Mauree Nivek Rajah Salima Turner (They / Them/ Theirs / Representative) is the newly-elected State Representative for Oklahoma’s 88th House District thanks to the people. Rep. Turner was formerly the Regional Field Director for the Campaign for Smart Justice, an ACLU campaign focusing on criminal justice reform, and its many intersections. Their life’s works are geared towards fighting for and maintaining the civil rights and liberties of all who enter America.
They are an Oklahoma community organizer, born and raised, coming from a Muslim and Baptist upbringing. In elementary school, if they were missing class it was because they were at an HIV and AIDS Awareness event or LGBTQ+ advocacy event with their mother.
Rep. Turner grew up believing in the power and duty they had to change the world for the better.
They have also worked with the NAACP of Oklahoma, Freedom Oklahoma, CAIR OK, and a number of community-based and student lead groups working in and researching the intersections of racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, religious freedom, reproductive rights—just to name a few. Working with these organizations, they have researched the history of the criminal justice system and what it does to communities of color, and Black Women especially, and they are just getting started. COMMUNITY ISSUES We are driving conversations in Oklahoma about what inclusive representation looks like. About what round-the-clock representation looks like. Our Oklahoma government consistently carves out our most vulnerable Oklahomans and a big part of that is because the folx that represents us don’t experience the struggles everyday Oklahomans do and fall short of building bridges with the folx that they represent. Growing up as a Black Muslim-American Queer Womxn, in Oklahoma of all places, I shared the collective experience of not being seen or heard by the folks that make laws about our lives, like many Oklahomans that share House District 88 with me.
If I was missing school as a child it was because I was most likely at an HIV & AIDS Awareness Conference or in an LGBT Advocacy workshop with my mother. My mother and my grandmother instilled in me the importance of community organizing early on in life, and a key component of that is bridge-building. One of the key things that I hear about what’s going on within our district, and even more so within Oklahoma as a whole, is that people don’t know what resources are available to them. They don’t know who provides what services and even more so we have so many people that fall through the cracks where services fall short.
In order to do community bridge-building you have to be in the community, and ready & willing to do real work – outside of the legislature. We know that communities know how to fix themselves. The people of House District 88 have continuously risen to the occasion to provide for each other when our local government turned the other cheek.
A key component of representing a community is listening to the community, meeting folx where they are in the literal sense is being a good listener, and being willing to show up. Actively building people power, community listening sessions, conversations, and action based on the things that impact Oklahomans the greatest.