Oklahoma Bar Journal
Celebrate Diversity With an Award Nomination
The Diversity Committee is now accepting nominations for the annual Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Diversity Awards to be presented in November. The three award categories are members of the judiciary, licensed attorneys and organizations that have championed the cause of diversity. All nominations must be received by Tuesday, Aug. 1.
For additional information, please contact Diversity Committee Chair Devin Frost at 405-239-6040 or visit www.okbar.org/diversityawards.
One or more diversity awards will be given to an organization that has an office in the state of Oklahoma and has met one or more of the following criteria:
- Developed and implemented an effective equal opportunity program as demonstrated by the organization’s commitment to the recruitment, retention and promotion of individuals of underrepresented populations regardless of race, ethnic origin, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability or any other prohibited basis of discrimination;
- Promoted diversity initiatives that establish and foster a more inclusive and equitable work environment;
- Demonstrated continued corporate responsibility by devoting resources for the improvement of the community at large; and
- Exhibited insightful leadership to confront and resolve inequities through strategic decision-making, allocation of resources and establishment of priorities.
Two or more diversity awards will be given to licensed attorneys, and an additional award will be given to a member of the Oklahoma judiciary who has met one or more of the following criteria:
- Demonstrated dedication to raising issues of diversity and protecting civil and human rights;
- Led the development of innovative or contemporary measures to fight discrimination and its effects;
- Fostered positive communication and actively promoted
inter-group relations among populations of different backgrounds;
- Participated in a variety of corporate and community events that promoted mutual respect, acceptance, cooperation or tolerance and contributed to diversity awareness in the community and workplace; and
- Reached out to a diverse array of attorneys to understand firsthand the experiences of someone from
a different background.
Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher leaves a legacy that impacted the legal profession and the Civil Rights Movement. Born in Chickasha, she graduated in 1945 with honors from Langston University, which did not have a law school. Segregation existed, and Black people were prohibited from attending white state universities. Ms. Fisher decided to apply for admission to the OU College of Law to challenge the state’s segregation laws and to accomplish her lifelong goal of becoming a lawyer. State statutes prohibited the college from accepting her. A lawsuit was filed that resulted in a three-year legal battle. After an unfavorable ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, an appeal was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. Another barrier was erected with the creation of a separate law school thrown together in five days exclusively for her to attend. She refused to attend on the grounds the new school could not provide a legal education equal to OU’s law school. A state court ruled against her, and the state Supreme Court upheld the decision. Ms. Fisher’s lawyers planned to again appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Oklahoma’s attorney general declined to return to Washington, D.C., to argue the case. She was admitted to the OU College of Law on June 18, 1949, and graduated in August 1951.
NOMINATIONS AND SUBMISSIONS
- Include name, address and contact number of the nominee.
- Describe the nominee’s contributions and accomplishments in the area of diversity.
- Identify the diversity award category (organization, licensed attorney or member of the judiciary) in which the nominee is being nominated.
- The submission deadline is Tuesday, Aug. 1.
- Submissions should not exceed five pages in length.
- Submit nominations to email@example.com.
- Information on past award winners can be found at okbar.org/diversityawards.
Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 94 Vol 5 (May 2023)
Statements or opinions expressed in the Oklahoma Bar Journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Oklahoma Bar Association, its officers, Board of Governors, Board of Editors or staff.