OKC Human Rights Commission Returns

by | Jan 23, 2023

As we enter a new year there is always a renewed sense of strategy and vision. At AFF, we’re grateful for the folks doing the very important work to ensure everyone in Oklahoma City can live a life free from discrimination. One of those groups is the Communities for Human Rights, more specifically its team leaders Maurianna Adams, MPA and Dr. Andrea Benjamin. 

Communities for Human Rights, the Arnall Family Foundation, and Communities Foundation of Oklahoma celebrate the reinstatement of the Human Rights Commission in Oklahoma City. In 2020, the Arnall Family Foundation provided funding to Communities for Human Rights to research the status of Human Rights in Oklahoma City. Communities Foundation of Oklahoma served as the project’s fiscal sponsor.   

The purpose and intent of the human rights study was to establish a baseline for the status of human rights in the city of Oklahoma City (OKC); to provide a useful indicator for data-informed decision making; and to support a localized human rights framework that would monitor and document human rights issues including but not limited to racial discrimination. 1004 residents completed surveys and 40 community members participated in six focus groups. 

The findings and outcomes from this community-based research project on the status of human rights in OKC included:


  • 4 out of 5 respondents believed harassment or discrimination was a problem in OKC. 
  • More than 1 in 3 respondents believed that human rights were poorly or not protected at all. 
  • A majority of respondents supported human rights and civic education, as well as additional protections of human rights and liberties, across race, political affiliation, etc. 
  • Self-reported discrimination or harassment victimization was highest among Black, Hispanic and LGBTQ+ respondents, and most commonly occurring at work or in public.

On July 19, 2022 with a 5-4 vote, the Oklahoma City City Council voted to reinstate the Human Rights Commission.  The new Human Rights Commission will convene in January of 2023.

“This report asked important questions and helped us gain better understanding on the state of human rights in OKC. We hope that this important work, which has already led to data-informed decision making, will continue to help bring human rights to the forefront of OKC’s collective consciousness. We’re proud to support the work this group has done to move this forward and create a place where all people can lead happy and healthy lives free of discrimination.”

–Sue Ann Arnall

Once the agenda for the upcoming January meeting is shared–it can be found on https://okc.primegov.com/public/portal