Editor’s Notebook: Status of Women commission swearing-in, an honored book by Dr. Nyla, a professor with noble intentions, and citizenship

Pat McGuigan
Oklahoma City – From an editor’s notebook, items in the world of news: 

On Thursday, June 24, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt will officially swear-in The Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women‘s elected 2021-2022 officers at the Commission’s regular monthly meeting . 
The new officers begin their official duties on July 1, the beginning of the state’s Fiscal Year.

The meeting is set for the Oklahoma Judicial Center, 2100 N. Lincoln Blvd., Grand Room, in Oklahoma City. 

Participating in the swearing-in will be Governor Kevin Stitt, Victoria Woods, Incoming Chair 2021-2022, Molly Wehrenberg, Vice Chair, Karen Sneary, Secretary, Shondra McCage, Finance Officer, Dr. Nyla Khan, Advisory Council Chair and Delores Runnels, Immediate Past Chair.

About the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women: The Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women is a state commission that serves as the voice for women in Oklahoma. It strengthens and empowers women in Oklahoma by informing and educating the legislature and executive branches about issues to improve opportunities and quality of life for women.
Commissioners are appointed by the Governor, Senate President Pro Tem and Speaker of the House. The commission oversees the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame and presents the Guardian and Kate Barnard Awards. To learn more about OCSW, visit www.ok.gov/ocsw/.


Speaking of Dr. Nyla Ali Khan, one of the commissioners meeting with Governor Stitt for the swearing-in, I cherish our exchanges, dating back to our first encounter at a June 2019 event hosted by the Dialogue Institute of Oklahoma City. 
I have often mentioned her new book, Educational Strategies for Youth Empowerment in Conflict Zones: Transforming, not Transmitting, Trauma” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021). Cindy Evans Ruffel and her husband, Lance Ruffel, are hosting an evening gathering to help launch Dr. Nyla’s promotional efforts (https://www.city-sentinel.com/2021/06/to-heal-and-bridge-divides-dr-nyla-ali-khans-timely-book-aims-to-transform-trauma/). For information on their July 1 event, a by-invitation-only evening gathering, please contact Pat Carr through this email address: wealthforwomen.pat@gmail.com. 

Dr. Nyla’s book, available both in hard cover and digital format, and continues to garner favorable notice.  Dr. Diana J. Fox,  Professor of Anthropology, Founder/Editor Journal of International Women’s Studies, Bridgewater State University, has commented: 
“Blending the intellectual rigor of a strategy of comparison, with the passion of a compelling personal narrative that begins in Jammu and Kashmir, this book is a clarion call for the collective societal healing of generational trauma. Nyla Ali Khan’s new book delves into the pedagogy of healing and liberation from trauma, beyond the paradigm of a near exclusive focus on the west. Harnessing a decolonial lens, Khan weaves together insights from trauma theory, largely informed by Holocaust studies, with testimonial accounts of the horrors of war, sexual violence, and the victimization of otherized minority groups, calling on our collective empathy and morality to ‘actively work to rehabilitate those who have witnessed or encountered acts of barbarity or savagery.’ Focusing in particular on the ‘the heterogeneity of the identities and histories of children’ suffering from mental and emotional trauma, she rejects “the propagation of sentimental political discourse that iconizes” trauma victims, instead offering an urgent and necessary lens ― as well as paving a path ― to healing and building flourishing democratic societies.”


One of my U.S. history professors at Oklahoma State University, back in the day, was a white guy named Jim Smallwood. We were not close, but he taught me some history. I enjoyed his teaching and writing. 
I once asked Dr. James Milton Smallwood why he had focused on Black History. He said it always interested him – and there was a need for teachers familiar with the Black American experience, so he gravitated toward that work. 
Sort of an entrepreneurial motivation that fed into his noble intentions 
With personal interest in and knowledge of Cherokee and African-American history, Dr. Smallwood focused much of his scholarly work on the Reconstruction era in Texas. … 
I came across this biographical note while searching for him online recently: Texas State Historical Association, “Smallwood, James Milton (1944-2013)”
I was fortunate to have a white guy from Texas who, back in the day, taught me a lot of the truth about history, including Black History. 

Columnist Neil Patel recently sketched one of the great moral challenges for American citizens in the modern age: “As a society, we are growing increasingly self-interested. Citizenship brings responsibility beyond self-interest. … The social and cultural segregation in our country is directly contributing to the coarseness of our national culture and politics. We no longer just disagree in America; we vilify those who don’t share our views. … When you have little interaction with those who don’t share your background or beliefs, it’s easy to view them as caricatures. It becomes easier to demonize or marginalize them. This results in the sort of fissures we have in America today and the normalization of summary political violence; we’ve all seen it. Left to fester, these dynamics lead to the downfall of societies.” 

I could not have said it better myself, although I’ve tried.