Saturday, December 13, 2014

LGBT Rights are Human Rights

by Sharon Bishop-Baldwin

A 2014 Human Rights Award Winner
via Facebook


Friends, all of the accolades we receive are special, for different reasons, but today's award was meaningful because it acknowledges that LGBT rights are human rights.

When Mary and I got up to receive our award and make some comments, I noted that looking around the room, I saw black, white, Latino, Middle Eastern, Christian, Jew, Muslim, male, female, young and old. But after listening to all but one of the speeches (one more came after us), what really struck me were our similarities!

From the UN Free & Equal Campaign
A Muslim speaker talked about having lawmakers propose and pass bills meant to curb his community's freedoms. A Latino speaker talked about bias in society because of differences (in his case a foreign accent). To a person, every speaker who went before us said some phrase or discussed some issue or idea that we ourselves have said about our own LGBT community -- from "Keep the faith" and "Be a voice for the voiceless" to talk of death threats and the work that remains to be done.

It was so meaningful to be in a room full of people who are fighting the same fights right alongside us, revealing how we're really so much the same.

We thank the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance for the honor and especially Bill Bryant of the Oklahoma City chapter of the United Nations Association for nominating us.

“Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”

(Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a16

Friday, December 12, 2014

Human Rights Day in Pictures

Adam Soltani poses with his award. Photo credit: Imam Imad Enchassi

Some of our Favorite Photos from the 2014 Human Rights Awards

Collected from Facebook


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Maya Martinez accepted an award for her mother, Sonya Martinez. Credit: Beautiful Dream Society.




Carlos Ortiz accepts his award in the chamber of
the Oklahoma House of Representatives
After all of the awards were presented, Mr. Ortiz, who is
a journalist by profession, interviewed a fellow award
winner, Carlos Tello.

"At least 23 members of ‪#‎yesalldaughters‬ are at the capital
today to represent and accept a 2014 Human Rights Award."
Photo: Traci Morales
After the awards program, some supporters of "Yes All Daughters"
stepped into the Capitol Rotunda for a group photograph.
"Yes All Daughters" was nominated for the 2014 Human
Rights Award because they stood up for the personal
security of all people.

 

"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 (UDHR)
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml

A Memorable Human Rights Day

Photo courtesy Carlos Ortiz

A Message from Wilfredo Santosrivera


It was a Happy Human Rights Day at the Capitol. For one day in the Oklahoma House Chamber, grassroots advocates met to recognize the achievements of a diverse group of people of all ages and colors. A collage if you will, like Carlos Tello's mural in the Hall of Governors on the second floor of the Capitol. All making a contribution in the mission of human and civil rights for all.

Like "Yes ALL Daughters", who were recognized for their contribution to the cause of human rights.


From Cristen Claire, via Facebook
Like Mary and Sharon Bishop-Baldwin, who proved that persistence and dedication pay off. And Vicki Miles-LaGrange, who believes in standing up for justice. And Santiaga Quiñónez, a little old lady, poor economically and in health, but who roared like a lion when she talked about her prison ministry. And other advocates like Bill Carmack, and Jeff Hamilton, whose wisdom and experience enriched this beautiful meeting of souls and minds.

Not to mention the valuable contributions of Carlos Ortiz, Mohan Chandran, Akash Patel, Adam Soltani, Claudia Rossavik, Bob Lemon, Sonya Martinez.

And advocates like Ahiezer Black, who always give 100% to the cause. And Christina Mizirl, who asks us all to give at least 10%, everyday to humanity. A great investment for us all.

It was not a perfect event, but it was our day to enjoy and we did.

We did it without a budget. We thank Tim, COCINA DE MINO, for going beyond the call of duty for three years in a row and thank you Ramiro from LA OAXAQUENA for your contribution to the cause. We loved the food.

We love the people and thank you all for making it a memorable Human Rights Day, and thank you Wallace Collins for your leadership of the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance. Sorry you could not be with us and hope that your meeting with our President Obama went well.

Hasta la vista, amigos!

Wilfredo

Friday, December 5, 2014

Mary and Sharon Bishop-Baldwin

Mary and Sharon Bishop-Baldwin: 2014 Human Rights Award Winners
Tulsa, OK
Nominated by Bill Bryant


On November 3, 2004, the day after Oklahoma's state constitution was amended to ban same-sex marriage, Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin, along with another couple, filed a challenge in federal court in Tulsa. They wanted the state to recognize, in law, their right to marry.

On January 14, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Terence C. Kern ruled in Bishop v. Oklahoma that Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. But, the enforcement of his ruling was stayed, pending an appeal.

Ultimately, on October 6th of this year, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal from the State of Oklahoma. Mary and Sharon were free to wed, which they did on the same day.

Informed of their nomination for this year's Human Rights award, Sharon Bishop-Baldwin stated, "We represent thousands of LGBT people who did not have the ability to stand up for themselves on the marriage issue, and we always accept accolades on their behalf, as well."

Mary and Sharon are among a group of Oklahomans who are being honored with this year's Human Rights Award. You can find the complete list of winner on our blog post titled, "2014 Human Rights Award Winners" (December 3, 2014).

“Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”

(Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a16

"The Welcome"


Enjoy this 3-minute Bollywood-style video from the United Nations Free & Equal Campaign!

Ahiezer Black

Ahiezer Black: A 2014 Human Rights Award Winner
Oklahoma City
Nominated by Wilfredo Santosrivera


Through his J.O.Y. - The Free Resources Clinic he has and is serving the community of OK in the areas of health, education and human rights advocacy. He networks with the Diabetes Association and other organizations and individuals in order to improve the life condition of those in need but with little, if any, economic or other resources.

From the website of J.O.Y. – The Free Resources Clinic:

“J.O.Y - The Free Resources Clinic is a faith-based organization providing free information and health resources to those who are either uninsured or underinsured and without access to available care services in the Oklahoma City community.  The primary focus is on healthy literacy as well as prevention, intervention and advocacy.

“Health literacy does not discriminate due to a patient's age or years of education. Health literacy includes the ability to understand prescription medications, discharge instructions, consent forms, appointment scheduling, requests for information, and the ability to negotiate complex healthcare organizations that offer a variety of services in multiple locations.

“The mission of the J.O.Y – The Free Resources Clinic. Inc. becomes even more profound on vulnerability and unmet health care needs. High rates of poverty, low education rates, and poor health behaviors help to contribute to the widening gap between the health of Hispanics, African American and American Indians and the rest of the population. Compared to the US rate, a great number of Hispanics are more likely to suffer from tuberculosis, a higher percent more likely to suffer from alcoholism, an unknown percentage more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. With these staggering health inequalities, J.O.Y – The Free Resources Clinic. Inc., puts efforts into improving the quality of health care in the targeted location. J.O.Y. is not just a Hispanic Organization, but seeks to provide Resources and Services to primarily the Hispanic, Black and Native American Communities of Central Oklahoma and soon the state.”

“Everyone has the right to education….”

(Article 26 of the UDHR)
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a26

Bill Carmack

Dr. Bill Carmack: A 2014 Human Rights Award Winner
Norman, OK
Nominated by Jay Wilkinson


Dr. William R. Carmack is the chair emeritus at the University of Oklahoma's Communications Department and a member of the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. He became a faculty member at OU in 1958.

In 1961, Dr. Carmack was instrumental in working with others to form the Southwest Center for Human Relations studies at OU. At the time, it was one of only seven such centers in the country.
The Center’s first focus was to expedite desegregation in the Southwestern states and soon included efforts to expand opportunities for American Indians through course work, conferences, and individual meetings and through the creation of community action groups.

Dr. Carmack’s legacy includes work for Federal District Judge Luther Bohanan, who ordered the desegregation of Oklahoma City Public Schools in the 1960’s. He also worked for Senator Fred Harris, serving as his administrative assistant in 1965.

Dr. Carmack served the Bureau of Indian Affairs during the Johnson and Nixon administrations. In 1968, he was appointed to become the first director of the National Council on Indian Opportunity. During that time, there was a major transfer of operations from the Bureau of Indian Affairs directly to tribes throughout the country.

Jay Wilkinson writes about Dr. Carmack’s support for the desegregation of the Oklahoma City Public Schools: “As a result of his input and action, Bill received many personal letters filled with hatred, hostility and profanity, not unlike what my father received when Prentice Gautt broke the athletic color code at OU.”

Wilkinson summarizes: “Bill… has many distinguished accomplishments in the important areas of civil rights activity and interpersonal relationships.”

“Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.”

(Article 26 of the UDHR)
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a26

Mohan Chandran

Mohan Chandran: A 2014 Human Rights Award Winner
Shawnee, OK
Nominated by Father Paul Zahler


As Co-Director of the National Institute on Developmental Delays he has served the cause of Human Rights locally, nationally and internationally. His collaboration in the USA, in India, Mexico and in other countries has improved the life condition of people with disabilities. His human rights advocacy is constant and his creativity continues to help make breakthroughs for this vulnerable and under-served community.

The National Institute On Development Delays (NIDD) is a national resource center based in Shawnee, OK, with a global outlook that strives to help children with developmental delays and their families world wide.

“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

(Article 3 of the UDHR)
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a3