VOICE (Voices Organized in Civic Engagement)


Accountability Session with Candidates for OK County Sheriff

Sunday, August 20, 2017, at 3:00 p.m.

Greater Mt. Olive Baptist Church (1020 NE 42nd St, Oklahoma City 73111)

Through conversations in our congregations and other member institutions, we've heard the stories about conditions in our county jail and the policies that keep people there for long periods of time, even before they are convicted. Within the larger community, there have been important efforts to reform our jail system, and we could move in a very exciting direction with the right sheriff in place. Join us to stand with families as we raise our concerns with the three candidates for sheriff, all of whom have committed to be present at this event. 1UC has committed to bring at least 100 people. Sign up at the VOICE table by the bookstore in Daniel Hall after service, or contact Sundra Flansburg (405-503-9944). Carpooling is being arranged for those who are interested, and childcare can be available if needed.

A VOICE Win on Curbing Predatory Lending Expansion

On May 5, 2017, Governor Mary Fallin vetoed HB1913, which would have expanded the types of predatory lending products being offered in the state, as well as eliminated the possibility for cities and counties to regulate themselves on this issue. After most representatives listened to industry lobbyists rather than constituents and passed the bill at the end of April, VOICE and partner organizations shifted our focus to the Governor, encouraging her (and giving her backing) to veto the measure. In news coverage there was mention that the bill "had drawn strong opposition from many church leaders because of its financial impact on low-income families" - that's VOICE leaders and their organizing efforts!

A VOICE Win on the OG&E Rate Hike

After many months of organized work, we can celebrate a successful conclusion to the most recent OG&E rate hike case – news that was published in The Oklahoman on March 20 with a quote from a VOICE leader. The Corporation Commission, responding to citizen input over many, many months, denied OG&E their requested $92.5 million rate hike, and allowed just a $8.9 million hike. Importantly, the commission ordered OG&E to refund citizens a portion of the amount they have been collecting since June, when – because of delays – OG&E was allowed to give itself a $69.5 million raise in the interim. Coming later this year: news on OG&E’s next proposed rate hike.

About 1UC and VOICE

One of the major ways that 1UC works in the community on our mission is as a member institution of VOICE. Voices Organized in Civic Engagement (VOICE) is a coalition of 25 member institutions, including congregations, unions, schools, worker associations, and nonprofits.

First Unitarian was one of the founding members of VOICE in 2012. There are many things that work to divide us in today's world, but all of the member institutions of VOICE have agreed to instead focus on the issues that we can agree on. We are all dedicated to making the metro area a better place to live for all of us. We move beyond social services, issue-based volunteerism, and "charity" to help shape the future for our community. By building relationships with others in the community, and standing together as one, we have made progress in a number of areas, such as holding an electricity rate increase down to just a fraction of the original proposal first coming from OG&E, increasing religious people's support for expanding Medicaid by 10 percent, getting post-incarceration fines and fees on the table in criminal justice reform, and keeping some of the harsh anti-immigration legislation from passing at the Capitol.

The UU Core Team of VOICE is made up of people from our congregation who are engaged in VOICE work, and is open to anyone who is interested in learning more. The team meets the fourth Sunday of each month at 9:00 a.m. (Sundra Flansburg, chair). We have active members on most of the issue-focused VOICE Action Teams, which include:

    • Utility Costs
    • Post-incarceration Fines and Fees
    • Improving Public Education
    • Payday Lending Reform
    • Health Care

600 NW 13th Street  |  Oklahoma City, OK 73103  |  Tel: 405-232-9224  |  Fax: 405-232-3843  |  RE @ 10am - Worship @ 11am  |  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  |  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.