Each year, CAIR Oklahoma (CAIR-OK) develops policy priorities to advance key issues and promote civic engagement among Oklahoma Muslims. The priorities are informed by research, community interest, CAIR-OK’s mission, and is approved by our Board of Directors.
If you have any feedback regarding our policy priorities or would like to get more involved in CAIR-OK’s government affairs advocacy, please contact Lani Habrock at email@example.com.
CAIR-OK’s top priorities this session are protecting the right to vote and advocating for legislation that expands voter access. The Covid-19 pandemic has radically altered all aspects of our lives – voting included. A major focus for the 2021 session will be advocating for bills that make it easier to vote, such as absentee ballots, which expedite the voting process and widen possibilities for political participation. The consensus of scholars and their research affirms the legitimacy of absentee voting. Furthermore, with so many people choosing to vote by mail, the United States had an unprecedented level of voter participation in the 2020 election. Access to the ballot regardless of class, gender, religion, or ethnicity is fundamental to ensure liberty and justice for all. We will also be redistricting that ensures fair and equitable representation for our communities.
- Equal and fair representation for all citizens
- Voting access to marginalized and disenfranchised populations
- Efforts to re-enfranchise Americans who have been locked out of the civic engagement process
- Setting standards to ensure all polling places have sufficient voting machines, poll workers, and other resources to avoid long lines
- Updating antiquated registration and voting systems
- Automatic voter registration
- Expanding early and online voting opportunities
- Making voting more accessible to working class individuals
- The establishment of a citizen-led, independent commission to determine all redistricting decisions, to be comprised of representatives from all parties, as well as nonpartisan individuals.
- Voter suppression and unnecessary barriers to the ballot box
- Gerrymandering, or the manipulation of electoral boundaries that favor one party or class
Civil rights are an indispensable component of democracy. They that ensure every person has equal protection under the law, including the ability to freely participate in society without obstruction from the government, corporations, or any other entity. Standing against discriminatory policies which would deny any human their personhood is vitally important to the mission of CAIR-OK. At its heart, CAIR-OK is a civil rights organization, fighting day to day to ensure the rights of Oklahoma Muslims and all minority and disenfranchised communities in our state. Unless we are all free, none of us are.
- First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, religion, and press
- The right to petition government for redress and to assemble at the state Capitol
- The rights of citizens to have a fair, open, and transparent government process
- The right of all people to live free from harassment, discrimination, and bigotry
- Ensuring basic human rights for non-citizens
- Ending systemic practices of shaming individuals or groups based on economic status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious, ethnic, or cultural identification
- The expansion of protected classes to include: Sexual Orientation, Gender and Gender Identity, Age, Citizenship Status, Economic Status, or association with a person or group with one of these perceived or actual characteristics
- Increasing data collection and reporting of hate crimes and bias-based offenses
- The rights of citizens to a healthy and equitable standard of living through access to social welfare programs, healthcare, fair wages, and safe housing
- The appropriation of state funds or tax exemption benefits to agencies, organizations, and/or private businesses that discriminate
- Reducing state standards that protect vulnerable people from harassment and discrimination in housing, the workplace, while incarcerated, etc.
- Infringements upon the human rights to housing, food, and healthcare
- Infringements upon First Amendment freedoms, including freedom of speech, religion, press, and peaceful assembly
- Attempts to obscure the functions of state government from public access and inspection.
- The shaming of individuals based on economic status; such as in the denial of school lunches to children or the enforcement of punishment for students who have incurred school debts
- The provision of legal counsel in all civil and criminal proceedings where the right to counsel should be guaranteed for due process and equal protection under the law
Gun violence is unnecessary and preventable. It is possible and crucial for our country and state to have rigorous and informed conversation around the 2nd Amendment. We believe we can have both the right to gun ownership AND the right to keep our children and families safe.
- Common sense and responsible gun ownership, not to be infringed upon by racial or ethnic profiling or the discriminatory enforcement of regulations
- The ability for law enforcement, victims of violent crimes, or concerned individuals to petition the court to temporarily restrict a person’s access to firearms on a showing of credible evidence that the person is a threat to themselves or to others
- Preventative measures to stop gun violence before it happens, subject to individual rights to due process
- Background checks on firearm purchases from all vendors, regardless of if firearm is purchased from an agency or an individual.
- The carrying of firearms by unlicensed individuals in schools, playgrounds, and government buildings
- The unconstitutional infringement upon the right to own or carry firearms based on discriminatory reasons and without individual due process
- Open and permitless carry
The United States imprisons more people than any other country in the world. Oklahoma continues to lead the nation in incarceration rates. The problems of the criminal justice system are many at both the state and federal levels, but it is essentially a systemic failure to protect and serve the most vulnerable in our society. Oklahoma imprisons women, native and indigenous populations, persons with mental illnesses, people in poverty, and people of color, particularly Black men, at disproportionate rates. Furthermore, the stigma of being a convicted felon makes reentry incredibly difficult when searching for housing or jobs, all of which amounts to state-sanctioned discrimination.
- Bail reform. Bail was established to encourage the accused to return to court, rather than to serve as an impetus for keeping them in jail. Individuals who are a danger to society should not receive bail. Those who are not a danger, should not be required to pay outrageous fines and fees to avoid penalties that can be escaped by those with more wealth
- Reforms to policing policies that unfairly target Oklahoma’s most marginalized communities, including more training on implicit biases and responsible crisis intervention services
- Reduce pre-trial detainment time
- Amend pre-trial practices to protect the rights of the accused and decrease the number of people jailed for financial reasons
- Reform sentencing procedures to protect the rights of defendants
- Reducing the overall population of Oklahoma’s abysmally overburdened prison system
- Increasing rehabilitative and divergence programming available to those accused of non-violent crimes, particularly those associated with mental illness, substance addiction, and/or ongoing trauma
- Privately owned carceral facilities which profit from the suffering of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable communities
- Attempts to subvert the will of the voters through weakening the provisions of State Question 788 and other criminal justice reforms that passed through initiative petition
- Formulaic, inflexible sentencing structures which leave few opportunities for rehabilitative or restorative justice programs, such as 3 strikes laws, mandatory minimums, etc…
Many questions of policy can often be interpreted differently depending on one’s personal and partisan beliefs; the right to live safely and freely, without fearing those who swear to protect us, is not a matter of partisan discussion. Police may be essential for the maintenance of peace, but they must be servants of the community and not enforcers of state and federal policies that marginalize and harm under-represented groups. We believe in promoting policies and dialogue that allows for police transparency, budgeting, and accountability to the state and local community.
- Harm reduction and de-escalation training for police offers
- The mandate for all police to have audio and visual recording equipment during any interaction
- Banning the use of chokeholds or any weapons or techniques that could result in permanent bodily harm
- Dialogue for reform between police and their community
- Policies such as “stop and frisk” which makes minorities especially vulnerable to harm and discrimination
- Searches without warrants
- Bills that make it illegal to record interactions with law enforcement officers and share them on a public platform
- Increasingly militarized law enforcement agencies, particularly the purchase and use of weapons and other technology for use against a civilian population