Black History Month: Law School Events

February 1 marked the beginning of Black History Month in the United States. The theme for 2015 is “A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture” (http://asalh100.org/black-history-themes/2015-theme/). The Oklahoma City University School of Law’s Black Law Students Association has organized four events during the month that provide opportunities to engage in and learn about African-American culture and history:

  • Friday, February 6, 2015 at 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.: A Scavenger Hunt featuring trivia on historical Black figures. Prizes for participants plus a GRAND PRIZE for the winning team! (#BLACKFRIDAY)
  • Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.: A showing of the film 4 Little Girls, prequel to the new critically-acclaimed film Selma (DOOR PRIZE!) (#ONWARD)
  • Wednesday, February 18, 2015: Taste of Soul food provided by B&B Catering (DOOR PRIZE!) (#THEOVERFLOW)
  • Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.: Let’s Talk About It!, the first of the new discussion series at OCU Law will feature talks about Black history, politics, etc. (DOOR PRIZE!) (#SPEAKONIT)

In addition, the Black Law Students Association is collecting children’s books all month for a Literacy Book Drive (#BOOKITFORWARD). If you’re interested in adult reading material, check out the Law Library’s Black History Month display on the second floor near the general collection on the northeast side of the building. (pictured below)

BHM

“Know Your Rights 101” Public Forum

The Oklahoma City University School of Law and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority hosted a public forum on Saturday,  January 24, 2015 on citizens’ rights during police interactions. The Oklahoman ran a story on the “Know Your Rights 101” forum, stating it was organized “in response to several high-profile incidents in which men have been killed during interactions with police, including the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the choking death of Eric Garner in New York.” (http://newsok.com/oklahoma-city-forum-highlights-citizens-rights-during-interactions-with-police/article/5387641). The article included a statement from Lorenzo Banks, Assistant Director of Admissions and Director of Diversity Initiatives for Oklahoma City University School of Law.

 

MLK Day of Service & Local Events

Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. He is most well known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and for racial equality in the United States. (http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/martin-luther-king-day).

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities. The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. (http://www.nationalservice.gov/special-initiatives/days-service/martin-luther-king-jr-day-service-0).

Looking for a way to celebrate the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Check out the events below!

MLK Celebration Activities for Sunday, January 18, 2015

  • 3:00p MLK Religious Celebration, Saint John Baptist Church, 5700 N Kelley
  • 6:00p NAACP/Jewish Cross Cultural Program at Temple BNAI Israel

MLK Celebration Activities for Monday, January 19, 2015

  • 7:00a Prayer Breakfast/Program at the Reed Center in Midwest City
  • 9:00a Opening Holiday Program-Freedom Center, 2500 N MLK Ave
  • 9:45a Silent March from Freedom Center to OK Historical Building
  • 10:45a National Bell Ringing Salute to Dr. King at The Oklahoma History Center
  • 11:00a Ringing of the Bell—Governor’s Office officiates at The Oklahoma History Center
  • 12:00n Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Program at Saint Paul’s Cathedral
  • 2:00p The Holiday Parade through downtown OKC

By Anna Cantu, Reference Assistant

Moving on Up to Midtown

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Next week, the Oklahoma City University School of Law will move into its new Midtown building at 800 N. Harvey. The Harvey building was originally Oklahoma High School, the first high school in the territory of Oklahoma, built in 1910. (http://centralhighokc.com/history.html). Later renamed Central High School, the building represented hope for the state’s future and was featured in pictures across the nation to draw people to Oklahoma.

Owned by several companies since 1981, our move will see the building return to its original purpose as a hearth for education. The entire interior of the building has been renovated and adapted for the needs of a law school, with the goal of connecting to the Oklahoma City legal community while preserving the building’s past. The historic proscenium arch has been retained, but painted blue to symbolize the law school’s unity with the past (pictured above). Students will use the J. William Conger Moot Courtroom (pictured below) both for trial practice and to observe real court sessions.

Follow our move on Twitter (@OCULAW) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/oculaw)!

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A Brief History of Veterans Day

Source: http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp

World War I (WWI) one officially ended on June 28, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. However, fighting had actually ceased seven months prior when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect. For that reason many people consider the end of the “war to end all wars” as November 11, 1918.

November 11, 1919 was the first commemoration of Armistice Day, declared by President Woodrow Wilson. The day was celebrated with parades, business meetings, and brief suspension of businesses. In 1926, Congress proposed a concurrent resolution, which would declare November 11, 1918 as the end of WWI. The resolution would also declare November 11 a legal holiday, dedicated to world peace. Congress stated, “it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.” The Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) was approved in 1938, officially creating November 11th as Armistice Day.

Although originally introduced to honor the veterans of WWI, the 83rd Congress requested that the word “Armistice” be replaced with “Veterans” after the catastrophic effects of World War II and the Korean War on American armed forces. The change was approved in 1954, and November 11th thereafter became Veterans Day.

Local Events

Oklahoma City National Veterans Day Run

5K or 1-mile family

Supporter walk

Veterans and Active-duty military discounts

Race will begin on 11-16-2014 at 3:11 PM

Where?

Stars and Stripes Park

3701 South Lake Hefner Drive

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73116

For more information: http://veteransdayrun.org/register/oklahoma-city

 

Veterans Day deals!

Outback Steakhouse

On Tuesday, Outback is honoring all active and retired military personnel with a free Bloomin’ Onion and a beverage. You must show a valid military ID at participating restaurants.

Hooters

Active-duty and retired military are invited to Hooters to dine for free on Tuesday: get a free entree by presenting a military ID or proof of service.

Applebee’s

Service members get a free “Thank You” meal when you dine in at Applebee’s. Guests will need to provide proof of their service.

Cracker Barrel

On Tuesday, veterans get a free Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake dessert. If you’re not a vet and you buy the dessert or other retail items, 10 percent of all proceeds will be donated to the USO.

Denny’s

On Tuesday, active, inactive and retired military personnel can build your own free Grand Slam breakfast from 5 a.m. until noon at participating Denny’s.

Red Lobster

From Monday, Nov. 10 through Thursday, Nov. 13, Red Lobster will be thanking veterans, active duty, active serving military and reservists with a free select appetizer, including the new crispy shrimp lettuce wraps or several other options.

Red Robin

On Tuesday, veterans and active-duty service members can get a free Red’s Tavern Double Burger and Bottomless Fries, dine-in only, by providing a military I.D., proof of service, or wearing your uniform.

Golden Coral

Grill buffet franchise Golden Corral is offering veterans a free beverage and buffet meal on Nov. 17 from 5 to 9 p.m. (Golden Corral always hosts their Military Appreciation Day on a Monday.)

For more great deals and ways to celebrate your Veteran check out: http://www.ktul.com/story/27344064/veterans-day-freebies

By: Molly McClure, Reference Assistant

Native American Heritage Month 2014

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(picture from http://www.uco.edu/student-life/diversity/programsandevents/nativeamericanheritagemonth.asp)

On August 3, 1990, President George H. W. Bush first declared the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month when he signed a bill stating that “the President has authorized and requested to call upon Federal, State and local Governments, groups and organizations and the people of the United States to observe such month with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_Indian_Heritage_Month). It is also commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_Indian_Heritage_Month).

“Federal Agencies are encouraged to provide educational programs for their employees regarding Native American history, rights, culture and contemporary issues, to better assist them in their jobs and for overall awareness.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_Indian_Heritage_Month).

Locally, the Jodi G. Marquette American Indian Wills Clinic at Oklahoma City University School of Law allows law students working under the supervision of a licensed attorney to provide estate planning services to American Indians who own an interest in Indian land in Oklahoma. For more information, visit http://law.okcu.edu/?page_id=13854. This clinic is part of the Native American Legal Resource Center (NALRC), which “provides capacity building services to tribal communities and creates opportunities for students, faculty, staff and the broader University Community to utilize knowledge and resources to serve the needs of Indian Country in a culturally appropriate and efficient manner for a maximum positive impact.” (http://law.okcu.edu/?page_id=621).

Finally, the Law Library has created a display with books on various Native American topics, located in the lobby of Gold Star (pictured below). There are books about the Native American mascot controversy, Native American culture as it is depicted in mainstream American pop culture, as well as other contemporary issues. There are also many books about general Native American history.

Native American Heritage Month 2014

By: Brian King, Reference Assistant, and Sabrina A. Davis, Reference Librarian

Wacky Halloween Laws

October 31st, typically associated with trick-or-treating, candy and costumes, is not considered fun for all in different locations across the United States. What may be a fun tradition for many has resulted in some abnormal laws. Take a look below at some of the Halloween- specific laws implemented across the United States to see if they apply to you!

Are you from Missouri? If you reside in Bellville, Missouri, and are over the age of twelve, you are not permitted to ask for candy in public. The ordinance, implemented in 2008, fines anyone over twelve from $100 to $1,000 for violating the ordinance. (www.upnorthliving.com). The mayor of Bellville pushed for the law because town citizens were becoming frightened when they opened their doors to people over six feet tall in the middle of the night. (www.today.com).

Have you ever considered wearing a mask on Halloween? If you live in Walnut Creek, California, you may want to think again. The small California town has a law that “no person shall wear a mask or disguise on a public street without a permit from the sheriff.” (www.libertynews.com).

Interested in something even more bizarre? In Hollywood, California, it is “illegal to possess, use, sell or distribute silly string in public areas.” (www.smosh.com). After cleaning up silly string year after year, the city implemented the law with a hefty fine of $1,000 for anyone caught violating the law.

Ever considered dressing up as Marie Antoinette? If you live in Merryville, Missouri, where women are banned from wearing corsets, your ideal costume may be off of the table. (www.prisonbreakfreak.com). According to the town, costumes that incorporate corsets are banned because they deny others “the privilege of admiring the curvaceous, unencumbered body.” Id.

Trick-or-treating this Halloween? In 2010, several Oklahoma towns including Oklahoma City, Edmond, Midwest City and Yukon made October 30th the official day for trick-or-treating because October 31st of that year fell on a Sunday. (www.prisonbreakfreak.com). Don’t worry, the “new” Halloween was more of a suggestion than an actual law, implemented to provide a more convenient evening of fun for families that wouldn’t be on a school night.

Happy Halloween!

By: Anna Cantu, Reference Assistant

Information Overload & Emotional Wellness – Part 2

October is Emotional Wellness month. The first step to increasing emotional wellness is to assess your current state. Next, try some of these ideas from http://www.examiner.com/article/october-is-emotional-wellness-month:

  • Be conscious of not jumping to conclusions or assuming the worst.
  • Stay away from unnecessary drama.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Tackle the avoidable stress in your life. Learn time management, relaxation techniques, and eliminate schedule overload.
  • Talk with others, and listen to others.
  • Seek out therapy, books, wellness forums, or support groups that will aid in your specific emotional struggle.
  • Laugh and smile – everyday.

As finals approach, it is crucial to stay positive and work towards total emotional wellness. OCU offers many different resources to help students with their emotional wellness goals, from one on one counseling services, to group meetings, to helping students deal with any problems they are currently facing.

For more information on total wellness support here on campus, check out: http://www.okcu.edu/wellness/#

For help and more information dealing specifically with stress, check out: http://www.okcu.edu/counseling/

By: Brian King, Reference Assistant

Information Overload & Emotional Wellness – Part 1

October 15, 2014 is Information Overload Day, in recognition of a growing problem in the modern world. Information overload occurs when you are trying to deal with more information than you are able to process. The result is either that you delay making decisions, or you make the wrong decisions. (http://www.infogineering.net/understanding-information-overload.htm). This is even more of an issue with law students who are stretched in many directions, such as classes, work, family life, and simply the details of everyday life.

Some common causes of information overload are the ease in accessing the web and the freedom to duplicate information at no cost, which means there is no need to act with discretion when distributing it. (http://www.infogineering.net/understanding-information-overload.htm).

Some suggestions for decreasing information overload include:

  • “Spending less time on gaining information that is nice to know and more time on things that we need to know now.
  • Focusing on quality of information, rather than quantity. A short concise e-mail is more valuable than a long e-mail.
  • Learning how to create better information (this is what Infogineering is about). Be direct in what you ask people, so that they can provide short precise answers.
  • Single-tasking, and keeping the mind focused on one issue at a time.
  • Spending parts of the day disconnected from interruptions (e.g. switch off e-mail, telephones, Web, etc.) so you can fully concentrate for a significant period of time on one thing.” (http://www.infogineering.net/understanding-information-overload.htm).

Understanding the causes and solutions can help law students minimize their exposure to information overload and mitigate the damage caused by it. Reducing information overload is also a big step in creating an environment of Emotional Wellness, which will be the topic of next week’s post.

By: Brian King, Reference Assistant, and Sabrina A. Davis, Reference Librarian

US Supreme Court Declines to Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases

On Monday, October 6, 2014, the United States Supreme Court declined to decide whether states have the right to ban gay marriage. The court rejected appeals that prohibited gay marriage, without comment, leaving intact the lower-court rulings striking down these bans. This move allowed gay men and women the right to get married in five additional states: Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, which brings the total to 24 states that now permit gay marriage.

The shift towards the courts’ approval of gay marriage began in June of 2013 when the Supreme Court justices decided Windsor v. United States. The justices in Windsor voted 5-4 to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as between one man and one woman for the purpose of federal government benefits. The shift in public opinion to supporting gay marriage is also relatively recent, with Massachusetts being the first state to allow gay marriage in 2004.

Some proponents of gay marriage continue to fight, arguing that the delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and continues the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places. Opponents of gay marriage also continue to fight, arguing that the people should decide this issue, not the courts. Many people on both sides of the issue are ready for the Supreme Court to make a final decision, arguing that the justices have an obligation to settle an issue of such national importance and not abdicate that responsibility to the lower court judges.

On the other hand, the denial in itself makes a statement that proponents are beginning to embrace. Same-sex marriage will soon be legal in six more states based on regional federal appellate court rulings: Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The Supreme Court did not explain why it was not taking up this controversial issue, but it will most likely not rule on the matter anytime soon. Some states are still litigating the issue, while others have accepted the rulings applicable to them and are no longer defending same-sex marriage bans.

By: Molly McClure, Reference Assistant