Justice for Oklahoma Women Rally set for Saturday July 16, 9 am, at the State Capitol South Plaza
By Brenda Golden
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Treaties (S.P.I.R.I.T) is hosting a rally at the State Capitol to bring awareness to the need for action concerning the high incarceration rate of Oklahoma women.
Members of S.P.I.R.I.T. became incensed upon learning of the harsh and unjust sentencing of Patricia Spottedcrow, a young American Indian female who is the mother of four young children. Spottedcrow was sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling $31 worth of marijuana to an undercover police officer.
Ms. Spottedcrow’s case is indicative of the statewide injustice system that prefers to lock up our mothers, daughters, aunts, and sisters for mere infractions of the law. Over the last few years there have been conferences, task forces, forums and studies on the subject of why Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate for women in the nation. Yet no changes have occurred to combat the root cause of this problem.
The “Justice for Oklahoma Women” Rally is to call all concerned citizens together for demanding action to keep our women home with their families where they belong. Philip Deere, noted Muscogee (Creek) elder and statesmen said, “Women are the backbone of our nation.” This S.P.I.R.I.T holds as truth.
Beginning at 9 am at the State Capitol, South Plaza, the Rally will feature State Senator Andrew Rice, Attorney for Spotted Crow, Josh Welch, and award winning poet Lauren Zuniga among other performers, musicians, and speakers. Senator Rice will speak on the issue of “smart on crime” policies going on at the Capitol. While Josh Welch will inform everyone of how unjust the sentencing of Patricia Spottedcrow is a small symptom of the larger issue. S.P.I.R.I.T. hopes that everyone who is concerned about the incarceration of Oklahoma women will stand together at the State Capitol on Saturday, July 16th to send a statement to the Judicial System, District Attorneys and Legislators. Stop the madness!
To date S.P.I.R.I.T has hosted a benefit concert at Istvan Gallery called “Singing for SpottedCrow” on July 10th that raised $245 for the Spottedcrow legal defense fund. The group is also sponsoring an online auction of donated art items such as signed prints by Dana Tiger and photos of Flaming Lips lead singer, Wayne Coyne, for the Spottedcrow legal defense fund.
S.P.I.R.I.T. is a grass roots movement that formed around the Oklahoma Centennial Counter Celebration in 2007. Their main platforms are to teach the truth in Oklahoma schools, end the land run re-enactments in public schools, stop the 89er day celebrations, and the removal of Indian type mascots in public schools. They can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/okspirit. S.P.I.R.I.T. has sponsored numerous rallies in the past for the purpose of educating the public and increase awareness on indigenous issues.
For more information about the “Justice for Oklahoma Women” Rally, contact Brenda Golden at 405-949-0893. She is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, is currently attending Oklahoma City University School of Law and holds an MBA and a BBA both from the University of Oklahoma.
Press Release for Immediate Release
July 16, 2011 – Oklahoma City, OK, State Capitol
“Justice for Oklahoma Women” Rally – 9:00 AM
Starting at 9 am tomorrow morning, Saturday July 16th, there will be a rally at the Oklahoma State Capitol, to bring attention to the outrageous over prosecution and incarceration of Oklahoma women. In attendance will be members of various Native American organizations, and other Non Indian groups and organizations, along with speakers representing Oklahoma State Government.
Featured speakers will be Oklahoma State Senator Andrew Rice, along with attorney Josh Welch, the legal representative of Patricia SpottedCrow a young American Indian female who is the mother of four young children that was sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling $31 worth of marijuana. There will also be various segments of communities in Oklahoma in attendance as well as other speakers and musicians.
9:00 AM - Call for Justice
9:15 AM - Welcome from members of SPIRIT
9:30 AM – State Senator Andrew Rice
9:45 AM – Music by Brent Blount
10:00 AM – Josh Welch, Attorney at Law
10:15 AM – Music by Kallo Hill
10:30 AM – Lauren Zuniga, Poet Laureate
10:45 AM – Demand for Justice
Dr. Susan Sharpe of the University of Oklahoma issued a statement in honor of this event that says, “Not only do we incarcerate women at an outrageous rate, but we fail to allocate money to help them deal with the traumas in their past that have led to their drug use, the most common reason for incarceration. It is past time for us to become smart on crime and work towards strengthening families and communities rather than destroying them.”
It is time for Oklahoma to take notice. It is time for Oklahoma to take action. It is time for Oklahoma to change.
For more information about the “Justice for Oklahoma Women” Rally, contact Brenda Golden at 405-949-0893 or Kathryn Hatcher at 405-830-0626.