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Nathanial Batchelder (click image to read news and views from Peace House OK's Director, Nathaniel Batchelder)

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News Conference Opposed S.Q.759

COHRA – Central Oklahoma Human Rights Alliance – did a news conference, Oct. 20, announcing and releasing a Resolution for groups, organizations, and houses of worship to consider, urging citizens to VOTE “NO” on State Question 759, that would reverse and repeal Affirmative Action and equal opportunity policies in Oklahoma.  The Resolutions should be considered, signed, and returned to COHRA (address on bottom of Resolution: COHRA, 3000 Paseo, OKC, OK 73103).

Speaking for the Resolution were Tamya Cox, Legislative Director for ACLU;  Nathaniel Batchelder, Co-Chair of COHRA;  State Representative Mike Shelton;  and Jana Harkins, Oklahoma County Democratic Party.  Standing behind the speakers were the board members of COHRA, representing many local civil rights and human rights groups.

The Resolution is educational, explaining the value of Affirmative Action policies in urging fair treatment of women and minorities by public entities in hiring, contracting and education opportunities.  COHRA will take action to publicize received Resolutions.

Download/Print the Resolution (PDF):   Cohra Resolution SQ 759

Oklahoma’s 25th Fall Peace Festival

Saturday, Nov. 12th, 10 am to 4 pm
Civic Center Music Hall – “Hall of Mirrors”
Admission Free

The 25th annual Peace Festival will be a holiday shopping bazaar, featuring tables of more than 50 social justice groups and local crafts vendors. It will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12th, from 10 am to 4 pm, in the Civic Center Hall of Mirrors, in downtown Oklahoma City (map). Admission is free.

“Live entertainment by local musicians and colorful fair trade goods on sale make this a popular event for supporters of human rights, social justice, environmental sustainability, and peace,” said Conna Wilkinson, Director of the Peace Education Institute, cosponsor of the event. All groups provide informative materials, in addition to crafts and goods for sale. Food items at many tables and refreshments will also be available for visitors.

A Children’s Activity Room will be supervised by adults during the event, Wilkinson said » Continue reading “Oklahoma’s 25th Fall Peace Festival”

Rallies to mark 10 year anniversary of war in Afghanistan

Public Rally & News Conference
WHEN: Noon, Friday, October 7th
WHERE: 100 N. Broadway, downtown Oklahoma City
WHY: Call for an End to military action and Bring Our Troops Home

Rush-hour demonstration
WHEN: 4:30 – 6 PM, Friday, October 7th
WHERE: Gold Dome, corner of N. Classen and 23rd
WHY: Call for an End to military action and Bring Our Troops Home

A public rally and news conference in downtown Oklahoma City will mark ten years of the war in Afghanistan and call for an end to U.S. military actions in the Middle East, organizers say. The event will take place from noon to 1 pm, Friday, October 7th, at 100 N. Broadway, on the sidewalk plaza adjacent to the Chase Bldg. From 4:30 until 6, a streetside demonstration will echo that call; it will be at the Gold Dome corner, N. Classen and 23rd St.

“Demonstrations for peace will take place in dozens of U.S. cities and foreign countries, on October 6-8,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Peace House in Oklahoma City, one of the groups sponsoring the event.

“After investing more than 6,000 American lives and half a trillion dollars in the Middle East wars, their mission and purpose still remains unclear,” Batchelder said. He said a majority of Americans now favor ending the conflicts and bringing U.S. troops and resources home.

These event are sponsored by The Peace House and Oklahoma Center for Conscience.

Fr. Tim Luschen – Catholic Priest, St. Charles Boromeo Church
Derek Bartholomew – Combat Medic Iraq Veteran
Col. Katherine Scheirman, M.D. – Was Director Medical Operations USAF Hospitals Europe.
John Scripsick – Son Killed in Iraq
Warren Henthorn – Son Killed in Iraq

Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers, Mayflower Congregational Church
State Senator Andrew Rice
James Branum – Lead Attorney, Oklahoma Center for Conscience

OKC Actions for Troy Davis

Lydia Polley, co-chair of Oklahoma Citizens Against the Death Penalty, has sent out this call for action:

Today, 3:00 pm: make black arm bands proclaiming NOT IN MY NAME! at ACLU Office, 3000 Paseo. I’m bringing the material & pens.

Wednesday, 21st: 4:30 attend the Pinwheels for Peace at OCU, McDaniel University Center, wearing Not in my Name! arm bands & asking others to also wear them.
7:30 pm if a last-minute miracle stay isn’t given, Troy’s execution will proceed at 7pm eastern time…. Stand with our banner, Don’t Kill for Me and go into silent vigil … for 10 minutes since we won’t have access to exact time of death. This demonstration/vigil place will be sent out tomorrow. It will either be at the Jesus Wept Statue or OCU campus, facing 23rd Street.

We will post updated news on this right here when we get it.


My LTE regarding Troy Davis

In light of the disappointing and disheartening news about Troy Davis, I wrote this letter to the editor of the Augusta (GA) Chronicle:

Dear Editor,

I am shocked that Georgia’s Pardons and Paroles Board has voted to allow Troy Davis’s execution to proceed when world attention has been called to the doubts about his guilt. Seven of nine witnesses at the original trial have recanted their testimony, and no physical evidence links Davis to the crime. Some 200,000 signatures were collected on petitions for clemency or commutation of sentence.

Organizations opposing Davis’s execution included Amnesty International, the NAACP, National Action Network, Color of Change, People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, the ACLU and others. Former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Larry Thompson wrote to the Board: “… it is clear now that the doubts plaguing his case can never be adequately addressed. On this basis, I urge you to … grant clemency.”

Even supporters of capital punishment know that their issue is not served by executing someone where such doubts have been lifted concerning their guilt or innocence.

Nathaniel Batchelder

The NAACP, among other groups, is not giving up the fight for saving Davis’ life and seeking true justice in the courts for him. Here is part of their email, and an action link:


In moments of immense sadness, moments that shake the foundation of our faith in the justice system and mankind, adequate words are scarce.

Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles co-signed on the decision to execute Troy Davis.

Despite overwhelming evidence pointing to his innocence — evidence that prompted former FBI Director William Sessions and more than a million others to write in support of clemency — Troy’s execution is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21.

His family has been moved by the efforts of the NAACP and supporters around the world. They have asked us to express their thanks to you personally.

They also asked us to tell you that this is not the hour to give up.

For the past two decades that Troy has been on death row, miracles have interceded at crucial moments. Can you help us make a miracle happen now?

Please stand with Troy and his family. Tell District Attorney Larry Chisolm that he has to intercede:

Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm is the man who requested the death warrant against Troy Davis. He’s the glue that holds the case together and, even after today’s news, he remains in a unique position to petition the judge to withdraw the death warrant against Troy. It’s a long shot, but it’s Troy’s best hope.

Here is Amnesty’s action page on Troy Davis.

Local Congressmembers to host town halls during August recess

(click image for larger version)

Please participate in our democracy and attend one of these if you can. Let your representatives in Washington know what you think and hold them accountable.

Image courtesy of Linda James.

2011 Laborfest set for August 25 – 27

Press release from our friends in Labor:


A public festival to promote Oklahoma Labor History, Diversity, and Civil Rights through music, film, poetry and visual art.

Oklahoma City, OK-Oklahoma’s largest coalition of labor unions and labor activists, the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation (COLF), today announced its plans for the second annual “Oklahoma Laborfest.” After several planning committee meetings of union members and labor advocates, COLF President Tim O’Connor today unveiled the purpose and framework of the festival.

“The purpose of this festival is to create greater awareness of Oklahoma’s working class culture and to build pride in the state’s rich Labor and Civil Rights history through music, the arts, and camaraderie” said O’Connor.

“Our youth should know about Oklahoma labor and civil rights heroes like Kate Barnard and Pete Hanraty, Les Brown and Clara Luper. They should know our state motto ‘Labor Omnia Vincit’ which means ‘Labor Conquers All.’ We should appreciate Oklahoma’s history of fighting for workers’ rights. Also with the vote to repeal affirmative action, State Question 759, from our state constitution, we should remind ourselves and our legislators of our civil rights history in Oklahoma.”

O’Connor continued, “Unfortunately this history is not being taught to our children today and we run the risk of it being forgotten. With this festival we intend to promote labor literacy and our fight to defeat State Question 759 among the general public in order to preserve this history and strengthen labor solidarity with all communities in the state of Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma Laborfest will be a 3-day festival and will kick off with a labor poetry reading at the OKC Downtown Library (46th Star Auditorium) 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on August 25th. On Friday, August 25th there will be a screening of the movies ‘Salt of the Earth’ and ‘Matewan’ at Convergence Collective Space (1755 N.W. 16th) from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. Multiple events are planned on August 28thand include a kick off march and rally for workers and civil rights. The march will be staged at 1501 Classen Blvd. (Catholic Charities parking lot). Live music on the Solidarity Stage (across from the Lyric Theatre on N.W. 16th) will include performances by J.D Thompson, MoonSue, Vagarant, Dead Man’s Bluff, and Maw. Other events on the 28th will include two Live Paints – one sponsored by Standing Buffalo Gallery of Norman featuring Cole Cathey (Seminole), Micah Wesley (Creek/Kiowa), and Dylan Cavin (Choctaw), and the other performed by Oklahoma Capital muralist Carlos Tello. Workshops will be held throughout the day on the 28th on such topics as using social media to organize, creating online activity for Laborfest, and a Workers Writing Workshop. Many other activities are scheduled throughout the afternoon in three different venues. Food and information vendors will be available all day.

Oklahoma Laborfest will culminate in a performance entitled ‘Oklahoma Speaks’ at the Lyric Theatre on the evening of Saturday, August 27th. This is the second year for this event because last year’s performance was so successful. It is modeled after the late historian Howard Zinn’s production ‘The People Speak’ and includes dramatic readings of selected historical texts from Oklahoma’s labor and civil rights movement and musical performances of songs connected to these movements. The performance is under the direction of Rachel Jackson, University of Oklahoma, who researches and selects the readings. The musical selections are under the direction of Mary Catherine Reynolds and Louise Goldberg. Other musical performers include Peggy Johnson and Beatrice Cole.

All Oklahoma Laborfest events are free and open to the public – paid for by local unions and private donors. For more information and the schedule of events, please visit or the Oklahoma Laborfest Facebook page.


Look for the Peace House table, and participation in the march and rally.

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