By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma City’s Human Community Network (HCN) will meet on Saturday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to explore and develop the “Coalition of the Underheard – Preparing the Way for 2020.”
Participants will discuss how citizens can work together to “create systemic change for a flourishing human community through education, innovation, and action,” organizers say.
The event will be held at the Walker Center for Arts and Science, Room 151, on the Oklahoma City University campus, at NW 23rd and Blackwelder.
HCN has proposed a nonpartisan civics package to address the challenges Oklahoma through use of the Initiative Petition process. The initiative enables citizens to bypass their state legislature by placing proposed statutes and, in some states, constitutional amendments on the ballot.
Organizers state that “key to the success of this strategy is an informed public and the collaboration of a statewide mufti-organizational network.”
“Because there are no Statewide Elections scheduled for Oklahoma in 2019, there will not be a chance to propose any Initiative Petitions for a Statewide Vote until 2020,” stated Bill Parker, founder and coordinator of the Permanent Collegium at the Human Community Network. “This leaves 2019 open to strengthen statewide inter-organizational networks and increase public information platforms more effectively.”
HCN has scheduled meetings to increase public information access for one Saturday a month for the next four months.
“While each issue being explored stands on its own, all of these issues are somewhat inter-related,” Parker said. “The idea is to use a Saturday in March, April, May and June to better inform the Oklahoma voting public on specific issues facing our State and video these events for structured Statewide distribution.
“This process will be linked to a survey of voter priority issues during the fall of 2019 to provide a mobilization guide to the 2020 Initiative Petition priorities of Oklahoma voters,” Parker added.
The first Saturday program will be divided into two segments. A panel discussion will be held from 10 a.m. to noon regarding “Oklahoma’s Current Budgetary and Tax Condition.” Panelists include moderator Craig Knutson, president and CEO, Potts Family Foundation and chair of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits; David Blatt, executive director, Oklahoma Policy Institute; and Julie J. Knutson, president and CEO, Oklahoma Academy for State Goals.
The program will look at “Aligning Oklahoma’s Tax Code with Our 21st Century Economy” focusing on three priorities: 1) Repeal or Modify State Question 640, 2) Carefully Tax a Growing Service-based Economy, and 3) “Municipally-minded Tax Reform”
There will be a lunch break from noon to 1:30 p.m.
From 1:30 – 4 p.m., there will be a discussion about “Ranked Choice Voting.” Speakers will include HCN member Mark Davies, Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University and Cindy Alexander, president of Indivisible Stillwater.
“The challenges Oklahoma faces as a State are not unique,” Parker stated, “How we deal with them has to be.”
The event is free and open to the public.
HCN grew out of a series of symposia on issues related to peace, poverty, and planet earth that were cosponsored by Oklahoma City University and the Institute of Cultural Affairs USA.
According to advocates, the purpose of the Human Community Network is to “transform the images, thinking, and actions of society toward a more balanced and sustainable social process that functions for the benefit of all people and the wellbeing of the world.”
For more information about HCN, visit humancommunitynetwork.org.