The Center for Social Justice is delighted to introduce our Activist-in-Residence, Gwendolyn Fields.
Past Activists-in-Residence have included nationally touring poet, teaching artist and activist, Lauren Zuniga; Pradma Menon, queer feminist activist working nationally and internationally on social justice and human rights; and activist, feminist organizer for reproductive justice and sexual health, and blogger, Shelby Knox, to name a few.
Our first event with Ms. Fields will be a Panel discussion, “The Not So Merry Go-Round: Stopping the Cycle of Incarcerating Women and their Children” will be November 4th at 7pm in the Regents Room of the Oklahoma Memorial Union. Snacks will be provided.
Gwendolyn Fields is currently the Executive Director of The Advocacy Council, a non-profit organization whose mission is to end mass incarceration. Ms. Fields is an accomplished advocate and is passionate about securing the needs of people within communities most severely impacted by mass incarceration in Oklahoma. Ms. Fields’ passion for reform was ignited in 1997 after being sentenced to 59 years in prison for property crime (writing “insufficient funds” checks on her own checking account). She understands the many ways in which people of color are challenged and marginalized and has developed a public education strategy to reframe conversations within, and influence resistant public attitudes about, these communities. Her most recent work involves organizing a grassroots coalition against prison profiteering (private, for-profit prison corporations lobbying for tough-on-crime legislation).
Ms. Fields began her public career in 2009 as an Executive Assistant to Oklahoma State Senator Constance Johnson. Ms. Fields is comfortable in legislative environments and is an able negotiator. She was instrumental in writing legislation to eliminate Life Without Parole as a punishment for drug offenses; prohibiting use of three-strikes type enhancers in non-violent and drug offenses; requiring grace periods for post incarceration fees and fines; and, encouraging use of rehabilitation rather than incarceration for low-level drug offenders.
Ms. Fields grew up in Oklahoma and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.S. in Multidisciplinary Studies, with an Oil and Gas Asset Management Concentration. Ms. Fields has three sons, Joshua, Jeremy and Justin, and four grandchildren, Iris, Isis, Lorenzo and Dion who all live near her in the Oklahoma City area.
Ms. Fields will be on campus offering a series of events and class visits. For more information about this event, and for accommodations on the basis of disability, please visit the Center for Social Justice website at csj.ou.edu or call (405) 325-5787.