By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter –
This story first appeared online on Nov. 18, 2020.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Earlier this month, Tamya Cox-Touré was named the next Executive Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma taking the organization into a new era of leadership.
ACLU-OK announced last February that after more than eight years at the helm, former Executive Director Ryan Kiesel would be stepping down from leading the organization. t
Kiesel’s final day, initially announced as the end of the 2020 Legislative Session, was extended to the beginning of October, after the country was hit with the COVID global pandemic. The additional time allowed the ACLU of Oklahoma Board of Directors to complete an extensive search to fill the Executive Director role.
“Tamya’s proven leadership in our community and at the Capitol coupled with her tenacity for equity and justice makes her the perfect fit as our next Executive Director,” said Sarah Adams-Cornell, Board President for the ACLU of Oklahoma.
“We are incredibly lucky to have her leading the ACLU of Oklahoma and I’m looking forward to the coalition building she will bring to our affiliate.”
Cox-Touré served as the first Legislative Counsel for the ACLU of Oklahoma. She graduated with an undergrad degree from Oklahoma State University and went on to continue her education at Oklahoma City University School of Law.
Prior to joining the ACLU of Oklahoma, Tamya worked for Planned Parenthood Great Plains where she served as Regional Director of Public Policy and Organizing, overseeing the Public Affairs departments in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Cox-Touré is committed to civil rights and civil liberties, says Sarah. She has traveled across the state and country speaking directly to communities on issues that impact their daily lives, as well as presenting on numerous panels covering a variety of topics, including race equity, according to the organization’s press release.
“I am honored to be the next leader of the ACLU of Oklahoma,” Tamya said. “In a way, it feels like I’m coming home. The legacies of past executive directors and the hard work of the staff are testaments to the significant impact this organization makes in the community.
“I hope to build off those successes, knowing the importance of the ACLU of Oklahoma is now more evident than ever,” Cox-Touré continued. “We must reform our criminal legal system, provide barrier-free abortion access, hold law enforcement accountable, protect our LGBTQ2S+ community and prevent government overreach at all costs.
“The ACLU will continue to be on the front line ensuring all Oklahomans have access to the rights afforded to them by the US and Oklahoma Constitutions,” she added.
Tamya is married to Jabari Touré, son of Opio Touré, the former Oklahoma legislator, attorney and civil rights legend. In 2002, Opio was the recipient of ACLU of Oklahoma’s prestigious Angie Debo Award, named after the Oklahoma historian and civil rights activist.
Tamya’s first day with the ACLU of Oklahoma will be November 23. For more information about the ACLU of Oklahoma, visit acluok.org.