NC4RJ Hosts Racial Justice Candidates Forum for City of Norman
January 24, 2019
Council candidate/Mayoral forum, hosted the Norman Citizen's for Racial Justice, from January 24th, 2019. Watch the Forum on the City of Norman website:
Whereas the mission of the City of Norman is “Building an Inclusive Community,”
And whereas the City of Norman, like many other cities across Oklahoma, has denied equality of social, economic, and political opportunity to Black, Native, and other minority populations in the past and present, 
And whereas we acknowledge that white supremacy (or “structural and institutional racism”) is a disease that plagues the foundations of our society,
We formed the Norman Citizens for Racial Justice in October 2017 to:
Become a grassroots, intersectional alliance of advocates working to dismantle white supremacy, uplift and defend the marginalized in our community, and achieve social, economic, and political justice for all peoples in the City of Norman and the State of Oklahoma.
NC4RJ and supporters work to educate Norman's citizens regarding the problems and solutions concerning racial and social justice, to advocate for sustainable policy that addresses past and present racial disparities, and to hold accountable elected officials who choose to enact or deny solutions to those disparities.
In order to become an inclusive city, supporters of Norman Citizens for Racial Justice urge the city to audit and abolish all forms of racial discrimination among police, jails, hospitals, schools, public and private sector businesses, and public spaces. We also believe the city should proactively strive to produce policies and actions that encourage social, political and economic equity among all peoples in Norman.
Because historical and contemporary racism is a problem that intersects through so many aspects of our society, we believe the solutions must also be intersectional in their approach.
1. Environmental Racism/Classism: 
Defined as the placement of low-income, tribal, and minority communities in the proximity of environmentally hazardous or degraded environments, such as toxic waste, pollution, and urban decay; environmental racism and classism are deeply present in the City of Norman.
As a candidate for elected office in Norman, I pledge to:
Protect minority and low income communities from harmful waste and pollution.
Support the expansion and aggressive investment in a goal for 100% renewable energy.
Support access to a 3rd party or municipal-owned utility through working with citizens and cities to lift the respective state ban and moratorium on these entities.
Provide resources for low-income, tribal, and minority communities to adopt cleaner, healthier, and more energy efficient infrastructure.
Support the expansion of access to clean, public transportation through a city-wide bike sharing program and an expanded bus route run on biofuels.
Support a ban on any new installments of pipeline and fracking wells in the City of Norman and on Absentee Shawnee tribe land.
Support an equitable stormwater utility that makes businesses and wealthier landowners pay their fair share.
2. Generational Poverty/Economic Inequality: 
Due to a history of racist governmental policies, institutions, and practices -- such as forced removal of Indigenous peoples, Land theft (Boomer Sooner Land Runs), Slavery, Jim Crow laws, the Federal Housing Administration refusing mortgages for minorities, and Sundown town ordinances -- minorities have been unable to store and pass down wealth to future generations, leading to African-Americans, for instance, having a median net worth of $11,000 compared to a median net worth of $141,900 for White Americans. (Labor Institute: Les Leopold “Runaway Inequality”)
Therefore, as a candidate for elected office I pledge to:
Work with citizens and other cities to remove the state barrier for cities to raise the minimum wage.
Offer the community financial literacy workshops or trainings
Actively recruit and invest in women, rural, and minority-owned small businesses through financial and/or educational resources such as the city partnering with OU’s Innovation Hub.
3. Institutional Racism/Racial Indifference/Color-blindness:
“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season.”
MLK Jr. Letter “Letter from Birmingham Jail” 1963
As a candidate for elected office, I pledge to:
Work with the NPS school board to integrate local minority and tribal history, no matter how visceral or “negative,” into mainstream Norman Public School education curriculum.
Restore subpoena power to the Norman Human Rights Commission so that it may investigate hiring practices, rental leasing practices, bank loans, and mortgages, to determine racial or class biases.
Establish new and renovate existing public displays/memorials that honor the sacrifices and contributions of Norman’s tribal and ethnic minority residents.
Urgently support the creation of a new Seniors Center and allow the old senior center to be used as a “People's History Museum.”
Assist in the facilitation of town halls and community workshops focused on cultural competence education led by underrepresented voices.
Require cultural competency training for all city officials, staff, police officers, firefighters and city employees.
Organize annual public celebrations of minority holidays such as but not limited to: Indigenous Peoples’ Day, MLK Day, and offer other minority groups to petition for new holidays that recognize the rich cultures of all peoples.
4. Mental Health:
Mental health affects families, individuals, and homeless persons from all backgrounds.
As a candidate for elected office in Norman, I pledge to:
Work with the Norman Regional hospital to eliminate discriminatory practices toward minority, LGBTQIA, mentally ill, or uninsured patients.
Support efforts for homeless persons and low-income families to receive basic mental health resources.
5. Criminal Justice Reform: 
Oklahoma's overcrowded prison system reached a record 63,009 inmates at the end of August — prompting state Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh to issue a dire warning:
"I am concerned, very concerned. We need to do something before something serious happens. ... The state will end up paying a price and I'm hoping that price of delaying criminal justice reform does not come in the way of costing individuals their lives."
Oklahoma's prison population has reached record levels, and Oklahoma leads the nation in incarceration of women and African-Americans.
As a candidate for elected office in Norman, I pledge to:
Provide special prosecution for officer-involved fatalities of citizens in Norman.
Support the decriminalization of simple possession of Marijuana under an ounce by eliminating fines.
Pursue and expand on community policing rather than militarization.
6. Political Representation:
The current city council is limited to a stipend totalling no more than $100/month ($1,200/year) according to Article II Section 1 of the City of Norman Charter. We believe this creates a barrier to entry for low-income, rural and tribal representation on Norman City Council, and whereas Norman is the third-most populated city in Oklahoma after #1 Oklahoma City with an annual city council salary of $12,000 and #2 Tulsa with an annual city council salary of $24,000.
As a candidate for elected office in Norman, I pledge to:
Support the amendment of the Norman Charter through an ordinance, ballot vote, or by other means, to substantially increase the monthly/annual salary of Norman City Council-members.
Draw on the rich experiences and resources from diverse groups and individuals in the community to create unity and reconciliation that will bring us closer and move us forward as a more progressive community.
Acknowledge the tribal sovereignty of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe and participate in an ongoing government to government relationship between the City of Norman and the Absentee Shawnee Tribe and political representation for Absentee Shawnee people.

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