Oklahoma City's newest council member is bridging the gap between communities to connect black elected officials with their constituents.
Councilwoman Nikki Nice is hosting a town hall meeting with a wide range of representatives Thursday evening.
Nice has been in office for less than a year, but she has already found places that need improvement, and she wants those efforts to go beyond her own district. She is bringing together black leaders from the state down to the local level for a first-of-its-kind event.
“I just want to make sure that all of our voices are heard,” Nice said.
As a fresh face on the City Council, Nice has launched an effort to combat an urban food desert in her district, but she wants to collaborate with a broad spectrum of policymakers throughout the state, like another new legislator, State Rep. Ajay Pittman (D-99).
“I’m looking forward to this conversation so that we’re not talking at our constituents, but we’re having the conversation with them, and they see all of us,” Pittman said.
Beyond speaking amongst themselves, these leaders expect to hear what their community members say they need and also what they have achieved that could be beneficial elsewhere.
“Bring your examples,” Nice encouraged, “and with MAPS 4 we need ideas, so what does that look like for our communities that are within our area?”
The town hall aims to address issues like criminal justice, homelessness, veteran care and education within the black community.
“We want to recruit teachers of color,” Pittman emphasized, “so that our students can see people in the classroom and in the building that look like them.”
Nice plans to host these events quarterly, for a lasting partnership for years to come, with lasting results.
“We’re going to make sure we have a conversation, we leave with a call to action and we come back in a few months and talk about what’s happened thus far and pick up something else,” Nice said.
The town hall meeting is happening Thursday, June 13, at 6 p.m. at the business conference center on MetroTech’s Springlake campus, 1900 Springlake Drive.
Editor’s Note: News 9 is part of a local initiative that brings all of our local media outlets together to give Oklahoma a United Voice in promoting a healthy dialogue on race. To see more stories, visit UnitedVoiceOK.org.