Ana Deisy Escalera- Energy Management Major, Price College of Business: was nominated for her activism and advocacy with Dream Act Oklahoma (DAOK), a youth-led organization that emphasizes civil rights for the undocumented community. In her work with DAOK, she educates the public and advocates for a better life and brighter future for all Dreamers."I would like to nominate Ana Deisy Escalera for the Robert D. Lemon Social Justice Award [because] she has participated in several educational forums in the Oklahoma City metro area to inform the community about elections and political parties...Diesy has been instrumental in mobilizing seven pro-bono attorneys and around 60 volunteers. Together, they have helped approximately 400 dreamers start their dream to a better future.” - Shaila Miranda, nominator.
Emma Newberry-Davis - Women's and Gender Studies Major: is passionate about women's and LGBTQ issues, improving the campus community through activism, and sexual health education. During her freshman year, Emma started volunteering with the Women's Outreach Center (WOC), which eventually lead to a major change, and applications for internships with the WOC where she has coordinated events on sexual assault and relationship violence like Take Back the Night, the Red Flag Campaign, Safebreak, and Rape Awareness Week, to name a few. Now, she heads into a graduate degree at the University of Oklahoma Zarrow School of Social Work. "I am pleased to nominate Emma [...] as a recipient of The Robert D. Lemon Social Justice Award. I have had the pleasure of watching Emma develop as a student and social justice advocate over the past three years. [The events advocating against violence against women] were successful due to Emma's commitment, organizing skill, and enthusiasm for educating the student body to change the rape culture on our campus and educate others." - Kathy Moxley, nominator.
Meredith Worthen- Assistant Professor, Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences: was nominated for the Robert D. Lemon Social Justice Faculty Award by two colleagues and a student for her activism creating an inclusive campus and community for LGBTQ people. "[J]ust two years after arriving at OU as an assistant professor, Meredith single-handedly developed The Welcoming Project, a non-profit organization designed to create a welcoming community for LGBTQ individuals and their allies. Her initial objective was to encourage local businesses, organizations, and churches in Norman and throughout the United States to display welcoming signs designed to make LGBTQ individuals and allies feel welcome as patrons...I believe Meredith has done more to promote social justice in two years that a typical team of people could accomplish in many years." - Amy Kroska, nominator
Erin Simpson- Center Coordinator, Walker Center, Housing and Food: was nominated for the Robert D. Lemon Social Justice Staff Award because of her commitment to social justice in all areas of her academic, professional, and personal life. "It is with great honor that we come together to nominate Erin Simpson [...] She truly enacts the 'intersectional' commitments required for social justice work in that is an advocate and educator for issues related to gender, race, class, and sexual orientation across campus. In addition to being a staff member, Erin is a PhD student in Adult and Higher Education, where she uses her research and scholarship on the experience of women in student affairs to work toward social justice and a greater understanding of how intersecting systems of oppression impact students and staff on college campuses." - Moira Ozias, Lauren Roysten, Rodney Bates, LaVonya Bennett, and Justin Grimes; nominators.
Jennifer Cox - was nominated for her activism and advocacy related to ending discrimination against sexual minorities, pregnant individuals, survivors of sexual violence, and animals. "I am nominating Ms. Cox because she stands out as an exemplary student who is deliberately and strategically devoting her life’s work—as an educator, a scholar, and a professional advocate/ activist- with compassionate, courageous leadership efforts to eliminate discrimination against LGBTQ young people, survivors of sexual violence and reproductive bigotry, and vegans[...]She merits this award particularly because she is providing for her agemates and for younger students on this campus a profound model of how to build a meaningful life’s work devoted to social justice.” - Susan Laird, nominator
Dr. Susan Sharp - L.J. Semrod Presidential Professor, Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences: "Dr. Sharp has demonstrated leadership and compassion in her field by focusing her time and effort on helping women prisoners [ …] In 2009, Dr. Sharp [studied] the relationship incarcerated mothers have with their children. […] Dr. Sharp also worked with families of people who are serving [time] on death row. …I encourage you to pick Dr. Sharp [ for the social justice award] because she has put her time and effort from 1980 to the present to help improve the lives of people who are incarcerated as well as their families. She has also worked hard with students in the classroom at the University of Oklahoma, opening their minds about incarceration in Oklahoma.” Cindy Coffin, nominator.
Sam Fellows is the first recipient of the staff social justice award. Fellows was nominated for his advocacy in the Staff Senate on behalf of staff members with same sex partners. "It is with sincerity and enthusiasm that I nominate Sam Fellows to be considered for the Social Justice award. Sam has advocated tirelessly for the rights and equal treatment of gay faculty and staff at the University of Oklahoma for several years and has never wavered [...]Sam was brave and stood up for what he knows is fair and just. He made this campus a more welcoming, fair place to work.” - Jenn Doughty, nominator.
Jordan Ward - WGS Major: was recognized for her service to the university community through her courageous advocacy for changing the sexual assault policy at OU. When Jordan first started her campaign the policy was that sexual assault had to be reported within 30 days. Jordan decided that she would change this policy and so began a year long effort to educate the student body and the university administration about the realities of sexual assault on campus and the need to extend the statue of limitations. She persisted in her efforts until the president of the university responded and changed the status of limitations to one year and began an overhaul of OU’s sexual assault policy, including police training. “Jordan should be a constant reminder to us that our silence does not protect us and that by speaking out against injustice, you begin the foundation for fundamentally changing the society that we live in.” –Sandra Criswell, nominator
Dr. Martha Skeeters - Associate Professor in WGS: Recognized for her service to the Oklahoma community through her advocacy through bringing awareness about state legislation that severely restricts women’s reproductive autonomy. In May of 2010, Dr. Skeeters organized an initial meeting of over 60 people to be present at the State Capitol to remind legislators that there are Oklahoma citizens fighting for women’s rights who will not be silenced. Dr. Skeeters created the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice (OCRJ), in which she serves as president. “Martha has worked tirelessly for reproductive justice…. I find Martha’s most compelling trait to be her bravery in taking stand for reproductive justice. She has given a voice to those afraid to speak out and provided hope for those who felt defeated. She is a role model for so many and living proof of what advocacy and dedication can do for social justice.” –JoAnna Wall, nominator
Velvet Brown - Graduate social work student in the Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work: “Ms. Brown, a tireless and deeply committed advocate for people living with sickle cell disease, and their family members, has devoted her professional development to mastering those areas of advocacy practice that enable her to bring to fruition an exemplary support system responsive to some 1300 individuals and families within Oklahoma who are coping with the physical, psychological, and social consequences of this disease.” - David Moxley, nominator
Dr. Melissa Frey - Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology, College of Education: “Dr. Frey is a true advocate for social justice--both within the university and beyond. As a feminist, it has been particularly meaningful for me to experience Dr. Frey actively addressing issues of inequality and discrimination in her work as a faculty member and psychologist. Especially meaningful, has been her willingness to “walk the walk” even when it is difficult or unpopular.” -Rebecca Hurst, nominator