By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
This year Sally’s List annual luncheon will feature guest speaker activist Sandra Fluke. The event will be held on Wednesday, November 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Will Rogers Theatre, 4322 N. Western, in Oklahoma City.
Sandra Fluke has devoted her career to public interest advocacy, serving on numerous social justice coalitions, ranging from economic justice to gay rights.
Fluke came to national attention in February 2012, when Congressional Republicans prohibited her from testifying on issues pertaining to women’s health, instead hearing from an all-male panel.
She then testified before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on the importance of private insurance covering contraception for women and addressed the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Fluke attended Cornell University, receiving a BS in Policy Analysis and Management and in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center as a Public Interest Law Scholar with a Certificate in Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies.
Receiving the 2012 National Association of Women Lawyers Award, Fluke was recognized for her extensive pro bono representation of victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, and human rights advocacy in Kenya.
Fluke founded the Program Evaluation Initiative for Sanctuary for Families in New York City, ensuring quality services to victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.
Sally’s List was founded to recruit and train progressive women to run for political office in Oklahoma.
The organization was named after Sally Rae Merkle Mock an attorney, advocate for women’s rights, Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma board member and co-founder of the Oklahoma Committee to Promote Women’s Health. Mock died in February 2009, due to a ruptured brain aneurism.
“Oklahoma is actually the 2nd unhealthiest state in the US for women,” said Sara Jane Rose, Sally’s List Founder and President. “We are first in child abuse deaths, first in incarceration for women, 5th in teen pregnancies and 47th for health coverage for women.”
“I founded Sally’s List in 2010 because while the population of Oklahoma is 51 percent women, the legislature is made of 12.8 percent women,” said Rose. “Studies have shown that when women serve in state legislature, they consistently author legislation that benefits women and children.”
Marilyn Rainwater, a candidate for House District 28 said, “If I were to encourage a woman to run for office, I would say ‘we need you now more than ever before in our state legislature.’ With pending legislature that is so detrimental to the well being of children and women – we need women’s voices to speak out for us.”
Kay Floyd, House Representative District 87 said, “Women are so underrepresented in state, municipal and local governments in Oklahoma. We have such a low participation rate of women that it’s a good time to run.”
Oklahoma is ranked 49th in the nation for females serving in elected office, with only 11 percent of Oklahoma’s state legislators represented by women.
“I love Oklahoma and I want young women who grow up here to know that it’s the kind of place where they can live safely, where their rights are respected, and if they settle here, that they will someday see a legislature that reflects their needs and desires and their proportion of the population,” said Rose.
Luncheon sponsorships levels include: Pioneer $5000 (Lunch table for 10, 10 reception tickets); Trailblazer $2500 (Lunch table for 10, 5 reception tickets); Sojourner $1000 (Lunch for 4, 4 reception tickets); Champion $500 (Lunch for 2, 2 reception tickets); ad Supporter $250 (Lunch for 2). Individual luncheon tickets are $40.
Rose said, “Sally’s List invited Sandra Fluke to speak at our annual luncheon because she is the paradigm of standing up for one’s beliefs despite strong public scrutiny.
“When we ask women to run for elected office, we are also asking them stand up for their beliefs, no matter what the response. Our hope is that Sandra will inspire Oklahoma women to fight for their rights and those of the women they represent, even in the face of such adversity.”
For more information contact Cassi Peters at [email protected] or visit www.sallyslist.com.