LOCAL AND NATIONAL LEADERS ILLUSTRATE FAILURE OF WALTERS AND OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IN THE MONTHS PRECEDING THE DEATH OF NEX BENEDICT, A 16-YEAR-OLD 2STGNC+ (Two Spirit, transgender, and gender nonconforming+) STUDENT OF CHOCTAW HERITAGE

KRISTIN CHENOWETH, DEMI LOVATO, CYNTHIA NIXON, JONATHAN VAN NESS, TOMMY DORFMAN, ALOK, PEPPERMINT, EMMA ROBERTS, AMY SCHNEIDER, K.D. LANG AND MORE JOIN AS SIGNERS

RAINBOW YOUTH PROJECT REPORTS NEARLY 1,000 MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS CONTACTS FROM LGBTQ YOUTH ACROSS OKLAHOMA FOLLOWING NEX’S DEATH

(Tulsa, Oklahoma, February 28, 2024) – Today more than 350 national, state, and local organizations advocating for equality across the U.S., alongside notable public figures, issued an open letter to Oklahoma legislative leadership urging justice for Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old 2STGNC+ (Two Spirit, transgender, and gender nonconforming+) student of Choctaw heritage who died following an attack in a restroom at Owasso High School in Oklahoma earlier this month. 

The letter calls for the immediate removal of Oklahoma state superintendent of public instruction, Ryan Walters, who has a long history of anti-2SLGBTQI+ (two spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex+) rhetoric and policies; and an investigation into the Oklahoma Department of Education to determine what actions and policies have led to a culture where rampant harassment of 2SLGBTQI+ students has been allowed to go unchecked. The letter reads in part:

“We are outraged that a climate of hate and bigotry has been not only allowed to thrive, but encouraged by the person who is responsible for education in the state of Oklahoma. State officials must be held accountable for bringing the politics of hate into Oklahoma’s schools and making our most vulnerable youth pay the price.”

Signers span Oklahoma-specific civil rights groups, churches and faith denominations, legal groups and unions, and more, to national education and youth advocacy groups, civil rights organizations, women’s rights leaders, and equality groups in neighboring states.

In addition to organizational signers, notable names including Kristin Chenoweth, Demi Lovato, Cynthia Nixon, k.d. lang, Jonathan Van Ness, Amy Schneider, Peppermint, ALOK, Emma Roberts, and Tommy Dorfman all joined onto the letter.

Statement from Nicole McAfee (they/she), Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma:

“The same week as Oklahoma and much of the world was grappling with the news of a 16-year-old Indigenous, 2STGNC+ student left dead after experiencing head trauma in a bathroom fight that involved anti-trans bullying, State Superintendent Ryan Walters and his gubernatorial appointed school board unanimously passed fifteen administrative rules that did everything from ban DEI programs to name Judeo Christian values as the foundations of Oklahoma public education. It's yet another example that not only is Walters out of touch with the needs of Oklahoma students, teachers, and families, but he is willing to continue his work to make public schools in Oklahoma hostile for 2SLGBTQ+ and BIPOC students, no matter the cost. All Oklahoma students deserve the safety to show up and learn as their full selves, and that is not possible so long as Ryan Walters is allowed to remain in his position. There will never truly be justice for a dead student, but Nex's community deserves, at minimum, a full investigation of the State Department of Education, and an end to the Ryan Walters regime.”

The letter was organized by Freedom Oklahoma, which works to build an Oklahoma where all 2SLGBTQ+ people have the safety to thrive; GLAAD, the world’s leading LGBTQ media advocacy organization; the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization; and GLSEN, a multi-racial intergenerational LGBTQ+ organization working nationally and locally to transform K-12 educational systems in the United States.

On Monday, Rainbow Youth Project, a social welfare organization that promotes the health, safety, and wellness of 2SLGBTQ+ young people throughout the United States, reported 987 mental health crisis contacts from youth inside Oklahoma; 894 have been received since February 16th, when news about Nex’s death gained national attention. 

Rainbow Youth Project reports that crisis contacts also spiked over the past year as state lawmakers continued passing discriminatory laws banning essential health care for transgender youth (May 2023, followed by 443 crisis contacts, up from 58 the month before), an inflammatory and inaccurate video produced by Walters’ education department falsely insinuating transgender students are a threat in schools in June (472 crisis contacts recorded), and policies to erase transgender and gender diverse people from official state designations and in school facilities (issued August 2023, followed by 453 crisis contacts). Oklahoma had passed a ban on students using the restroom aligned with authentic gender in May 2022, and a ban on transgender students participating in school sports in March 2022.

Statement from Sarah Kate Ellis (she/her), President & CEO of GLAAD:

“Superintendent Walters appears to have no interest in the safety and future of Oklahoma’s students as he has dangerously and recklessly prioritized escalating attacks against LGBTQ, indigenous, and vulnerable youth, promoting lies, spreading disinformation, and pushing broad scale discriminatory policies that do nothing to improve education. He has policed LGBTQ and affirming educators and pushed forward draconian rhetoric and policies to erase the culture and history of entire communities of Oklahomans. He is on the record using taxpayer funds to fuel his extremist agenda, in alignment with national anti-LGBTQ groups like Moms for Liberty and extremists on social media. Removing Walters would be one measure of justice for Nex Benedict and every other young Oklahoman, and a small step toward ensuring a new era in Oklahoma schools where every young person should be safe, protected and belong.”

Statement from Melanie Willingham-Jaggers (they/she), Executive Director of GLSEN:

“Nex's life was taken due to anti-trans hatred peddled by State Superintendent Ryan Walters, Chaya Raichik (Libs of TikTok) and extremist state legislators. These adults must be held accountable for their actions and words. Hate speech, especially when enshrined into law as demonstrated by Oklahoma's transphobic bathroom ban, not only brainwashes children to commit atrocious acts of violence but also desensitizes the adults in their environment, fostering a culture of callousness and disregard for human life. The tragic reality is that the youth who inflicted fatal injuries upon Nex were indoctrinated by fear and instilled with hatred of trans individuals. This indoctrination was so potent that they felt justified in carrying out an assault on their peer in a school bathroom. All children should be able to go to school and come home alive. Trans, non-binary and queer kids should be able to go to school and come home alive. As we grieve this loss, we persist in our fight and our commitment to rise up in support of queer and trans youth, and against extremism that attempts to use our education system to further hate and to erase queer youth.” 

Statement from Kelley Robinson (she/her), President of the Human Rights Campaign: 

“Long before Nex Benedict’s tragic death, Superintendent Walters’ troubling history of transphobic and racist behavior consistently put Oklahoma’s students, staff and teachers at risk. Now, his callous response to Nex’s death makes it clearer than ever that he is unfit for the role–and is in fact a danger to Oklahoma’s youth. Oklahoma students deserve to learn in an environment where they can be their authentic selves, free of harassment and bullying. That will never be the case with Ryan Walters in charge. The entire Oklahoma Department of Education must be investigated, and Walters must lose his job.” 

To view the current full list of singers, click here. Organizations seeking to add their names as signers can do so here; and individuals can do so here.

For a comprehensive look at Ryan Walters’ record on LGBTQ people and issues, visit https://glaad.org/gap/ryan-walters/

The current full list of signers is as follows:

Organizations Based in or Serving Oklahoma:

Burning Cedar Sovereign Wellness

Campaign for Southern Equality

Church of the Open Arms & Cathedral of Hope OKC

Community Cares by Trust Women

Cousins

D. Hammond & Associates, PLLC

Diversity Center of Oklahoma

Diversity Family Health

End HIV Oklahoma

First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City

Foundation for Liberating Minds

Freedom Oklahoma

Hopkins Law and Associates, P.C.

Let's Fix This

Lumina: Queer Student Alliance

Matriarch

Metriarch®

Mingalar Myanmar Alliance, Inc.

National Lawyers Guild, Oklahoma Chapter

OKC Democratic Socialists of America

OKC DSA Queer

Oklahoma Action Chorus

Oklahoma City Pride

Oklahoma Faith Network

Oklahoma Pride Alliance

Oklahomans for Equality

Open Arm Photography & Art

OUHSC Black Student Association

PFLAG Enid OK

PFLAG Norman

PFLAG OKC

PFLAG Stillwater

PFLAG Tulsa

Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes

Rural Oklahoma Pride

SOJOURN: Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender & Sexual Diversity

Stand For the Silent

Starbucks Workers United OKC

TahlEquality

The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Inc.

Trans Advocacy Coalition of Oklahoma

Trust Women Foundation

Tulsa Infectious Disease & AIDS League (TIDAL)

National Organizations:

Advocates for Youth

AFT

Agape MCC

American Association of School Librarians

American Atheists

American Humanist Association

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Arab American Institute

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

Athlete Ally

Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Center for American Progress

Center for Freethought Equality

CenterLink: The Community of LGBTQ Centers

Coalition for Responsible Home Education

COLAGE

Defense of Democracy

EducateUS

Envision:You

Equality Federation

Family Equality

FFRF Action Fund

FORGE, Inc.

Gender Justice League

GLAAD

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality

GLSEN

GSA Network

Health Justice Commons

Human Rights Campaign

I Am Human Foundation

Interfaith Alliance

It Gets Better

Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)

Knit the Rainbow, Inc.

Lambda Legal

Matthew Shepard Foundation

MomsRising

Movement Advancement Project

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc

National Black Justice Coalition

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy, and Community Empowerment (National PLACE)

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Education Association

National Harm Reduction Coalition

National LGBT Cancer Network

National LGBTQ Task Force

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Trans Bar Association

National Women's Law Center

Our Schools USA

PFLAG National

Plume Health

Positive Women's Network-USA

Project HEAL

Public Justice

QFPP

Queer Equity Institute

Rainbow Youth Project USA

Sam & Devorah Foundation for Trans Youth

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Shakina Inc.

SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change

State Innovation Exchange (SIX)

The Advocacy Institute

The Center for Constitutional Rights

The Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP)

The Sikh Coalition

The Trevor Project

The Unitarian Universalist Association

Trans Formations Project

TransFamiy Support Services

Transgender Law Center

Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF)

True Colors United

UFCW OUTreach

UltraViolet

Unity Fellowship Church Movement

State and Local Organizations Outside of Oklahoma:

Affirmations Community Center

AIM IT; WI

All Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist

All Rainbow and Allied Youth

All Under One Roof LGBTQ ADVOCATES of Southeastern Idaho

Alliance for Full Acceptance

API Equality-LA

APLA Health

Arkansas Black Gay Men's Forum

Bellingham Queer Collective

Big Sky High School Gender Sexuality Alliance

Black Pride NOLA

Borderland Rainbow Center

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center

CAMP Rehoboth, Inc.

Center for Immigrant Protection

Charlotte Trans Health

CoastPride

Communication Madison

Diverse & Resilient

Diversity Alliance of the Puget Sound

Diversity Collective

Diversity Collective Ventura County

Eastern PA Trans Equity Project

Edge New Jersey

El/La Para TransLatinas

Embrace United Church of Christ

EmpowerMT

Equality Arizona

Equality California

Equality Connecticut

Equality Delaware

Equality Nevada

Equality New Mexico

Equality New York

Equality North Carolina

Equality Ohio

Equality South Dakota

Equality Texas

Equality Virginia

Fair Wisconsin

Fairness Campaign

FAIRNY

Faith Commons

Family Voices NJ

First Unitarian Church of Dallas

Flamingo Democrats

Fortaleza Familiar

Four Corners Rainbow Youth Center

Freedom, Inc.

FreeState Justice

Galileo Christian Church

Garden State Equality

Gender Justice (Minnesota and North Dakota)

Gender Justice LA

GenderNexus

Georgia Equality

Georgia Safe Schools Coalition

GLYS Western New York

GMHC

Grand Rapids Trans Foundation

GSAFE

Guilford Green Foundation & LGBTQ Center

GVSU YDSA/SDS

Hawai‘i LGBT Legacy Foundation

He She Ze and We

Henderson Equality Center

Hetrick-Martin Institute

Hudson Pride Center

Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center

Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation

Identity Inc.

Immune Boosters

inclusion tennessee

Inside Out Youth Services

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

LGBT Center of Greater Reading

LGBT Center of Raleigh

LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin

LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland

LGBT Community Center of Long Island, Inc.

LGBT Community Network

LGBTQ Center OC

LGBTQ Community Organizer GV

Live Out Loud

Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth, Inc. (LIGALY)

Long Island SAGE

Los Angeles Bi+ Task Force

Los Angeles LGBT Center

Louisiana Trans Advocates

Louisville Youth Group

Madison Anarcha Collective

MaineTransNet

Mainline

Makom Shelanu Congregation

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

MassEquality

Mazzoni Center

Middle Tennessee Democratic Socialists of America

Middleton Hills Trans Anarchist Collective

Monterey Peninsula Pride

Montgomery Pride United/ Bayard Rustin Community Center

Mountain Pride

Muncie OUTreach LGBTQ+ Center

Naper Pride

National Council of Jewish Women Texas

New Bern Pride

New Haven Pride Center

North County LGBTQ Resource Center

North Dakota Human Rights Coalition

North Shore Alliance of GLBTQ+ Youth (NAGLY)

Northwest Arkansas Equality, Inc.

NoVA Prism Center

NY LGBT Network

Ogden Pride

One Colorado

One Iowa

one-n-ten

Openhouse

Out Boulder County

Out in the Open

OUT MetroWest

Out On The Lakeshore

Out Professional Engagement Network

OutCenter Southwest Michigan

OutFront Kalamazoo

OutFront Minnesota

OUTMemphis

OutReach LGBTQ+ Community Center

Pacific Center for Human Growth

Pacific Pride Foundation

PEAK Parent Center

PFLAG FW

PFLAG Mount Horeb Chapter

Pittsburgh Equality Center

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin

Positive Images

Pride at Work AFL-CIO Rochester Finger Lakes Chapter

Pride Center of Terre Haute Inc.

Pride Community Center, Inc

Pride Foundation

Prism United

PROMO Missouri

Public Advocates

QSpace Bismarck, North Dakota

Queermunity

QUEERSPACE collective

Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance

Rainbow Rose Center

Rainbow Seniors ROC, Inc

Red River Rainbow Seniors

Red River Unitarian Universalist Church - Denison

Resource Center

Ricky's Pride

Rochester Rainbow Union

Sacramento LGBT Community Center

San Diego Pride

San Francisco AIDS Foundation

San Gabriel Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Seattle's LGBTQ Center

Shenandoah LGBTQ Center

Shoals Diversity Center

Silver State Equality-Nevada

Sincecombahee Educational Consulting

SMYAL

Social Action Council, First UU Church of Austin

Solano Pride Center

SQSH (St. Louis Queer+ Support & Healing)

St. Luke's in the Meadow Episcopal Church

St. Vrain Safe Schools Coalition

Still Bisexual

Stonewall Columbus, Inc

Sussex Pride

Tennessee Equality Project

Texas Freedom Network

Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry

The California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network

The Center for Sexuality & Gender Diversity

The Center on Colfax, Denver

The Center Project

The Diversity Center of Santa Cruz County

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

The LGBT Center, NYC

The LGBTQ Center (South Bend, IN)

The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert

The LOFT LGBTQ+ Community Center

The Parents' Place of MD

The Pride Center at Equality Park

The San Diego LGBT Community Center

The Source LGBT+ Center

Therapy Center of Philadelphia

Trans Advocacy Madison

Trans Maryland

Trans Resistance Action Committee

Transformation Project

Transformation Project Advocacy Network

Transgender Awareness Alliance

Transinclusive Group

TransOhio

TransSOCIAL, Inc.

Triangle Community Center

Tzedek Georgia

U.D.T.J.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Oakcliff

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hidalgo County Texas

University Church

Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance (UGLA)

Veterans and Military Alliance

Washington County Gay Straight Alliance, Inc.

Waves Ahead Corp

We Are Family

Westside Unitarian Universalist Church

William Way LGBT Community Center

Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Wisconsin Public Education Network

Wyoming Equality

Youth Outlook

Youth OUTright WNC Inc

Youth Pride, Inc.

YouthSeen

Freedom Oklahoma is the state's only dedicated 2SLGBTQ+ advocacy organization, and works each day to build a future where all 2SLGBTQ+ people have the safety to thrive. You can learn more about Freedom Oklahoma at https://www.freedomoklahoma.org/.

GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.

GLSEN is a multi-racial intergenerational LGBTQ+ organization working nationally and locally to transform K-12 educational systems in the United States. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators via action at the national, state, and local level. Since 1990, GLSEN has improved conditions for LGBTQ+ students across the United States and helped launch a national movement to address LGBTQ+ issues in education.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Wednesday, 28 February 2024 20:29

EOMC announces March Prime Timers Event

 

Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center in Poteau is pleased to announce their next EOMC Prime Timers gathering will take on Thursday, March 14 at 2:00pm.


Mayor Scotty White will be the special guest calling BINGO.


Great prizes and an afternoon of fun and fellowship!! 


There is no charge for this event.


This is a great chance for the senior population to socialize, exercise mental abilities and build some new friendships.


EOMC is located at 105 Wall Street in Poteau

Cruises and international trips on the rise; Florida tops list of domestic destinations

OKLAHOMA CITY - If there’s one place that defines Spring Break, it’s Florida! AAA Travel booking data shows the Sunshine State tops the list of Spring Break destinations this year. Atlantic and Gulf Coast beaches, family-friendly attractions, and cruise ports make Florida a logical choice for travelers seeking fun in the sun.

Spring Break_in sand.png“Many Spring Break travelers are heading to the Sunshine State, with Orlando topping the list this year,” said Rylie Fletcher, spokesperson for AAA Oklahoma. “Cruise vacations are also quite popular among those traveling for Spring Break, as college students and families, alike seek out sun and fun, and an escape from the winter blahs.”  

Cruising is off to a splashy start in 2024 with sold-out ships and inaugural sailings, and that strong demand is evident in Spring Break bookings. AAA Travel data shows a 28% increase in cruise bookings for March and April compared to last year, and a 60% percent increase for cruises departing from South Florida.

Good to Know: More travelers are booking cruises farther in advance, which is one of AAA Travel’s cruising trends this year. Many Spring Break cruises have been sold-out for months. Last-minute bookings are possible, but prices may be higher and cabin choices limited. If you miss the boat for Spring Break, AAA Travel suggests booking a summer cruise now before they sell out, especially if you’re eyeing popular destinations like Alaska.

AAA Trip Canvas Tips: For families traveling with teens, check out the best cruise lines for teenagers.

International Spring Break trips are also on the rise compared to last year. AAA data for March and April shows international flight bookings are up 20% and hotel bookings are up 37%.  European cities top the list of most popular destinations: London, Paris, Rome, Dublin, and Amsterdam.

“We are also seeing an increase in AAA members booking tours for their international Spring Break vacations,” said Fletcher. “Guided tours provide travelers with convenience, expertise, and peace of mind.” 

Good to Know: Planning ahead is key when traveling internationally, and that includes reserving airport parking well in advance. For peace of mind during your trip, The Parking Spot provides a well-lit, fenced-in parking area with 24-hour staff on premises. As a bonus, select locations offer EV charging and car washes, so you return home to a clean car! The earlier you reserve at The Parking Spot, the more you save, and AAA members receive a discount. 

If you plan to drive at your destination, don’t forget to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before your trip. An IDP is a document that translate a valid U.S. driver’s license into several different languages. Most countries highly recommend an IDP and several countries require it. AAA is the only entity in the U.S. authorized by the State Department to issue an IDP.

AAA Trip Canvas Tips: For travelers who want to visit popular European cities but can’t decide on which one, check out these tours that cover multiple destinations.

Browse more cruises and find travel inspiration on Trip Canvas, AAA’s free travel-planning tool.

About AAA:
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to more than 64 million members nationwide and more than 400,000 members in Oklahoma.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  AAA is a non-stock, membership corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can map a route, find local gas prices and electric vehicle charging stations, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information on joining or renewing a Membership, visit www.AAA.com.

Washington D.C. - The Smithsonian Museum of American History proudly presented its latest exhibit, 'Miss America, 1921: How It All Began.' This exhibit takes visitors on a journey back in time to the year that marked the birth of the iconic Miss America pageant.

The exhibit was organized  in part by Valerie Crooker Clemens, Miss Maine 1980, who in 2019 sought a way to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Miss America. Clemens donated items from her personal Miss America collection to the Smithsonian Museum to be showcased in the exhibit.

“I sincerely respect each Miss America and their place in our collective history.  This is a movement to have all Miss Americas and the Miss America Opportunity featured in the Smithsonian’s Miss America Collection,” says Valerie Crooker Clemens.

Former Miss Americas, the CEO of Miss America, Robin Fleming, and the reigning Miss America, Madison Marsh, were among the esteemed guests who attended the opening of the exhibit, celebrating the rich history and enduring legacy of the Miss America pageant.

Amy Argetsinger, Washington Post journalist, and author of There She Was: The Secret History of Miss America, presented a lecture exploring the triumphs and historical significance of Miss America and shared the inspiring stories of the women who represented the organization over decades of social change.

Following the lecture, attendees were given the opportunity to view artifacts from the National Museum of American History’s ‘Miss America, 1921: How It All Began’ exhibit, hear from curators Ryan Lintelman and Jane Rogers about collecting the objects, and meet former Miss America titleholders, who shared anecdotes about the items they donated for viewing at the exhibit.

Pictured L to R: Nicole Johnson (1999), Nina Davuluri (2014), Heather Whitestone (1995), Madison Marsh (2024), BeBe Shopp (1948), Dolly Fox representing her mother Yolande Betbeze (1951), Angela Perez Baraquio (2001)

With five former Miss Americas in attendance, BeBe Shopp (1948), Heather Whitestone (1995), Nicole Johnson (1999), Angela Perez Baraquio (2001), and Nina Davuluri (2014) the opening of the 'Miss America, 1921: How It All Began' exhibit was a momentous occasion. These remarkable women, who have left an indelible mark on the Miss America legacy, served as a testament to the enduring impact of the pageant. 

 

For more information about Miss America Madison Marsh and her future appearances, please visit MissAmerica.org

About Miss America:Miss America is the nation's premier empowerment platform for young women, advancing their personal and professional goals while advocating serving as a positive role model in their communities. With a rich history dating back to 1921, Miss America’s mission is “Empowering women to Lead” engaging thousands of young women as local and state brand ambassadors, ages 14-28, nationwide each year committed to community service initiatives. The program is the largest provider of women’s scholarships in America, distributed through the Miss America’s Scholarship Foundation Inc., a 501(c)(3).

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Jo Anna Dossett, D-Tulsa, won approval Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee for her legislation to better prepare individuals stepping into the role of guardian of an individual with dementia. Senate Bill 1751 would require training specific to dementia, including understanding the disease, communication techniques, and information about resources for caregivers.

Dossett said the legislation was requested by the Alzheimer’s Association to better prepare caregivers, such as guardians, and help reduce caregiver stress and depressive symptoms.

“It’s projected that from 2020 to 2025, we’re going to see an increase of 13.4 percent in Oklahomans with Alzheimer’s, which is the most common of about 100 types of dementia. These are illnesses that can take an unbelievably heavy toll on caregivers, and that includes guardians,” Dossett said. “Helping those guardians better understand the disease’s unique challenges, how to better communicate with someone with a dementia diagnosis, and where to turn for support is vital. That’s what my legislation will do.”

Dossett said the training would be provided at no cost through the Alzheimer’s Association and would cover all topics specified in the bill in about an hour. Training would be available online and would provide those completing the training with a certificate of completion.

SB 1751 now moves to the full Senate for a vote.

A Report from the Foundation for Social Connection Empowers Students and Educators to Address Loneliness Epidemic and Mental Health Crisis Amongst the Loneliest Generation

Washington, D.C. – This week marks the second annual Student Mental Health Week hosted by Chegg, with a critical focus on addressing the alarming levels of loneliness among students. Nationally, 79% of Gen Z says they experience loneliness, and 1 in 4 individuals aged 15-18 report feeling fairly or very lonely globally. To address this crisis, the Foundation for Social Connection has developed evidence-based strategies to address social disconnection among students.

Studies reveal that young adults are almost twice as likely to report experiencing loneliness compared to older adults. The effects of loneliness can be devastating to the physical and mental health of young people. In fact, 63% of young adults experiencing loneliness also report significant symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Jillian Racoosin Kornmeier, MPH, Executive Director of the Foundation for Social Connection says, “Despite being such a digitally connected generation, many youth and young adults struggle with experiences of loneliness, which has a profound impact on their mental health. The Foundation is proud to offer this report as a resource that will help connect our youth and ensure they lead healthy lives.”

The Foundation for Social Connection and its Scientific Advisory Council released their SOCIAL Framework: Education Sector research report to explore the repercussions of social isolation and loneliness on both students and educators. It puts forth evidence-based strategies aimed at nurturing social connections within the education sector. Acknowledging the diverse stakeholders involved, the report empowers students, teachers, administrators, policymakers, and others to take proactive measures and implement effective solutions to reduce loneliness and counteract the negative consequences associated with these experiences.

Some strategies within the report include:

  • Creating advisory and mentoring programs
  • Offering trauma-informed instruction
  • Increasing access Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Integrating mindfulness and peer-learning opportunities into curricula
Saturday, 24 February 2024 10:03

EOMC Menu for 02/25/2024-03/02/2024

 

Eastern Oklahoma Medical Centers Cafeteria Menu 


Sunday, February 25- Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Veggies, Rolls.


Monday, February 26- Homemade Lasagna, Mixed Veggies, Garlic Bread, Tomato Basil Soup.


Tuesday, February 27- Grilled Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Rolls, Chicken Tortilla Soup.


Wednesday, February 28- Brisket, Pinto Beans, Coleslaw, Hushpuppies.


Thursday, February 29- Chicken Fajitas, Rice Refried Beans, Loaded Potato Soup.


Friday, March 1- Chili Dogs, Burritos, Fries, Nacho Cheese, Red Pepper Gouda Soup.


Saturday, March 2- Grill and Salad Bar Only.

Oklahoma City Museum of Art announces programming for its spring fundraiser

OKLAHOMA CITY (February 20, 2024) - The Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA) is proud to announce the return of its highly anticipated springtime extravaganza, Art in Bloom, the weekend of April 12-14. This can't-miss festival of flowers will showcase the work of 10 local floral designers who will transform the Museum's spaces with breathtaking masterpieces inspired by permanent collection pieces and the current special exhibition. Museumgoers can experience the Museum in full bloom beginning 10 a.m. Friday through 5 p.m. on Sunday.  

Back by popular demand for its second year is Bubbles & Blooms, taking place on Friday, April 12, from 7 to 10 p.m. This exclusive 21+ event will unfold on the Roof Terrace, offering guests a sophisticated evening of floral-infused cocktails courtesy of WanderFolk Spirits. Tickets for this exquisite affair are now available for purchase.  

Also returning this year is the unique chance for visitors to witness the magic come to life as the florists install their floral designs during Art After 5 on Thursday, April 11, from 5 to 8 p.m.  

Access to Art in Bloom is included in all additional programming and event admission tickets. The complete schedule of programming taking place throughout the weekend can be found below and online at OKCMOA.com. 

Programming and Events 

Hours & Admission

Friday, April 12 | 10 am-5 pm  

Saturday, April 13 | 10 am-5 pm  

Sunday, April 14 | Noon-5 pm  

OKCMOA Members: $5.00  

Adults: $21.95  

Seniors: $19.95   

College: $19.95  

Military: $14.95  

FREE for children (17 & under)  

Thursday, April 11 

Floral Sculpture Installation  

3-8 pm | Galleries  

Included with Museum admission; FREE for Members 

Join us as our featured florists install their sculptures in the galleries ahead of our weekend of floral-inspired festivities. 

 

Friday, April 12 

Live music provided by Shaun Suttle  

10 am-2 pm | Museum Lobby  

Bubbles & Blooms  

7-10 pm | Roof Terrace  

$75 for Members | $100 for non-Members  

Be some of the first to view our Art in Bloom sculptures at this 21+ cocktail party fundraiser. Featuring floral-inspired cocktails, light bites, live entertainment, access to the Art in Bloom galleries, and skyline views on our Roof Terrace.  

Saturday, April 13 

Members-Only Hour  

9-10 am | Galleries 

$5 for Members  

For a more exclusive experience, Members are invited to attend Art in Bloom during this Members-Only Hour before the Museum opens to the public. 

Drop-In Art: Georgia O’Keeffe-Inspired Clay Bowls 

11 am-4 pm | Museum Lobby  

Participate in this special come-and-go art-making activity during Art in Bloom, inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe! 

Gin & Georgia: A Moderns Mingle  

11 am-1 pm | Mezzanine Private Dining Room  

$10 for Moderns Members 

Exclusively for Moderns members, enhance your Art in Bloom experience with a floral photo op, a specialty cocktail or mocktail inspired by the exhibition Magnificent Beauty: Georgia O’Keeffe and the Art of the Flower, and the chance to mingle with fellow Moderns members. 

Live Artist Demonstration Provided by Jasmine Jones 

Noon-1 pm | Museum Lobby  

Printmaking with Nature Workshop  

1-3 pm | Studio Classrooms  

$35 Members; $50 non-Members 

Explore the world of printmaking with artist Erin Latham, PhD. Using materials from nature and traditional printmaking processes, participants will learn to create original works of art. 

Sunday, April 14 

Cut-Flower Gardens Lecture by Dee Nash  

11 am-Noon | Noble Theater  

$20 Members; $35 non-Members   

Want more local flowers? Podcaster, author, and garden coach, Dee Nash, will teach you how to grow the best and easiest cut flowers and fillers from your own garden. 

Floral Pop-Up Market  

Noon–3 pm | Museum Lobby  

After your stroll through the galleries, pick out your own floral takeaway bouquet from our featured florists. 

O’Keeffe-Inspired Calla Lily Paintings Workshop  

1-3 pm | Studio Classrooms  

$35 Members; $50 non-Members  

Explore O’Keeffe’s iconic floral compositions, then use vibrant colors and intricate details to create your own calla lily painting during this guided workshop led by teaching artist Jackie Nelson. 

Blooms & You: A Floral Tea Blending Workshop with Latasha Timberlake  

3-4:30 pm | Mezzanine Private Dining Room  

$35 Members; $50 non-Members  

Delve into the world of botanical infusions, discovering the secrets of crafting exquisite floral tea blends that tantalize the taste buds and soothe the soul. Make your own custom loose leaf tea blend by combining flowers, fruits, leaves, and spices. 

Art in Bloom’s participating florists this year are A Date With Iris, Anthousai, Curbside Flowers, Forever Borrowed, Madeline’s Flower Shop, Okie Floral Co., Poppy’s Garden Floral Design & Events, The Flower Truck, Trochta’s Flowers and Garden Center, and Wineglass Floral & Design. Art in Bloom was established in 2019 and is OKCMOA’s kickoff to spring. For more information or to buy tickets visit the website at okcmoa.com.

Sponsorship opportunities will remain available for a limited time. For more information, please contact Development Officer CC Phenix at cphenix@okcmoa.com 

Art in Bloom will feature the work of ten local floral designers and a variety of programming.

 

About the Oklahoma City Museum of Art

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is one of the leading arts institutions in the region. The Museum presents a dynamic range of exhibitions organized from prestigious museums and collections throughout the world. The Museum’s own diverse collection features highlights from North America, Europe and Asia, with particular strengths in American art and postwar abstraction. The permanent collection also boasts one of the world’s largest public collections of Dale Chihuly glass, a major collection of photography by Brett Weston and the definitive museum collection of works by the Washington Color painter Paul Reed. The Museum’s renowned Samuel Roberts Noble Theater screens the finest international, independent, documentary and classic films. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors. The Museum serves over 125,000 visitors annually from all fifty states and thirty foreign countries.

 

FEBRUARY 20, 2024 ­— The U.S. Census Bureau today released a brief highlighting the latest available statistics on commuting behavior in the United States and Puerto Rico from the 2022 American Community Survey (ACS). The brief, Commuting in the United States: 2022, explores recent commuting trends using estimates from the 2022 ACS, 1-year dataset, with comparisons to 2019 and 2021. The analysis shows changes in the way people travel to work since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic along with several key commuting characteristics, including means of transportation to work, travel time to work, and time of departure from home to go to work.

Highlights:

  • Almost 140 million people in the United States routinely commuted to work in 2022, and more than 20 million worked from home.
  • Among U.S. workers, 15.2% worked from home in 2022, down from almost 17.9% in 2021 but still far higher than the 5.7% that worked from home before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019. Among workers in Puerto Rico, 5.9% worked from home in 2022, down from 7.4% in 2021 but more than twice the 2019 share of 2.4%.
  • The share of U.S. workers driving alone to work was 68.7% in 2022, about 7 percentage points less than the 75.9% in 2019. In Puerto Rico, 82.7% of workers drove alone to their place of work in 2022, compared to 84.3% in 2019, a decline of less than 2 percentage points.
  • Public transportation commuting in the United States remained well below the 2019 share of 5.0% of workers at 3.1% in 2022. This represented an increase from the 2.5% of workers commuting by public transportation in 2021. In Puerto Rico, less than 1% of workers commuted by public transportation in 2021 and 2022, compared to 1.2% in 2019.
  • In each of seven U.S. metropolitan areas with the most public transportation commuters, more workers commuted by public transportation in 2022 compared to 2021. However, public transportation commuting did not rebound to 2019 levels in any of these seven metro areas. In the New York metro, there were roughly 700,000 fewer transit commuters in 2022 than in 2019.
  • Average one-way commuting time among those who traveled to a workplace increased by almost 1 minute from 25.6 minutes in 2021 to 26.4 minutes in 2022, still well short of its historic high of 27.6 minutes in 2019.
  • With more than 20 million people working from home in 2022, about 9 million fewer commuters departed their homes for the workplace during the core commuting hours of 6 a.m. to 8:59 a.m. in 2022 than in 2019.

The American Community Survey provides a wide range of statistics about the nation’s people and housing, such as language spoken at home, education, commuting, employment, mortgage status and rent, income, poverty, and health insurance coverage. It is the only source of local estimates for most of the 40-plus topics it covers.

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