OPN Sponsors Vigil in Honor of Charlottesville

OPN Sponsors Vigil in Honor of Charlottesville

The country watched in horror as videos were released from the Charlottesville white supremacist demonstration. People marching with nazi flags while carrying torches through the University of Virginia campus, was something none of us thought we would see in 2017. Such a display, of course lead to violence, three deaths, and many injuries.

As word spread, organizations throughout the country discussed having vigils nationwide. Several organizations in Oklahoma were planning vigils, and decided to work together and plan one. Oklahoma Progressive Network was one of those organizations and we were honored to have the opportunity to stand in solidarity with the hundreds in attendance wanting to express their grief after these horrific events.

OPN member, Andrea Corbishley, MD was there and shared her perspective. “Charlottesville is one of my adopted hometowns. I lived there for 4 years during medical school and since moving away 13 years ago, I have gone back about every other year to visit my friends who stayed on as residents and faculty at UVA hospital. She is a first-generation Indian immigrant, he is Jewish, and they have two young children. Charlottesville is not immune to racism, but it is a progressive city (80% voted for Clinton). My friends have made a beautiful home there.” Corbishley continued, “Friday night they heard the chants of “Jews will not replace us,” and Saturday morning while trying to keep their usual routine of going to the farmers market, they could hear the slogans being chanted again. All while white supremacists walked in groups from every direction. The synagogue where their kids go to Sunday school was menaced by armed Nazis, and a couple with assault rifles was on the sidewalk outside of their home, on a quiet neighborhood street. I went to the vigil for Charlottesville at the Oklahoma State Capitol because I want the people of color in Charlottesville and around the country who were made to feel afraid to know that we stand with them in love and solidarity. I have to believe that the number of people who would seek to intimidate, harm, and oppress my friends is dwarfed by the number who would work to oppose violence and hate.”

While few have the direct connection to Charlottesville that Corbishley has, the sentiment was the same. OPN Co-Founder Kasey Greenhaw spoke at the vigil. Her speech asked those in attendance to speak out publicly against hate. “This is the time to stand up. This is the time to speak out. It is more important now than ever that we are brave, and we let them know, THEY HAVE NOT WON!”

An event where people came together in love instead of hate, and strength instead of fear, this vigil let the victims in Charlottesville know that Oklahoma City is with them.

OPN Marches in the OKC Pride Parade

OPN Marches in the OKC Pride Parade

“This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done”, said Kasey Greenhaw, an Oklahoma Progressive Network (OPN) member, as our contingent rounded the corner of 39th and Penn. Thousands were there to cheer for those that marched in the Oklahoma City Pride Parade. It was quite a surreal feeling for those of us whose first time to march in the parade was this past June. It was also an entirely positive experience. The support shown during Pride weekend is quite unique. There aren’t many events that unite so many in such a positive way.

Participating in Pride was something that OPN, an organization of over 11,000 members was thrilled to do. We had special edition OPN Pride t-shirts designed for our members to wear and t-shirt proceeds funded OPN’s booth where we registered voters, and were able to march along others in support of the LGBTQIA community. Chelsea Abney, an OPN member, shared, “It’s crazy how one year you’re at pride watching the parade, and the next you’re part of the action. Registering voters was a great way for me to take part in the movement OPN is all about!” It’s a sentiment felt by many within the group. Being a part of something with a focus on inclusivity and and equality is something special.

OPN is an organization that prides itself on supporting equal rights for all individuals throughout Oklahoma and beyond. According to OPN member, Jennifer Prilliman, “The heart of OPN’s mission is empowering Oklahomans to be involved in the political process. We registered new voters from all parties and had great conversations about ways people could participate in civic action and discourse, all while showing our support for the LGBTQIA community.” Prilliman continued, “My pride attendance was specifically dedicated to someone near and dear to me who recently began transitioning. They deserve to live in this community safely and free from discriminatory policies.”

While this was the first Pride Parade since the founding of OPN in 2016, it certainly won’t be the last to include OPN participation. With a fantastic turnout, and everyone in attendance working toward the same goal, real change can be made in Oklahoma. Everyone should feel free to love who they love and be who they are. OPN is a proud supporter of equal rights.

 

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OPN Impacts Election for Progressive Underdog

OPN Impacts Election for Progressive Underdog

“I’m just a mom who wanted to give back while staying connected with my kids,” said Paula Lewis, newly elected Oklahoma City Public School Board Chair, in an interview with the Oklahoma Progressive Network (OPN) this past week. “I think the fact that I’m just a normal person helped.”

Referencing her upset win on Tues. April 4th, over heavily funded and politically connected, Stanley Hupfeld, supported by the deep pockets of movers and shakers in Oklahoma City, Lewis noted that in contrast, the majority of her donations were small amounts from middle-class families with budgets stretched thin. According to the Daily Oklahoman, Hupfeld outraised Lewis by more than 5-to-1.

Lewis ran unopposed for OKCPS District 4 school board member a year ago, and after serving a year on the board, wanted to do more. Not only did Lewis win, but she won by a comfortable margin with 53 percent of the votes over Hupfeld’s 47 percent (6,152 votes to 5,455 votes).

“While having two kids in the district and serving on the school board, I noticed something referred to as the ‘summer gap.’ If two children start kindergarten with a six-month difference in understanding the curriculum, it isn’t a huge deal. They both learn throughout the year and improve. The difference is what they experience in the summer. If the child that had a six-month advantage spends their summer going to the science museum and to the library, while the child with the six-month disadvantage doesn’t receive those enrichment experiences, when they return to school, that six-month difference is now a nine-month difference,” notes Lewis. “When this happens year after year, it can be a two year difference by the time they are in high school.”

A passion for children

We could feel Lewis’ passion for children throughout our conversation. She discussed how some schools offer enrichment opportunities in after school programs to help bridge the “summer gap,” and how the use of spring and fall intersessions can also benefit children needing help.

At OPN, we were really curious about her strategies for winning since she narrowly lost the February election, yet had enough votes to make the runoff against Hupfeld. Lewis attributed her win to several factors: community support; the fact she has children in two different schools in the district; that as a parent with kids in the district, she has an understanding and appreciation of the lives of parents and teachers; and, support from the grassroots progressive movement.

Lewis referred to OPN specifically and our focus on increasing political awareness and community involvement throughout Oklahoma.

“OPN really helped,” said Lewis. “Social media played a huge part, particularly in voter turnout. We had 11,000 votes in the runoff election compared to 7,000 in the initial February election. We were told to expect a 25 percent drop.”

When asked about what made the difference in voter numbers between February’s initial election and April’s runoff, Lewis attributed the increase in voters to OPN.

“I know OPN did that. With their candidate videos and voter guides, as well as the push to get people out to vote, it made a big difference,” she said.

OPN is thrilled we were able to support a progressive candidate like Paula Lewis via social media, voter guides and video interviews with candidates. OKC Public Schools has faced budget cuts, the threat of school closures, as well as ongoing discussions about a charter system takeover. This is not what progressives want for the children of Oklahoma City.

“We want all children to have access to quality public education, and we know Paula will get things going in the best possible direction,” said Kasey Greenhaw, OPN board vice president and co-founder. “I have a child in Oklahoma City Public Schools, and I want her to have a great education. OPN is excited about the progressive movement in Oklahoma, and we aren’t stopping with school board elections. This is just the beginning.”

Renewed hope for Oklahoma progressives

After the November 2016 elections, many Oklahomans found like-minded individuals within OPN to share ideas and concerns regarding the local, state and national political scenes. OPN and other progressive organizations across Oklahoma are seeing a significant increase in political engagement. From OPN’s perspective, Lewis’ win is a step in the right direction. It confirms that when voters are provided comprehensive, unbiased information, we can elect progressive candidates based on shared values. That end result has some very exciting possibilities for the 2018 elections.

“We see evidence that the progressive movement is on the rise and spreading throughout Oklahoma,” says Greenhaw. “Where progressives previously felt the need to hide for fear of job loss or feeling like social outcasts, through OPN and other organizations, many are finding they are not alone. There are people from every political affiliation that have progressive beliefs, and want to move our state forward. We are realizing that when we work together, we really can make a difference. There is renewed hope since the outcome of Paula’s election, and this is the kind of impact OPN is determined to continue.”

OPN Featured in Oklahoma Gazette

OPN Featured in Oklahoma Gazette
A very big thank you to the Oklahoma Gazette for highlighting OPN’s mission and recent efforts. There are values we all hold in common, regardless of party, and the article does a great job of highlighting OPN’s focus on unifying and working together.

 

Spotlight quote: “We understand the landscape here. We know we have to look past parties and start looking at values,” Huckleberry said. “What are Oklahoma values? The value of hard work, the value of community and the value of honesty. Those are nonpartisan values. Those are the values we want to promote in our state.”

Visit okgazette.com to read the full story.

 

* MEDIA ALERT * Letter Writing Campaign

* MEDIA ALERT * Letter Writing Campaign


 

MEDIA ALERT

For Immediate Release: March 2, 2017

Media Contacts

Saad Mohammed
Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City
Director of Islamic Information
405-210-4775
Islam68@cox.net

Kasey Greenhaw
Oklahoma Progressive Network
Vice President/President-Elect
405-476-3637
k.greenhaw@okprognet.org

Organizations Partner to Host Letter Writing Campaign
at Masjid An Nasr in Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma Progressive Network (OPN) and the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City (ISGOC) will host a letter writing campaign Saturday, March 4 from 10 a.m. to noon at Masjid An Nasr in Oklahoma City. Organizers say the event’s purpose is to provide the community an opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns with Oklahoma legislators regarding the importance of diversity and unity across the state.

“We are so happy to join with OPN in this very important and critical matter of unity for all faiths, races and cultures here in Oklahoma and worldwide,” said Saad Mohammed, director of Islamic information for ISGOC.

Everyone is welcome at the event, and paper, pens, and crayons for children will be provided. OPN will also provide postage, all materials and supplies, and mail the letters. Refreshments will be served.

“In the wake of the current administration’s recent Muslim ban, OPN felt it was important to reach out to our fellow Oklahomans in the Muslim community,” said Kasey Greenhaw, OPN’s vice president/president-elect. “We believe there is strength in diversity and in acceptance, and we are excited to partner with the Islamic Society of Greater OKC in a diversity letter writing campaign. We encourage those who share our values to join us as we write letters to our local legislators, making clear how important equality is to the people of Oklahoma.”

Masjid An Nasr is located at 2815 N. Clair Ave. in Oklahoma City. For more information, go to okprognet.org or this event’s Facebook page.

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Voter Guides

Voter Guides

All three Oklahoma City Public School Board elections and the Norman City Council Ward 5 election are going to a runoff, according to Oklahoma State Election Board results.

The runoff elections are scheduled for April 4. Please visit our Voter Guides for details on the candidates! 

OPN Podcast #3 (Hosts)

OPN Podcast #3 (Hosts)

In this episode of the OPN Podcast Christine and Brandon talk about election resutls and State Rep. Justin Humphrey’s abortion bill. We take on Senator Lankford’s phone “town hall” in this week’s “Decoder Ring” segment. Email us at podcast@okprognet.org with questions, or topic suggestions.

Episode Download

OPN Podcast #2 (Educate)

OPN Podcast #2 (Educate)

 

 

On this episode of the OPN Podcast we talk about the DeVos confirmation, education, we reveal a new segment. We try to dive in the mind of conservatives and progressives to give you an answer to the statement. “I’ll never understand why a conservative thinks that way.” Thanks for the listen hope you enjoy.

iTunes

Podbean

New Website

New Website

Welcome to the new OPN Website!

We are busy creating pages for community building and resources for OPN members. There are more changes and updates to come as the days unfold. Please join our mailing list to stay in touch!

Website: http://www.okprognet.org
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/okprognet
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OKProgNet/

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Phone Your Rep

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