John T Walters

Photo Credit: NewsOK.com

Through his activism and leadership in the Oklahoma City local group number 238 of Amnesty International, John Walters has been a champion of human rights for all. 

We are pleased to announce that John has been selected as one of the 2016 winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award.

John Walters has lobbied our representatives in Congress, he has organized letter-writing campaigns and film festivals. He has been visible and outspoken in defense of political prisoners, refugees, and everyone whose freedom and dignity are under threat.

Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International, once said: “Only when the last prisoner of conscience has been freed, when the last torture chamber has been closed, when the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a reality for the world’s people, will our work be done.”

John Walters is a model of Peter Benenson’s gracious commitment and perseverance. Through his steady and humble presence, John has been an inspiration for many people, young and old.

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.

Marjan Seirafi-Pour

Photo Credit: garrettduty.blogspot.com

A Persian language Instructor at OU,
she has advocated for human rights
in Oklahoma for over two decades.

In recognition of her contributions to interfaith understanding, Marjan Seirafi-Pour has been selected as one of the 2016 winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award.

Here is a short bio from the Garrett Duty blog:

Seirafi-Pour was born in Tehran, Iran in the 1960s. As a child she attended schools mixed with boys and girls, but that all changed in 1979 when she was about 13. The shah of Iran was overthrown and Iran became the Islamic Republic of Iran. Many reforms were implemented, including the segregation of schools by gender.

Her family decided to stay in Iran after the revolution, but the next year Iraq invaded Iran and began the nearly decade-long Iran-Iraq war. After realizing that there was no end in sight, Seirafi-Pour’s family decided to move to Oklahoma where her brothers and sisters had already been in school.

One would think that leaving a war-torn country for Oklahoma would be tough in many ways. From dealing with a new language, to the cultural changes seen from the Islamic Republic to Oklahoma. However, Seirafi-Pour said the most difficult part of moving was, “Just like every 15 or 16 year old girl, leaving the friends and people you have gone to school with for years.”

Seirafi-Pour went on to graduate from Carl Albert High School in Midwest City and then got a Respiratory degree from Rose State College in Midwest City. Following that, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Allied Health Education from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

Today, Ms. Seirafi-Pour works in the field of Iranian Studies — after having earned post-graduate degrees in Educational Psychology and Global Studies with focus on the Middle East and Iran. She stays busy as the Middle East Program Coordinator for the Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Still she finds time to volunteer in her community. Since 2009, Seirafi-Pour has served on the board of directors for ACLU-Oklahoma. In 2011, she was appointed by Mayor Cindy Rosenthal to serve on the Norman Human Rights Commission.

More from Garrett Duty:

Her toughest moment as a Muslim in OK came during what was supposed to be a celebration for the state.

Seirafi-Pour was the chairperson of the Governor’s Ethnic American Advisory Council in 2007, when the council decided to give Oklahoma politicians a Centennial Qur’an to commemorate Oklahoma’s 100th birthday. A Baptist group had given Bibles to the politicians, so the council thought it would be acceptable with Qur’ans as well.

They were wrong. The gift was seen by some politicians as offensive. Some denied the Qur’ans, while the media created a firestorm over this issue. Suddenly Seirafi-Pour and her council were the subject of international outcry regarding their decision.

Despite the negative outlook by some, Seirafi-Pour saw many good things come from the controversy. The Muslim community in Oklahoma remained united and provided a strong support group, which gave Seirafi-Pour a distinct sense of pride in the Muslim leadership.

Though some politicians were rude to her, there were many that were very kind.

 

The public is 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.

Marjan Seirafi-Pour’s experiences in the Muslim community of Oklahoma have left her with a distinct sense of pride and optimism about the future.

“I think here in Oklahoma and in general in America that Muslims are being able to achieve what they want and be successful and work hand in hand with others to make America a better place,” Seirafi-Pour said.

 

From the 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.

Garland Pruitt

Photo: News 9

To ensure the political, educational,
social and economic equality of
minority group citizens

We are pleased to announce that Mr. Garland Pruitt of Choctaw, OK, has been selected as one of the 2016 winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award.

Garland Pruitt was born and raised in Houston, TX. He moved to Oklahoma in 1974 where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Psychology.

Garland has been very active in his church as a deacon, Sunday school teacher, and mentor. His attitude in life is that everyone should be treated with equality no matter what your stage in life is. He is committed to his community and will stand up against injustice of any kind. For over 5 years he worked with FDIS as a counselor with youth on issues of family abuse, low self-esteem, education, and societal adjustment.

He has been president of the Oklahoma City branch of the NAACP since 2010 where he works to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of the United States and eliminate race prejudice.

Garland Pruitt is concerned for all people of this world, and he will stand up for what is right – whatever your race, religion, or creed. He believes that we are all of the human race, and we deserve to be treated fairly and justly, and this has been his mission as a decent human being fighting for all humanity.

Awards: 
NAACP – Thurman Marshall Award, 2000.
Kiwanis Club 2005-06 Human and Spiritual Values Award.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity recognition of leadership and volunteering to the community of the greater Oklahoma City area.
APRI – A. Philip Randolph Institute 2003 Roll of Honor for many years of dedication, outstanding service, and distinguished leaders.

The public is 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.

The Dialogue Institute

“Envisioning a society
where every person treats
each other with dignity”

We are pleased to announce that the Dialogue Institute of Oklahoma has been selected as one of the 2016 winners of the Oklahoma Human Rights Award.

The mission of the Dialogue Institute is to promote mutual understanding, respect and cooperation among people of diverse faiths and cultures by creating opportunities for direct communication and meaningful shared experiences.

The Dialogue Institute envisions a society where every person views and treats each other with dignity, people come around shared values to promote the common good of their communities as well as the world as a whole.

For years, the institute has executed multiple inter-faith multicultural programs like Annual Friendship and Dialogue Dinner, Abrahamic Dinner, monthly scholarly luncheons, inter-faith academy, art and video contests for Pre K-12 students, early Thanksgiving dinner, international trips, book clubs and the Voices Against Extremism campaign.There are two branches of the Dialogue Institute in Oklahoma. The Tulsa Branch is led by Mr. Muhammet Ali Sezer. The director of the Oklahoma City Branch is Ms. Kuaybe Basturk.

The leaders of this organization exemplify diversity and inclusion, and are without doubt, role model champions of human rights in the state of Oklahoma.

“Dialogue Institute envisions a society where every person views and treats each other with dignity, people come around shared values to promote the common good of their communities as well as the world as a whole.”
–From the website of the Dialogue Institute of Oklahoma

The public is 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.

Mana Tahaie

Meet Her on October 15th;
Learn about the Refugee Crisis;
Buy Your Ticket Today! 

On Saturday, October 15th, you are invited to learn more about one of the most urgent challenges facing our world today — the Refugee Crisis. Participate with us as we explore the response of the United Nations and our global civil society  — to restore security, to protect human lives, and to create order in a fractured world.

Buy Your Tickets Now.

We think you will enjoy this timely program featuring a panel of stellar presenters. Tickets are on sale now:

Adults … $15       (plus $1.82 fee)
Students … $10      (plus $1.54 fee)

The program will take place at the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center. It is located on the faigrounds at 3000 Pershing Drive in Oklahoma City. The panel discussion will begin promptly at 1:30pm.

Reserve your seat today through our online sales agent, “EventBrite.”

Here’s the link …
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-refugee-crisis-one-humanity-shared-responsibility-tickets-27575413805

We are proud to present as one of our featured panelists Ms. Mana Tahaie. She currently serves as the interim Director of Immigrant & Refugee Services at YWCA. She has led the YWCA’s racial justice initiatives since 2008 and women’s empowerment efforts since 2014. Under her leadership, the Mission Impact department grew to include anti-racism training, community events, consulting, racial dialogue programs, and advocacy. She specializes in power analysis, organizational and institutional development, and identity-based oppression.

Mana has devoted her career and personal life to social justice. Before joining YWCA Tulsa, Ms. Tahaie served as the Deputy Director of Oklahomans for Equality, Tulsa’s LGBT advocacy organization and community center. She previously served as the convener of the Tulsa Say No to Hate Coalition and board member of Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training, the United Campus Ministry at The University of Tulsa, and ACLU Oklahoma.

She currently chairs the board of the Center for New Community, a national organization focused on monitoring the organized anti-immigrant and Islamophobia movements.

Read more about our program here:
http://una-okc.blogspot.com/2016/10/one-humanity-shared-responsibility.html

We hope to see you at the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center! 

Rachel Bowen Pittman

Meet Her on October 15th;
Learn about the Refugee Crisis;
Buy Your Ticket Today! 

On Saturday, October 15th, you are invited to learn more about one of the most urgent challenges facing our world today — the Refugee Crisis. Participate with us as we explore the response of the United Nations and our global civil society  — to restore security, to protect human lives, and to create order in a fractured world. 
Buy Tickets HERE
We think you will enjoy this timely program featuring a panel of stellar presenters. Tickets are on sale now: 
Adults … $15       (plus $1.82 fee)
Students … $10      (plus $1.54 fee)
The program will take place at the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center. It is located on the faigrounds at 3000 Pershing Drive in Oklahoma City. The panel discussion will begin promptly at 1:30pm.
Reserve your seat today through our online sales agent, “EventBrite.”
Here’s the link …
We are proud to present as one of our featured panelists Ms. Rachel Bowen Pittman. She is the Senior Director of Membership and Programs for the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA). In her role, Rachel manages programs for UNA-USA’s network of 20,000+ members and its 150 chapters to facilitate youth engagement, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events. 
Other panelists will include:

  • Robert Andrew, Diplomat in Residence at the University of Oklahoma; and
  • Imam Imad Enchassi, Senior Imam at ISGOC and Adjunct Professor of Islamic Studies at Oklahoma City University
Attend our “Refugee Crisis” Program on Saturday, October
15th, and learn about the UN Association’s new
“Adopt-A-Future” campaign. 
More about Rachel Pittman. Prior to joining UNA-USA, Rachel served as a Membership Director to several professional associations that represent lawyers, surgeons, regulators, and engineers. In her many accomplishments, Rachel increased membership programs by over 15% and secured agreements with national associations representing China, Korea, Argentina, India, Peru, Egypt and Mexico. 
Ms. Pittman holds a B.S./B.A in International Business from American University and an MBA in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University. She also serves as an advisor to the UNA’s Women and LGBT affinity groups.
Rachel will deliver an exciting message about a new UNA-USA initiative: “Adopt-A-Future.” It’s our Association’s new campaign to give refugee children the education they need to build a better future. Read more about the “Adopt-A-Future” campaign here: 
The UNA-USA Adopt-A-Future Campaign
UNA-USA is a membership organization dedicated to informing, inspiring and mobilizing the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. 
Are you a member yet? Join us today! 


Our New President

Sinead Maguina is Elected

by our OKC Chapter of the 

United Nations Association 

Over the summer, the board of directors of our Oklahoma City chapter held a planning retreat. We examined the opportunities and challenges facing our OKC chapter of the United Nations Association. We reflected on our mission and the 40+ years of service we have given to the Greater Oklahoma City community.

As provided in our chapter bylaws, the election of officers was on the agenda.

We are pleased to announce the election of our new chapter president: Sinead Maguina.

Sinead is a student at the University of Central Oklahoma. She is pursuing a double major in Criminal Justice and Political Science. She plans to attend the Oklahoma City University School of Law. After that, she hopes to pursue a career as a Special Agent for the FBI.

Born in Huaraz, Peru, Sinead has been an Oklahoma Resident since 2001. She is active in many student groups at UCO — including groups supporting Latina students. She serves on many executive boards on campus.

Sinead is a big advocate for animal rights, and she loves spending time volunteering and exploring OKC.

Reflecting on her role in our OKC chapter of the United Nations Association, Sinead says, “I believe the UNA is important, because it gives a voice to people who were silenced.”

Other officers of our chapter include:

Vice President of Programs … Michelle Rodriguez
Vice President of Membership … Bansari Mehta
Secretary … Luci Perez
Treasurer … Floydette Seal

You’ll have an opportunity to meet Sinead Maguina at our annual UN Day program, which will be held on Saturday, October 15th, at the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center. The program will feature a panel discussion on “The Refugee Crisis: One Humanity, Shared Responsibility.” Find more information about the program here … 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-refugee-crisis-one-humanity-shared-responsibility-tickets-27575413805

Before our board of directors adjourned, we offered our heartfelt thanks to our past president, Priya Desai, for her continuing service to the United Nations Association. Thank you, Priya! 

Celebrate Nelson Mandela Day with Us

To Honor Nelson Mandela’s Life of
Service to Humanity, Your OKC Chapter of
The United Nations Association is Organizing
A Crew to Support the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.


Join our Team … Saturday, July 16th, from 9:30am to 12 Noon. 

Here are the instructions to sign up for our 3rd Annual Mandela Day Service Project. This year’s project is sorting and packing food at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. If you are able to join us on Saturday, July 16, 2016 from 9:30am – 12:00 Noon, please follow the instructions below to secure your spot.

About your shift:
 
Saturday, July 16th
9:30 – 12:00pm
10 volunteers (could be more)
Sorting/Packing Food

General Information:

  • You must be at least 8 years old to volunteer
  • Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Volunteers under 18 must bring a signed Parental Consent Form.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes.
  • No loose, revealing or offensive clothing.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your shift begins.
  • Before your shift, each member of your group must register online. (Please register no later than Wednesday, July 13th). 

Here’s what you need to do: 

Step 1. Go to the RFB registration page … Enter your email address; create an account; add your name to the crew list.

Photo: Oklahoma Gazette

Step 4
If you aren’t able to register, enter this Event Registration Code:

unaokc

You’ll receive a friendly email message from the Regional Food Bank confirming that you have registered correctly.

For more detailed registration instructions, watch this video or view this PDF file.

If you have any difficulties, feel free to call our friends at the Regional Food Bank: (405)600-3161 or email them at volunteer@regionalfoodbank.org. The folks at the Regional Food Bank are more than happy to help!

There is no cost to sign up … Please be sure to register online at least 3 days in advance of our service day … So, register by Wednesday (so we’ll be able to confirm the number of workers on our team). 

Remember to bring your energy and passion and good spirit. 

About Nelson Mandela Day

Nelson Mandela at the United Nations

Every year on July 18th — the day Nelson Mandela was born — the UN observes “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the global culture of peace and freedom.

In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.

General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities. It acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.

Members and friends of the United Nations Association are invited to join us in this service project.

Be sure to register online.

We hope to see you Saturday at the Regional Food Bank! 

International Women’s Day in OKC

Join Us at “DC on Film Row” for
a Timely and Insightful Discussion
on Advancing Women & Girls Through STEM 

Saturday, March 5th, at 1pm — It’s Free! 

Your OKC Chapter of the United Nations Association invites you to observe International Women’s Day with us on Saturday, March 5th. We’ll be visiting Oklahoma City’s Film Row district where we will convene for a discussion on the subject of, “Advancing Women and Girls in Society through STEM.” That’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Reserve Your Seat — Register Online Now — Free Tickets Available while They Last
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/international-womens-day-in-okc-tickets-22474218994

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right,
but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous
and sustainable world. Read more at
www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality

Why this topic? 

Well, gender equality has always been a core issue for the United Nations. Over the course of the next 15 years, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will make a crucial contribution to economic development of the world. Gender equality is one of the major themes of the UN’s Goals for Sustainable Development.

Plus, science and technology are valuable tools for the advancement of those goals.

Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, writes:

“The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development underlines the power of science as a driver for human rights and dignity, poverty eradication and the protection of the planet…. More than ever today, the world needs science and science needs women.”  

To lift up this message, we have assembled a stellar team of local experts:

Barbara Mitchell, Chief Operating Officer at Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma

Amanda Harlin, Techlahoma Board of Directors, Secretary

– Dr. Sezin Kadioglu, OU Gallogly College of Engineering

They will offer their own perspectives on the importance of closing the gender gap in STEM.

The panel discussion will take place from 1pm to 2pm at DC on Film Row inside of Dunlap Codding at 609 W. Sheridan Ave. We will offer light snacks and drinks. This is a free program. Find more information at our Facebook Event page.

Who Should Attend? 

Men, Women, Teens, and Children — anyone who is interested in gender equality, careers in science & technology, sustainable development, and the future of our planet.

Priya Desai, president of UNA-OKC, says, “Feel free to bring your children to learn more.” 

According to the most recent UNESCO Science Report, women account for only 28 percent of researchers across the world, with the gap deepening at the higher echelons of decision-making.

A solar engineer trainer in India. “No country can move
forward with only half its creativity, energy, and dreams.” 

Irina Bokova puts this problem into a global perspective:

“Women have less access to funding, to networks, to senior positions, which puts them at a further disadvantage in high impact science publishing.  

“This calls for deep and sustained change, starting in the earliest years through improved participation of women and girls in science education, training and research activities at all levels. 

“Girls’ and women’s access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) cannot be envisaged when girls and women remain the majority of out-of-school children, youth and illiterate adults. This gap throws a shadow over entire societies, as no country can move forward with only half its creativity, energy, and dreams.”  

A “Cool” Event Space

DC on Film Row is a unique venue for this program. Our friends at DC on Film Row tell us that their goal is “To celebrate the incredible diversity of creativity, innovation, and passion within Oklahoma City and to provide a venue… to those groups and individuals working to bind us all together and make our home a cooler and better place.”

DC on Film Row is located inside of Dunlap Codding, 609 W Sheridan Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73102.

Support Your Local Chapter of the UN Association 

To make the event more special, we invite you to participate in a Silent Auction supporting the good work of the UN Association in Oklahoma City. Auction items include:

• Avon Spa gift basket

• Gift basket from JR Watkins

• A Dodger Baseball gift basket – has baseball, shirt, banner (no tix)

Science Museum Oklahoma offers a diverse collection
of  interactive and historic exhibits and programs.
Photo by TravelOK.com

• A Science Museum Oklahoma gift basket- has goodies and TICKETS!

The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is a membership organization dedicated to inform, inspire, and mobilize the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. – See more at: http://unausa.org/about-us#sthash.Myew2kX3.dpuf

Join us on Saturday as we step up our efforts for gender equality, women’s empowerment, and women’s human rights.

Did You Know? 

When you join the United Nations Association of the USA, you are eligible to join the “UNA Women” Affinity Group. UNA Women advocates for UN programs that further women’s rights and empowerment nationally and internationally.

UNA Women takes direction from the interests and passions of current UNA-USA members who convene in person and virtually, to advance important and timely issues related to women and girls. Participation in UNA Women is open to any current UNA-USA member.

See more at: UNA Women

Enjoy a Burger with Us!

Support Your OKC Chapter of
the United Nations Association

Eat at S&B Burger Joint on February 23rd; 
A Portion of Sales will be Donated to UNA-OKC; 
Only at one Location: 7640 Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City. 

Enjoy a burger, support your local chapter of the UN Association. It’s part of “Pay It Forward Tuesday: Dine for a Cause” — a community service event of the S&B Burger Joint.

It’s easy to participate. Visit the S&B location at 7640 Northwest Expressway (East of the intersection with Council Road).

Order anything from their menu. They are open from 11 in the Morning ’til 12 at Night. You don’t need to sign up in advance. You don’t need to have a flyer or mention a code. Just show up, and enjoy some great food at S&B — only at their location at 7640 Northwest Expressway.

Whether you dine-in or carry out, S&B will donate a portion of the proceeds to benefit our United Nations Association Oklahoma City Chapter!

When you contribute to your Oklahoma City chapter of the United Nations Association, you support unique programs and activities designed exclusively for our community. 

Example: Our UN Day Celebration of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development;
Example: Film presentations on Human Trafficking, the Empowerment of Women and Girls; and More;
Example: Special Community Talks with Dr. Marc Levin of “Doctors Without Borders.”
Example: Support for Model United Nations conferences for high school and middle school students.

A majority of our community events and activities are offered at no cost to the community. It is part of our commitment to the mission of the United Nations Association — to inform, inspire, and mobilize the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. – See more at: http://unausa.org/about-us#sthash.uZmWwq9X.dpuf

For more than 40 years, your OKC chapter of the United Nations Association has supported educational activities in our community. We rely on the smart work of enthusiastic volunteers and the generous contributions of our friends and neighbors. (We do not receive any funding from the United Nations or any government organization).

Join at unausa.org

Our three main sources of funding are:

 Membership dues;
 Fund-raising events (like this one at S&B Burgers); and
 Freewill contributions from community supporters.

Got some extra cabbage? Donate here

When our leadership team met earlier this month, we voted to make a $450 investment in Model UN activities in Oklahoma. It doesn’t sound like much, but that small amount represents about 20% of our chapter’s on-hand cash resources. To sustain our programming, we need your support!

We’re proud to support American leadership in the United Nations. The values of the UN Charter resonate in us: 

“To practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
“To unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
“To ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
“To employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples….” 

Join us at S&B Burger Joint, 7640 Northwest Expressway, on Tuesday, February 23rd. 

Bring a friend! 

Events for the Community to Enjoy

From Your Oklahoma City Chapter
of the United Nations Association: 

  • A Model UN Session for Middle School 
  • A Panel Discussion on Empowering Girls Through STEM
  • Two Great Movies
  • Plus … Enjoy a Burger for the Cause! 

Your OKC Chapter of the United Nations Association is proud to announce an exciting line-up of activities for our members and friends in the Oklahoma City area.

Tuesday, February 16th — 6pm

“L’auberge Espagnole” (movie)
Where: The UCO International House
912 Chowning Ave. 
Edmond, OK

We’re teaming up with The Language Company of Edmond for a FREE foreign film screening at the UCO International House. Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

There will be plenty of international students in the audience as well as members and friends of our UNA-OKC chapter.

The film, “L’auberge Espagnole,” is about a strait-laced French student who moves into an apartment in Barcelona with a cast of six other characters from all over Europe. Together, they speak the international language of love and friendship.

Here’s a short review from a reviewer in Cork, Ireland:
“The first thing I wanted to do after watching this film was watch it again (because I’d missed lots with all the laughing I did). I’m European and I’ve studied abroad and I’ve as good as lived with Spanish, french, Italian and German people. The film was full of stereotypes, which, more often than not, p*** people off, and reading some of the other reviews I see that it did p*** people off. But, this film gets the stereotypes so right I cannot fault it. Except for maybe the way the french guy became a drunken party animal. The English guy was the perfect “geezer” stereotype. Drunk, annoying, insulting but shines through in the end. As well as the stereotypes the film also got the emotional aspect of studying abroad correct. At first he’s shy, doesn’t know anybody, misses home, doesn’t know his way around. As time progresses it becomes his home and when the time comes to leave, it is extremely difficult. A feeling people can only understand if they’ve experienced it. I highly recommend this film.” 

The film is rated [R] for language and sexual content. See a complete description of the film at the IMDB website,

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0283900/

Tuesday, February 23rd 

“Pay It Forward Tuesday: Dine for a Cause”
Where: S&B Burger Joint 
7640 Northwest Expressway 
Oklahoma City, OK   73132

Enjoy a burger, support your local chapter of the UN Association. It’s part of “Pay It Forward Tuesday: Dine for a Cause” — a community service event of the S&B Burger Joint.

It’s easy to participate. Visit the S&B location at 7640 Northwest Expressway (near the intersection with Council Road). Order anything from their menu. They are open from 11 in the Morning ’til 12 at Night.

Whether you dine-in or carry out, S&B will be donating a portion of the proceeds to benefit our United Nations Association Oklahoma City Chapter! Make sure you let them know what you’re there to support the chapter!

“UNA OKC supports community programs and encourages active civic participation on community and global issues, and your participation in Pay It Forward Tuesday allows us to continue to provide quality public programming.” 

Tuesday, March 1st — 9am to 4pm 

Model UN Simulation for Middle School Students
Where: The University of Oklahoma, College of Continuing Education
1700 Asp Avenue 
Norman, OK   73072-6400

It’s the Middle School Model United Nations Conference of the Southwest. Middle school students will practice skills that will help them through a lifetime — knowledge and skills such as problem solving, teamwork, communications, and an appreciation for the good work of the United Nations.

Can You Volunteer to Help Lead a Team of Middle School Delegates?

Team leaders are needed to help lead discussions within the simulated country delegations. Here’s how our organizer describes the job of the team leader:

“You will be a team leader from 9:30- 11:30. The topic the students will be researching is Nuclear Disarmament. Your group will be required to research your assigned country and its involvement in Nuclear Disarmament. Each group will then be given a country question sheet… and an iPad. Your job is to answer questions and assist them as they familiarize themselves with your country’s involvement.” 

At the end of the day students will experience an abbreviated Model UN session and will practice the concepts they learned.

If you can help on Tuesday, March 1st, please contact Vivian at vivianarmitage@yahoo.com.

Thanks! 

Saturday, March 5th  — 1pm to 2pm

Panel Discussion: “Advancing Women & Girls in Society Through STEM” 
Where: DC on Film Row 
… inside of Dunlap Codding 
609 W Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK   73102

Just 28% of researchers are women, according to the
UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Find out more in this

Earlier this month, the United Nations celebrated the first ever International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11th). Our panel discussion is planned to coincide with International Women’s Day (March 8th).

The United Nations is committed to promoting gender equality in science by advocating global access to education, training and research for women in ‪Science‬, ‪Technology‬, ‪Engineering‬ and ‪Mathematics (STEM)‬. We also celebrate and recognize the many achievements of women in the sciences.

Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.

We will be having someone from the Girl Scouts STEM Program join us. Feel free to bring your children to learn more.

We will be adding more information about our panelists closer to the event. Find out more at our Facebook Event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/807586486053205/

Sunday, March 6th  — 1:45pm to 4:15pm 

“A Bottle in the Gaza Sea” (movie) 
Emanuel Synagogue  
900 NW 47th  
Oklahoma City, OK   73118

We’re co-sponsoring this film with the Jewish / Muslim Film Institute and many other community organizations. This is a free event. Please RSVP so that we can plan for refreshments and seating. To RSVP for this film, visit: www.jewishmuslimfilminstitute.com

For question, contact: rdfrdf@cox.net

Here’s a plot summary from IMDB.com:

“Tal is 17 years old. Naim is 20. She’s Israeli. He’s Palestinian. She lives in Jerusalem. He lives in Gaza. They were born in a land of scorched earth, where fathers bury their children. They must endure an explosive situation that is not of their choosing at an age where young people are falling in love and taking their place in adult life. A bottle thrown in the sea and a correspondence by email nurture the slender hope that their relationship might give them the strength to confront this harsh reality to grapple with it, and thereby ever so slightly change it. Only 60 miles separate them but how many bombings, check-points, sleepless nights and bloodstained days stand between them?” 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2082496/combined

Reviewers say:

“A rare jewel of a movie. Highly recommended.” 

“A movie which uses no less than four languages, but its real tongue is that of peace, love and understanding; the final sequence will drive you to tears. I’m French, I do hope they will meet in my country!” 

“We see the complexity of the political situation on both sides of the divide and it gives the viewer a very realistic idea of how tragic the situation is for both sides. A truly excellent film.” 

Stay Connected with us:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/UNA.OKC
Twitter: @UNA_OKC
Website: www.una-okc.org
Blog: http://una-okc.blogspot.com/

Are You a Member Yet? 
http://www.unausa.org/membership

Photos from the Program

While there are champions like these among us, the human 
rights of our people in Oklahoma will never be denied. We 
were pleased to join the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights 
Alliance in honoring more than 30 human rights heroes 
at the State Capitol on Thursday, December 10th.
The program opened with a ceremonial invocation led by Albert Gray Eagle.

We The People Oklahoma” were honored for their efforts to call attention to
police violence as well as misconduct in the office of the Tulsa County Sheriff.


















John Pettyjohn introduced himself as the son of an undocumented immigrant. A proud Marine (retired), Mr. Pettyjohn described his volunteer work in support of his fellow veterans — including serving on a suicide intervention team.

Father Paul Zahler, OSB, PhD, presided over the Human Rights Day program. Father Paul is the founder / director of the National Institute on Developmental Delays at St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee.

Our award winners are from all over the state of Oklahoma — Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Norman, Yukon, Grove, Henryetta, Chickasha, McLoud. They represent the diversity of our great state. 
Sarah Adams-Cornell was honored for her efforts and the efforts of other Native American leaders to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. 

When Isaac Caviness spoke to the audience about his efforts to petition for change in Oklahoma’s drug laws, supporters in the gallery raised a banner in support of their initiative. 

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. She was honored at our program. She is shown here sitting in the audience with her father, an immigrant from Peru.

Members of the Gallegos Family received an award given in memory of
their husband and father, Sergio Gallegos. On Facebook, a reader who
attended the Human Rights Day Awards program wrote: “I was particularly
moved by the work of indigenous peoples in Oklahoma and the immigrants
who came to the U.S. with nothing but hope, and have managed to educate
their children and then turn to help others. One family whose parents came
from Mexico with seven children now have seven kids with Associate’s Degrees,
five with Bachelor’s degrees, two with Master’s, and one Juris Doctorate.
Over and over again, we heard how people from Mexico, Peru, India, and other
parts of the globe came here seeking a future for themselves and their children,
and worked hard to achieve that — and then became citizens, humanitarians
and advocates who make our state and nation better by being here.”

See More Photos taken by the Legislative Photographer: 
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a61rp2yvk92hz6c/AAAfLPlqsK9kPmWpv2SacHaia?dl=0

Acknowledgements

The Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance gratefully acknowledges the contributions of our supporters and co-sponsors, including:

The Oklahoma City chapter of the United Nations Association of the USA
Dedicated to informing, inspiring, and mobilizing the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations 

Santa Maria Virgen Episcopal Church
Oklahoma City

Following the program at the State Capitiol, participants
enjoyed a delicious lunch at Santa Maria Virgen Episcopal
Church. (Photo courtesy: Otilia Fuentes)

P.E.O.P.L.E. Foundation, Inc.
Oklahoma City

La Oaxaca Bakery
1117 SW 59th Street
Oklahoma City

La Oaxaqueña Panaderia
741 SW 29th Street
Oklahoma City

Cocina De Mino Mexican Restaurant
Oklahoma City

Representative Richard Morrissette
District 92 – Oklahoma City

All Can Do Something

Comments Delivered by
Rabbi Vered L. Harris, RJE,
on the Occasion of Human Rights Day
at the Oklahoma State Capitol, Oklahoma City

On December 10th, we were proud to honor some of the everyday human rights heroes who walk among us in Oklahoma. One of the recipients was Rabbi Vered L. Harris, RJE of Temple B’nai Israel. We thank her for her continuing human rights work in the state of Oklahoma. Her comments captured the essence of Human Rights, and we would like to share them with you.

I am the rabbi, or spiritual leader, at Temple B’nai Israel. Founded in 1903, we are proud to be the longest operating Jewish house of worship in Oklahoma. Thank you Wilfredo Santos-Rivera and the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance for honoring Temple B’nai Israel and me with this award.

Today is the 4th day of the holiday of Hanukkah. During this Festival of Lights Jews remember a time when our ancestors were persecuted for refusing to give up our heritage and assimilate into the larger society. Our own experiences over the past 4,000 years demand we be sensitive to the plights of others.

Over 2,000 years ago the Jewish sage Hillel used to say: (Mishnah, Pirkei Avot 2:5*)

“…a boor cannot fear sin,”

Because he is so wrapped up in only himself he doesn’t notice how his actions ripple out and can hurt others,

“nor can an unlearned person be pious.”

Because attainment of religious heights requires deep, thoughtful study

“A bashful person cannot learn,”

Because asking questions and speaking up are imperative to true learning,

“nor can an impatient one teach.” 

Because to affect others we must be patient with their journeys and overcoming their, as well as our own, ignorance.

An artist’s depiction of Hillel the Elder

Hillel continued: “Those who are occupied excessively with business will not become wise.”

Because wisdom involves knowing the intimacies and the breadth of the human condition,

And finally:

“In a place where there [is no humanity], endeavor to be [humane].”

How sad that there are many media reports today that show us lots of humans, but not a lot of humanity. What an opportunity for each of us to step up and fulfill Hillel’s challenge!

This means we must condemn and fight and support solutions for libelous words against Muslims, discrimination against African-Americans and Blacks, inadequate educational opportunities for those in poverty, food insecurity and hunger, homelessness, disregard for indigenous cultures, insufficient medical care, violence against women, senseless shootings… Don’t let our limited time limit your list.

Also in ancient Jewish texts we are told: it is not your duty to complete the work of making this world better, but neither are you free to desist from it (Pirkei Avot 2:16*). None can do everything, but all can do something.

May the accomplishments of the individuals in this room collectively inspire our legislators and civic leaders to consult the spirit and the letter of the Declaration of Human Rights. May we see the day when, as the prayerbook in my tradition says, “we are loved, each of us, for no other reason save we are human.” And may we each approach our neighbors with that same intent of making their world better, because, surely, this is how we fulfill the highest purpose of our humanity.

*  The citation in Pirkei Avot may differ according to which publication of the Mishnah one is using.

Our 2015 Human Rights Award Winners

We recognize some of the many human rights heroes who live among us.

There is plenty of evidence that human rights are under attack where we live. All you have to do is turn on the television news. Fear, bigotry, and hatred are a volatile mixture. We worry about the future of our nation.

Yet, there is other evidence to examine — hopeful signs that human rights are alive and well. Right here in Oklahoma, we see that the dignity of the individual person is being honored. Religious freedom is being protected. The rights of all people are being defended. We are building communities where every man, woman, and child may find equal justice, equal opportunity, and equal dignity without discrimination.

Where is our evidence?

We find it in the people of our great state. In every corner of Oklahoma — in places close to home, in the world of the individual person — we recognize the human rights heroes who live among us. They are the champions of human rights where we live.

They defend the weak. They teach justice. They inspire us by their example to recognize our own rights and to uphold the rights of others.

These are our Oklahoma Human Rights Award Winners for 2015:

(Click on the name to read more about them) 

Sarah Adams-Cornell

The Aldridge Foundation

Bishop Edward Konieczny

Isaac Caviness

Jimmy Curry

Hilda De Leon Xavier

Eldon Ray Diaz-Henderson

Carl Downing

Jack Farley

Sundra Flansburg

The Sergio Gallegos Family

Gonzalo Guaman

Rabbi Vered Harris

Debbie Hogue-Downing

Juan Iglesias

Fundacion Iris Violeta

Linda James

Marq Lewis and “We The People Oklahoma”

Silvia Martinez Garcia

Jeanne Mather

Tim O’Connor

OU Unheard

Wanda Jo Peltier Stapleton

Tina Peña

John Pettyjohn

Lynda K. Powell and the Bethel Foundation

Lynn Schusterman

John Wesley Stillsmoking (deceased)

Drs. P.T. and Julia Teska

Kendall Wayne Vowell

Lawrence Brewer Wahpepah (deceased)

World Experiences Foundation

Stacey Wright

The Oklahoma City chapter of the United Nations Association joins the members of the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance in recognizing the contributions and the inspiring examples of these award winners.

This year, once again, the awards program will take place in the chamber of the State House of Representatives:

Thursday, December 10th — 10am to 12 Noon
State House of Representatives

Oklahoma Capitol 
2300 N Lincoln Blvd 
Oklahoma City, OK   73105

We hope you will plan to be in attendance.

Human Rights Day is celebrated around the world on December 10th. It is the anniversary of the day in 1948 when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations.

Where Do Human Rights Begin?

Eleanor Roosevelt, the driving force behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Eldon Ray Diaz-Henderson

Lexington (Joseph Harp Correctional Center)

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

In 1958, Eleanor Roosevelt addressed the United Nations. Speaking on the topic of human rights, she said:

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” 
(Eleanor Roosevelt, “The Great Question,” remarks delivered at the United Nations in New York on March 27, 1958)

Fifty-seven years later, Mrs. Roosevelt’s words continue to have meaning. She reminds us that human rights exist everywhere, for everyone. They don’t cease to matter simply because we live in an out-of-the-way place. Our human dignity — and our potential to uphold the personal rights and dignity of others — continues to have significance no matter what situation we find ourselves in.

Eldon Ray Diaz-Henderson resides at the Joseph Harp Correctional Center. He is a prisoner of the State of Oklahoma.

Eldon participates in a program for inmates with learning disabilities. It is called the Total Family Development Daily Living Program. The program was launched with indispensable assistance from the Oklahoma Benedictine Institute on the campus of St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee.

As a result of participating in the Total Family Development Program, Eldon has seen changes in himself. He lists them: Needing to Work on My Self Image; Learning to Socialize; Openness; Honesty; Trust; Handling Painful Relationships; and Discovering Worthiness.

Eldon is being recognized with the 2015 Oklahoma Human Rights Award because he reminds us that human rights exist everywhere, for everyone. He reminds us that, because we have reason and conscience, we should act towards one another in a spirit of respectful solidarity.

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. Among those to be recognized will be Eldon Ray Diaz-Henderson and Kendall Wayne Vowell. More information about the program can be found here: “Celebrate Human Rights.”

For more about Kendall Wayne Vowell, see the article HERE.

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
–Article 1 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights