Meet our Youth PowHer Microgrant project recipient: Lauren Atkins. She is working on passing state legislation that would teach students about healthy relationships and consent education in schools. Her project is related to Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality.

She lives in Norman, Oklahoma. As of right now, she is a senior at Norman High School but plans to attend The University of Oklahoma in the fall for political science. Growing up, she would have never guessed that she would become a political junkie.

During May of last year, she was sexually assaulted by one of her classmates. The day after when she was explaining to him what he did to her, he seemed to have no idea that what he did was a violation of her body. Though she went through with everything she thought she was supposed to do such as getting a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) exam, filing a police report, reliving it by retelling it, etc., she felt as if it were for nothing when the District Attorney decided not to continue on with the case. The saddest part was when she realized that this happens to so many women every day. The point of publicly sharing her story was to shine a light on the unfairness of rape and what comes along with it. No one should have to go through that pain.

When Stacey Wright of Yes All Daughters contacted her about my story, she had a feeling big things were to come. Stacey told her about a bill she previously introduced that had been shot down and thought that if they teamed up and changed up the language that they could get it somewhere. After changing up the language, the bill is now concerning the implementation of consent and healthy relationship classes in middle and high schools. After releasing it to the media and gaining supporters, all of the hard work put forward proved to be worth it. As of February 26th, 2018, HB2734 (Lauren’s Law) unanimously made it through the Common Education committee and now has a Senate author and ten bi-partisan co-authors from the House and Senate. (See the bill here)

Her hopes for the implementation of Lauren’s Law is to educate people on what’s right and wrong so no one else has to go through what she did. The reason she was raped was that her assailant didn’t know what he was doing was wrong. It could have been prevented if he was educated on what he is and isn’t allowed to do to regarding someone else’s body. No one deserves to go through trauma, especially because of someone else’s ignorance.  In Lauren’s words, “Education is powerful and deserves to be spread like wildfire!”

Thank you  for your dedication to making your community brighter and we look forward to updates about your project to share with our members.

Come and meet Lauren at our International Women’s Day Program scheduled for March 10, 2018 from 2-4 p.m. at the Raindrop Turkish House Oklahoma City. You can find tickets here.



Meet Vanessa Morrison and Gina Sofola of Black Space Oklahoma, 2018 Adult PowHer Microgrant Project Winner

Meet our Adult PowHer Microgrant project recipients: Vanessa Morrison and Gina Sofola. These two ladies have launched a great initiative called Black Space Oklahoma that addresses four of the Sustainable Development Goals. Those goals include: good health and well-being, industry, innovation,  and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, and sustainable cities and communities.

Historically, communities of color have been left out of spaces of influence when it comes to how communities are physically design and planned for. The consequences due to the lack of diversity in these decision-making spaces have been contributing factors to how poverty, access to resources, inequalities, health disparities, violence, and the overall erasure of culture heavily impacts our most vulnerable communities. At Black Space Oklahoma, they envision communities in which social and spatial change is encouraged, hope is fostered, and the pipeline for Black professionals to the formal fields of city planning, architecture, and design is broadened. Through their founding principles they plan to both strategically and tangibly extend the world of planning, architecture, design, and community organizing work to Black communities in OKC to contribute solution-focused strategies and positive change. Their objectives include:

1. Developing a multidisciplinary support network for Black community professionals and their allies;
2. Creating access to quality education centric to city planning, architecture, and design through mentoring programs, community discussions, and more;
3. Providing tangible and holistic resources to consult, support, and create opportunities for Black voices and informed action to be taken in local OKC neighborhoods, and;
4. Starting a repository for the collective celebration and preservation of the historic, present, and future community/design contributions of Black Oklahomans.

Without more diversity in these decision-making positions that are in control of the design of their communities, local residents will continue to suffer from both the intended and unintended consequences of not having Black voices at the table. They are committed to being an actionable, solution-focused collective to change the design trajectories of Oklahoma communities through creating and celebrating Black Space in Oklahoma.

Meet the women behind the project

Vanessa Morrison

Vanessa Morrison is a Certified Domestic Sexual Violence Response Professional (CDSVRP) and social planner who is dedicated to empowering and supporting communities. After receiving her master’s degree in Regional City Planning from the University of Oklahoma’s College of Architecture, Vanessa’s professional and academic opportunities have allowed her to facilitate and design crisis intervention approaches to address violence in communities, coordinate engagement opportunities for marginalized groups, domestically and internationally consult projects, collaborate on community planning initiatives, and activate both spatial and social environments. She’s experienced in developing and implementing strategies that reach into multi-faceted groups – including victims of interpersonal violence, advocacy initiatives, state and local governments, and religious sectors. Her robust and diverse experience in community engagement and crisis intervention, along with her advocacy and crisis intervention experience, give her unique insights into how the built environment impacts vulnerable, micro-communities.

Gina Sofola

Ms. Sofola is the President and Principal Consultant for Sofola and Associates, Inc., a project management and planning consulting firm started in 1999. She has managed projects around the country and worked as a Project Engineer for Fortune 500 Companies in NYC; with the City of Kansas City Missouri on multiple municipal projects including the rehabilitation of the historic Robert J. Mohart Building, the renovation of Historic Bartle Hall Convention Center and new State of the Art Fire Station 35; City and County of Denver where her company currently provides project management and planning support to Denver International Airport’s Airport Infrastructure Management Group; and she is currently developer’s agent/project manager for the Page Woodson Restoration Project a multi-phase, mixed income, mixed use development that will consist of Affordable and Market Rate Housing along with dynamic public spaces. In addition to Page Woodson she has recently collaborated on the Women of Northeast Oklahoma City which won the 2017 Oklahoma APA Award for Outstanding Public Outreach.

Her training gives her an eye towards how humans interact with the built and work
environments. She is interested in environmental, transportation, and international
planning issues and has a great passion for urban design that seeks to optimize the human experience for under served communities.

Thank you ladies for your dedication to making your community brighter and we look forward to updates about your project to share with our members.

Come and meet Vanessa and Gina at our International Women’s Day Program scheduled for March 10, 2018 from 2-4 p.m. at the Raindrop Turkish House Oklahoma City. You can find tickets here.


Meet Enedina Banks, panelist at our International Women’s Day Event

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This year’s theme for the Commission on the Status of Women 62 is Empowering Rural Women and Girls. UNA-OKC took this to heart when we chose our panelists and the topics we would be covering. We looked at what issues Oklahoma women and girls, both urban and rural, face in this state. We kept coming back to one unfortunately, often overlooked group: the Indigenous women and girls of Oklahoma. It is important to acknowledge that we are on stolen land and the effects that it has had on Indigenous maternal health and well being. We found just the person to talk about just that.

Meet Enedina Banks. Enedina Banks is a proud member of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation. She was born and raised here in Oklahoma until she was 15 when she moved to Kansas where her Potawatomi roots are. She completed high school at Kickapoo Nation School on the Kickapoo reservation in Kansas. She later attended St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, where she now resides and received an AA in Business Administration. Enedina has been married to Vincil Banks for 12 years and is the proud mother of four children Skupkonkot, Zawzeequa, Wahpunose and Wahweya. Mrs. Banks is working diligently to raise her children in both the modern and the traditional world. Mrs. Banks has presented on the importance of breastfeeding as a very natural and key part of a traditional upbringing. Enedina Banks has been an advocate and activist for Indigenous women’s health issues for over a decade and has spoken on behalf of these causes at numerous conferences such as the National Indian and Native America Coalition WIC Conference. The Huffington Post has published and shared her story further ensuring her hope of empowering women and educating the world about motherhood in her culture. She currently uses her passion for preserving and teaching Native culture in her position as a Language Instructor for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, Oklahoma. In her role with the CPN Language Department, she particularly enjoys teaching the Potawatomi language to children in the tribal day care.

To hear more about Enedina and her work come and join us at this year’s International Women’s Day Program. Buy tickets here.