Statement from Liz Charles, Executive Director, & OWC Board of Directors

Advocates in Oklahoma and across the country continue to shine a light on the trauma and anger caused by the long history of systemic racism, white supremacy, and unequal justice in our country. In the midst of a pandemic disproportionately affecting Black people due to economic inequality, lack of access to quality healthcare, food deserts, and other structural inequities, our country is grappling with an all too familiar crisis: racism in the form of police killings of our Black brothers and sisters.

The Oklahoma Women’s Coalition stands alongside those on the ground in the fight for justice. We will do all that is in our power to demand accountability from police and elected leaders to address the root causes of violence and harming of Black and brown communities. We will continue – and heighten – our fight for the policy changes that are needed to correct systemic injustice and gender-based oppression and increase opportunities for those who face social, political, and economic inequality.

The Oklahoma Women’s Coalition is committed to taking the following action steps:

– We will develop metrics of accountability to gauge the distribution of decision-making power and inclusivity in representation within our Coalition’s leadership.

– We will continue to develop intentional partnerships with Black organizers and minority-led organizations that are already doing the work of restorative and racial justice in an effort to listen and learn how we can support and elevate their efforts.

– We will continue incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into our strategic planning to ensure that the voices and interests of women of color are centered in our policy language and organizing.

We refuse to return to normal, so long as “normal” devalues Black lives, Black women, and the lived experiences of Black communities. In this moment, we have a responsibility not to remain silent. A new reality means a constant commitment on our part to unlearn and acknowledge our own biases, while working in an anti-racist frame to advance these goals.

If there are other ways the Coalition can show up for you, we are listening. Let’s join together to do the collective work of improving gender and racial equity – let’s build an Oklahoma where all of us can feel safe and flourish.

 

In Solidarity,

Liz Charles, Executive Director
Laura Lang, Board Chairwoman