OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has announced the election of its 2017-2018 board officers. Rev. Don Heath will become the organization’s chair after holding office as vice chair for two years.
Heath has served as pastor of Edmond Trinity Christian Church since 2007. He received his Masters of Divinity degree with high honors (summa cum laude) from Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa. He represents the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma.
Heath is also an attorney, practicing law with the firm of Hirsch, Heath & White, PLLC in Oklahoma City. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma School of Law in 1982.
“I am concerned that this will be a trying year for the condemned and for abolitionists,” Heath said. “Fifteen people have exhausted their appeals and will be ready to have execution dates scheduled when the moratorium is lifted. We could be Arkansas Times Three.
“This killing is justice only if you define justice as vengeance. Retributive violence by the state diminishes all of us,” Heath continued. “The Coalition will be redoubling its efforts this year to reach out in new ways to new groups of people to raise their voices in protest to this killing. We want to expand our coalition to include more African-American churches, young people, evangelicals and any other people of good will who want to build a non-violent Oklahoma.”
Elected as OK-CADP vice chair is Elizabeth Overman, a Political Science professor at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Other 2017-2018 officers include secretary, Victor Gorin, longtime equal rights activist, and member of the Brennan Society and Amnesty International’s Oklahoma City chapter. Mary E. Sine, an educator at Oklahoma City Public Schools, will continue her service this year as co-treasurer along with Sisca Friend, the board’s organizational representative of the Oklahoma City Religious Society of Friends (aka Quakers).
“As former chair, I feel confident that Don Heath will be a refreshing spiritual, legal and compassionate leadership voice at a time when we must continue to seek to expand the level of education and awareness about abolishing the death penalty in Oklahoma,” said Connie Johnson, OK-CADP chair 2015-2017.
“Dr. Liz Overman’s academic background as vice chair, Victor Gorin’s exceptional skills and attention to detail as secretary, and Mary E. Sine’s and Sisca Friend’s considerable experience as co-treasurers will comprise an executive team that will ensure the Coalition’s future progress. “Sincere, heartfelt congratulations to each new officer, board member and the entire Coalition as we continue to embark upon new paths and perspectives in our quest to abolish the death penalty once and for all in Oklahoma,” Johnson added.
At the group’s recent annual dinner seven At-Large board members were elected: Milton Combs, Margaret Cox, Connie Johnson, Elizabeth Overman, Rev. Theodis Manning, Dr. Gilbert Parks and Katie Samples.
OK-CADP has recently added a new Norman chapter to its roster, led by co-chairs Vicki Walden and Lanaya Kimbrough. More information about this exciting new abolitionist branch will soon be available on the OK-CADP website.
OK-CADP is a grassroots membership organization that engages in outreach, education through its Speakers Bureau and advocacy aimed at raising awareness of issues related to the death penalty.
For more information, visit okcadp.org.