Democratic viewpoints on politics, policy and activism

Group to honor Father John Vrana, local Catholic priest, with peace award

The Mertens Peace Award being established to honor those whose work fosters peacemaking in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – On Saturday, April 2, The Oklahoma Center for Conscience will present the first annual Mertens Peace Award to Father John Vrana, at a ceremony at Mayflower UCC Church. A native of Oklahoma City who lived and worked here most of his life, Father Vrana was a local diocesan priest who took a public and sometimes controversial role in seeking racial justice, ending war and promoting nonviolence during the years of the civil rights struggle and Vietnam war.

The ceremony will be part of an OCC fundraiser to which the public is invited. Festivities begin at 7pm and the evening will close with a concert of peace songs from local singer/songwriter Peggy Johnson. The event is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted at the door. Beverages and light refreshments will be offered. Mayflower UCC is located at 3901 Northwest 63rd Street in Oklahoma City.

Father Vrana was nominated for the award by Marianne Mertens, as someone whom she felt should be recognized for his long commitment to peace and his courage to take moral but unpopular stands. Marianne and her husband Art, who passed away last year, were founding members of OCC.

Rena Guay, OCC’s Executive Director, said that “the Mertens embody the kind of selfless service to grassroots peace and justice causes that we seek to honor with our award, so it is fitting that it carry their name. Their actions over their lives and the people they have helped and inspired are their legacy, a legacy which we hope to echo each year when we present it to a deserving individual or group.”

“By recognizing the peace leaders of our past, we hope to inspire a new generation to follow in their footsteps, and so we build on their history and create a more just and peaceful future for all,” she said. “Father Vrana is such an individual and we are proud to be able to present him with the first annual Mertens Peace Award.”

Father Vrona is currently residing at St. Ann’s Nursing Home, where he is visited by those whose lives he touched through his many years of service. Because of his poor health, he will not be able to attend the ceremony; his award will be accepted by Marianne Mertens.

OCC was founded in 2004 by Catholic Peace Fellowship, Joy Mennonite Church, Oklahoma City Friends Meeting (Quakers) and Veterans for Peace as an organization dedicated to ending and preventing war and to support those who resist war as a matter of conscience. For more information, see or call 405-598-7362.

Those wishing to donate to OCC in honor of Art Mertens or Father John Vrana can send a check or money order to: Oklahoma Center for Conscience, 504 NE 16th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73104.

Ed Shadid Announces Candidacy for Oklahoma City Council, Ward 2

( – promoted by DocHoc)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Today, Edward Shadid, M.D., announced his candidacy for Oklahoma City Council, Ward 2. Dr. Shadid said he will take into account Oklahoma City’s past successes and move toward future opportunities for the city.

“Oklahoma City is a city on the move,” he said. “We have to ensure the progress we’ve made turns into future opportunities for our children. I am running for city council because I want my children and their classmates to be given the same opportunities to succeed that I had.”

Story continues after the break. The campaign website can be found at

Dr. Shadid was born and raised in Oklahoma. Members of the Shadid family have been practicing medicine since statehood. Dr. Shadid currently practices medicine at Spine and Pain Care of Oklahoma, a small business he opened in 2002.

“As a doctor, not a politician, I have worked hard for Oklahoma City families,” Shadid said. “I will extend the same dedication I have for my patients to the people of Oklahoma City. The people of Ward 2 need a council person who is accountable and responsive to their needs.”

Dr. Shadid said he believes the key to creating more jobs is through investing in Oklahoma City’s independent businesses and transportation infrastructure.

“The success of our community is dependent on the success of neighborhood shop owners,” he said. “Jobs must be created and tax incentives should be prioritized to our small businesses, not out of state special interests.”

As a physician and father of three, Dr. Shadid said he is committed to improving the quality of life for the people of Oklahoma City.

“I want to continue the legacy of Sam Bowman and encourage healthy living styles, like biking.”  Adding, “we must offer alternative modes of transportation and promote sustainable activities if the city is to compete in the 21st century.”

Dr. Shadid also addressed the value of protecting Oklahoma City’s neighborhoods and public services.  “Firefighters, the police force and city employees must be guaranteed every resource necessary to get the job done. Oklahoma City residents deserve their streets to be safe and clean.”  

Dr. Shadid stated that he thinks neighborhood leaders will lead the path towards improving the quality of life in Oklahoma City. He said he is running because he believes he can be this voice in the city council and where constituents can engage in an open dialog.

“I know the best ideas will not come out of my office but out of neighborhood meetings,” he said. “Ward 2 is blessed with historic associations and organizations. I want to give voice to those pioneering ideas from community leaders”

Oklahoma Reproductive Justice Activists to Rally at State Capitol

  • Sendoff for the most radical anti-women legislative session in state history.
  • Press conference at 11:45, 4th Floor Rotunda, followed by rally on North Plaza.
  • Please share this info widely with all your pro-women friends, networks and lists.
  • Wear pink!

As the Oklahoma legislative year ends, a session which saw numerous radical anti-abortion bills be passed, a group of activists that has been a steady pink-clad presence in the galleries during the final week will rally to collectively condemn the bills and to commit to future action against them and similar legislation.

For those who took part during the week, you had an impact, for those who were not able to participate, you still have a chance to be part of this historic campaign for reproductive justice in Oklahoma.

On Friday, May 28, supporters are asked to come — wearing pink — to the Capitol for the final time this session to be a living backdrop for a press conference at which medical professionals, religious leaders, political representatives and young people will address the bills and the growing movement for justice for women in our state.

Afterward, around 1pm, the group will move to the North Plaza for a rally where women and men will express their anger about the inherent contempt for all female Oklahomans embodied by the bills, as well as their determination to work to roll back these laws and preserve the rights, guaranteed by the Constitution and upheld by the Supreme Court, to privacy and self-agency.

It is vital that we have as large a crowd of supporters as possible at this end-of-session “send off” to the legislators who acted so brazenly with other people’s lives, health and dignity. We call on all Oklahomans who “trust women” to join us at this event, to contact their legislators and to work with us for public education and legislative advocacy.

What some have been calling “the pink brigade” that filled the House and Senate galleries this week, vow they have only begun to fight the anti-women mood of the current legislature, that the draconian bills which seek to harass, shame and stigmatize women, and even potentially threaten their health, in the name of ending abortion, are radical, insulting, harmful and unconstitutional.

Their movement is now organizing under the name “Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice” and will having ongoing meetings to address current and future action. More information about the group, the bills and how to engage politically to create a women-friendly state, please visit

Actions for reproductive justice continue at Oklahoma State Capitol


As the legialative session winds down, Planned Parenthood is begging for a PINK PRESENCE at the capitol on both Thursday and Friday, basically to bring some fear and doubt to some of these legislators about how safe they are.

Thursday and Friday — the house and senate both are scheduled to open for business at 9. If you can afford any time at all, go to the Senate gallery (or the house, should they take up the override.)

Also visit legislators’ offices. We plan to have (in the gallery) information and talking points for some of the worst reps’ and senators’ who have sponsored this awful legislation. See the attachment below for info on the anti-abortion bills and their sponsors.)

Friday — we hope to have some other kind of event and will post info here when it is available.

Info sheet

Tell OK Lege: Sustain the Veto – action for reproductive justice

Wear pink and join us to tell them:


When: Monday, 5/24 10AM

Where: OK State Capitol, Senate Gallery


Supporters of reproductive justice and women’s rights in Oklahoma will gather — WEARING PINK — in the Senate Gallery as the final week of the legislative session starts, and the OK Senate considers whether to uphold or override Gov. Henry’s veto of HB 3284, a draconian, intrusive, insulting and unconstitutional abortion reporting measure.

We are asserting the presence of Oklahomans who will not stand for the anti-women measures that have been coming from the Republican-led Oklahoma legislature. We are here, we are watching, we are organizing and we will be back next year in force!

Please join us, alert your friends and networks of advocates to this action, and join the Oklahoma Feminists group to stay informed and involved.

Even if you can’t come, you CAN call your rep Monday AM, see action guide below for talking points and contact info.


OK Greens to screen 'Tar Creek' documentary with filmmaker Q & A

( – promoted by peacearena)

tar creek film coverFrom the Oklahoma Greens, an event of interest and open to all:

Film examines Oklahoma’s Tar Creek toxic mining disaster

Location: Norman Public Library, Room A

Date/Time: Wednesday, April 21, 6 – 9 pm

Written and directed by Oklahoma native Matt Myers, ‘Tar Creek‘ is a moving testament to the strength, courage and fortitude of native peoples and ordinary Oklahomans. The film documents the human consequences of the No. 1 Superfund site in U.S, located in Picher, Oklahoma. Because of irresponsible mining and government oversight, the people of that area suffered health, developmental, social and economic effects and eventually had to be removed from the area, often without adequate compensation or means to reestablish their lives, homes and businesses elsewhere. As Myers says in the narration of the film, “Environmental problems are people problems.”

The Green Party of Oklahoma will host this new, independent documentary film, with Myers as our guest, for a special screening on Wednesday, April 21 from 6 to 9 pm at the Norman Public Library, 225 N. Webster. A Q&A session will follow the film.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. A donation for the filmmaker is optional but encouraged.

Future screenings are planned in OKC and across the state; contact us for details.

A flyer for the film can be viewed and downloaded, printed and distributed.

View trailer.

OKC 'Rally for Peace and Life' to mark 7th Anniversary of Iraq invasion

( – promoted by peacearena)

NOTICE – CANCELED: Rally & March for Peace, Saturday at OCU, March 20, are canceled because of weather forecasts of freezing, snow, and wind. No plans now for rescheduling, but spring is coming, and energy may blossom for another try.

Peace, Out.

– – Nathaniel Batchelder

Peace rally flyer 2010/03/20

The Peace House announces:

Saturday, March 20 – – – Seven-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

NW 23rd Street & Blackwelder, OKC (OCU,between Western & Penn Ave)

10:30:  Drumming & Music (bring your drum)

11a.m.-Noon:  RALLY: Speakers from student and faculty populations

Noon:  Peace March begins, returns to NW 23rd & Blackwelder

Bring signs, banners, trumpets and timpani

Cosponsored by OCU OIKOS Scholars and The Peace House

Here’s a link to a pdf of a flyer you can print off and share:

Peace March Flyer

Crossposted from