2019 was an eventful year for the state legislature. With a large portion of the elected population being made up by freshmen, this year’s session held many unknowns. We saw highs and lows regarding criminal justice reform and teacher pay, both heavy-hitting issues carried over from the 2018 session. We saw new gun laws and the designation of an Oklahoma Native American Day.
But the biggest success the CAIR Oklahoma (CAIR-OK) Government Affairs Department saw was the new relationships forged across party lines. Last year was an election year, which provided a great opportunity for CAIR-OK to engage on the ground floor, working in the community on educating and building relationships with newly elected leaders.
2019 was a year for making history. For the first time in the history of our organization, CAIR-OK had a sitting member of Congress attend and keynote an event. For the first time, we had recognition of Muslim Day at the Capitol by the Governor of Oklahoma. For the first time ever, the Mayor of Oklahoma City came to our Annual Ramadan Iftar and gave opening remarks. And for the first time ever, a sitting Mayor (of Edmond), came and gave welcoming remarks at our banquet. We saw an openness from the new freshman class the Oklahoma Muslim community had yet to experience. For the first time, elected leaders from both sides of the isle came to our meet and greets at mosques across the state and attended our events.
We saw hundreds of pieces of legislation vying for a place on the Governor’s desk, and we worked to keep you up to date on the issues, bills, and committee meetings that are important to the Oklahoma Muslim community.
We will continue to build on this foundation and keep you up to date on important issues facing our state. We will persist in our pursuit of opening more channels of communication between our legislative body and our small but powerful community. We will strive to be the voice of the Muslim community on all levels with elected leaders from all parties. Likewise, we will work to strengthen the Oklahoma Muslim community, finding our individual and collective voices in order to advocate for positive change.