By Nathaniel Batchelder
Special to The City Sentinel
Oklahoma City University students, with students from other local universities, staged a demonstration and march for peace, human rights and social justice on Saturday.
The event began at 11 am on OCU’s campus quadrangle, where a public address system and tables of aligned justice groups greeted students and others attending the event.
Speakers at the rally were students from OCU and Oklahoma City Community College. Kenneth Meador, a three-tour Iraq veteran, made an impassioned appeal to end the US wars in the Middle East and bring the troops home.
Jorge Krzyzaniak spoke for labor unions and collective bargaining rights. He said he came from a working class family, and appreciated hard work for fair wages. He said that attacks on labor unions are incited by wealthy people who do not realize the importance of fair wages.
Judith Huerta spoke for Hispanic and Latino rights, now under attack in Oklahoma by anti-immigration legislation that targets all Latino people, who may be required to submit identification to police even if they are third generation American citizens.
Stephen Glasco spoke for gay rights, and for an end to bullying which causes young gay people so much stress. “Even in elementary school, I was called faggot, queer, homo, and worse, simply because of who I am.” Glasco said he did not choose to be gay, but only became aware of it, just as straight youths become aware of their heterosexuality.
Closing the speakers was Anabel Munoz, who expressed the students’ hopes for the future. She said, “It’s up to all of us to keep this spirit alive.” She said everyone should call an elected official during the week, to communicate concern about one of the issues mentioned at the rally.
Attendees then followed leaders on a public march, carrying signs made before the rally. Marchers proceeded east along NW 23 Street to Classen Blvd, where the march turned north. It proceeded to NW 27 Street, where it turned back west toward the campus rally site. March leaders Nathan Dunn and Judith Huerta both said that drivers seeing the march honked their enthusiastic support for the march theme of peace and human rights.
Back at the rally site, walkers milled around the tables, speaking with each other about the issues, and about the significance of their public event and public march. Courtney Cagle shared reflections in a closing statement to the crowd. She said this was a significant event for her, as she had not always known the political view of the speakers, even though she had known them a long time. She said, “Let’s do this again before the memory fades; for sure we’ll do it again next year.”