March 17, 2015

Oklahoma Watch Forum to Focus on Low-Income Neighborhoods

Print More
South Oklahoma City is plagued by vacant or abandoned homes.

Nate Robson/Oklahoma Watch

South Oklahoma City is plagued by vacant or abandoned homes.

Oklahoma Watch, OU’s Gaylord College Present “Talk With Us” Forum to Discuss Challenges Facing South Oklahoma City Residents April 16
Event is part of the “Talk With Us: Poverty in Oklahoma City Neighborhoods” project

OKLAHOMA CITY – Nonprofit news organization Oklahoma Watch and the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication will present a public forum on April 16 about challenges in low-income neighborhoods in south Oklahoma City.

The Q&A forum with local leaders will focus on the needs and concerns of south Oklahoma City communities and is tied to a soon-to-be-released mobile-video news project, “Talk With Us: Poverty in Oklahoma City Neighborhoods.”

The forum, open to the public, will be held from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, at the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church gymnasium, 123 S.W. 25th St., Oklahoma City.

Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP to events@oklahomawatch.org and come with questions.

Oklahoma Watch Executive Editor David Fritze will moderate a discussion with civic and community leaders about issues they see and deal with in south Oklahoma City. The panelists include:

Meg SalyerOklahoma City Councilwoman Meg Salyer: Salyer took office as the Ward 6 council member in November 2008 and was re-elected to a third term in March. She is a member of the Council Finance Committee, Council Economic Development Committee and Council Social Services Committee. She also serves as a member of the Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Greater Oklahoma City Sports Consortium. She is on the board of the Oklahoma School of Science and Math Foundation, the Kirkpatrick Foundation and the Civic Center Foundation. Before taking office, Salyer served on the Citizens Committee for Community Development for 10 years and as a member of the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust. Salyer is president of Accel Financial Staffing, which provides contract, contract-to-hire and direct placement of employees specializing in accounting and finance careers.

Gloria Torres

Gloria Torres

Oklahoma City Public Schools Board Member Gloria Torres: Torres has served in the educational profession for 25 years. Beginning her career in 1989 with Oklahoma City Public Schools, Gloria served in several capacities, from teacher assistant to principal. She was appointed to the board as the District 6 representative in August 2014. She currently serves as the coordinator of the Oklahoma City Community College Capitol Hill Center and is a board member of the Community Action Agency, Historic Capitol Hill Business Council, Oklahoma City Habitat for Humanity-Family Selection Committee and American Red Cross-Hispanic Advisory Council.

Michael Brooks-JimenezAttorney Michael Brooks-Jimenez: Brooks-Jimenez is president and managing attorney of Michael Brooks-Jimenez, P.C., firm specializing in immigration law, criminal defense, workers’ compensation and personal injury. His legal services team focuses on defending the rights of Hispanics. Brooks-Jimenez previously served as president of the Latino Community Development Agency for five years. Other memberships include the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Oklahoma City.

The “Talk With Us” mobile-video project, made possible by a grant from the Online News Association Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, features virtual conversations between low-income residents and public leaders about issues facing some of the city’s struggling areas.

OU students and Oklahoma Watch captured short videos using mobile devices in northeast, south and west Oklahoma City, asking residents to describe pressing concerns in their neighborhoods and lives. The videos were then shown to government officials or community leaders, and their responses were videotaped.

  • Interesting… You may find a documentary film about the Oklahoma City sit-in movement titled “Children of the Civil Rights” offers some perspectives. It deals with the longest peaceful civil rights protest in the history of the United States – – from 1958 ’til passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 – – here in Oklahoma City. The story is largely unknown to today’s young people and is nott part of the current social studies or Oklahoma history curriculum. However, lessons in bringing people together in support of change that are presented in this phase of our City’s history may have real applications today – – how do we respond in a positive way as a community to foster a social, economic, cultural, religious and political coming together by and on behalf of our underheard.