A public forum on State Question 759 will alert women and minorities about the consequences of passing a measure that will appear on all state ballots in the November elections. Organizers of the event say that, if passed, State Question 759’s impact will be negative for women and minorities.
The forum is scheduled for 6 pm to 7 pm, on Thursday, September 20, with questions and answers to follow, at the Langston University OKC Campus, 4205 N. Lincoln Blvd. Doors will open at 5:30 pm for early seating and distribution of materials, organizers say.
“Oklahoma’s affirmative action policies encourage but do not mandate fair treatment of women and minorities by state agencies,” said Garland Pruitt, President of the Oklahoma City Branch of the NAACP. “Progress toward equal opportunity is good, but Oklahoma’s voluntary affirmative action policies are still needed,” he said.
Emcee for the event, Dr. Robin Meyers of Mayflower Church in Oklahoma City, said, “One of the cruel illusions in American society is that everyone really has an equal chance. Until we eliminate sexism and racism from the human heart, we need to systematically reach out to groups that know exactly how unfair the world can be. Affirmative action has made the world a better place, but the work is not over.”
“States that have passed legislation like State Question 759 have gone backwards in the fair treatment of women and minorities by state agencies,” said Tamya Cox, former Legislative Counsel for the ACLU of Oklahoma. Cox speaks to groups urging them to vote “No” on S.Q. 759.
Materials and talking points about State Question 759 will be available at the forum. A voter registration table will also serve attendees. “We hope folks will take materials to generate conversations about State Question 759 in clubs, organizations and houses of worship,” said Debbie Downing, a forum organizer.
Speaking at the forum will be Dr. Martha Skeeters, Associate Professor in the Women’s & Gender Studies Program at O.U.; Marilyn Luper Hildreth, lifetime civil rights advocate and Oklahoma City “sit-inner”; Bob Anderson, retired Equal Opportunity Officer for the Dept. of Environmental Quality; Ruben Aragon, Executive Director of the Latino Community Development Agency; David Wilson, Conference Superintendent of the OK Indian Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Church; and Lawrence Ware, Professor and Lecturer, Oklahoma State University.
There is no charge for the event, which is sponsored by the Oklahoma City Branch of the NAACP. Cosponsors include the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance, ACLU of Oklahoma, The Peace House, Central Oklahoma Human Rights Alliance, and the Central Oklahoma Labor Council.