The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has announced its 2019 award winners, which include the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and Allie Shinn, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma, as recipients of the Angie Debo Award. This award is given in recognition and celebration of the courage and tenacity displayed by these groups and individuals in the pursuit of civil liberties.


Additionally, the ACLU of Oklahoma will make a special presentation to honor the work of Nancy McDonald who is being recognized with a Bob Lemon Lifetime Achievement Award.


The awards will be presented to NIWRC, Shinn, and McDonald at the Annual Meeting of the ACLU of Oklahoma. In addition to the presentation of the Angie Debo Award, ACLU members will vote to elect new board members, and attendees will hear an address from the ACLU of Oklahoma’s Campaign for Smart Justice.


“The ACLU of Oklahoma is honored to present the 2019 Angie Debo Civil Libertarian Award to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center in recognition of their pursuit to protect women, especially indigenous women,” said Sarah Adams-Cornell, ACLU of Oklahoma Board Vice-President. “Much like the award namesake, NIWRC’s resolute advocacy to make known and change disparities impacting indigenous people, including the Violence Against Women Act is gold standard. The empowerment provided to our indigenous women through NIWRC resources and trainings can be felt throughout Indian Country.”


“Allie Shinn left her role as Deputy Director after 8 years with the ACLU of Oklahoma to take the lead at Freedom Oklahoma and only continues to elevate her work to as a fearless advocate for LGBTQ+ Oklahomans whose civil rights and civil liberties are constantly threatened at every level of government,” said Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma. “From her work with meaningful criminal justice reform on the Campaign for Yes on State Question 780 and 781 to her legislative advocacy and community engagement to stop legislation that threatened the lives and liberties of people across Oklahoma, I cannot think of an individual whose unyielding resolve to fight for change has more rightfully earned them this honor.”


“Through a life of advocacy and mentoring, Nancy McDonald personifies the spirit of the Bob Lemon Lifetime Achievement Award. She has advocated tirelessly on behalf of the LGBT community, fought for diversity and equitable funding under Title IX, and helped secure the first Ryan White Grant, which led to the Ryan White Clinic at Oklahoma State University,” said Mike Redman, ACLU of Oklahoma Board President. “Her accomplishments transcend the decades and have benefitted many Oklahomans of various backgrounds.”


The reception and annual meeting will be held in the Forum Room of the Midwest City Library on April 20 at 10 AM. The event is free and open to the public. Dues paying members of the ACLU of Oklahoma are eligible to vote to fill board vacancies.


The Angie Debo Award is named in honor of the writer, historian, and civil rights advocate Angie Debo, who relentlessly pursued justice in cooperation with the ACLU of Oklahoma during the late 1960s and 1970s. It is the highest award presented by the ACLU of Oklahoma and has been presented annually since 1971 for outstanding achievement in the fight for civil rights and civil liberties.


The Bob Lemon Lifetime Achievement Award is named in honor of Oklahoma lifelong activist and philanthropist, Bob Lemon. Lemon served as a leader and role model to the community on many issues spanning from LGBTQ rights, reproductive freedom, racial justice, faith and academia, leaving Oklahoma a more equitable and compassionate state. The Bob Lemon Lifetime Achievement Award honors the individual who, like Bob Lemon, has made Oklahoma a better place to live through their dedication to freedom and justice.