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  • Court Newkirk

Turning Complaining Into Activism

I’ve never considered economic development work to be “activism.” Since I’m always talking about improvements to the industrial parks, improvements at the Airport, better roads, better stormwater systems, and housing issues, I have come to the conclusion I Am An Activist. Or a complainer with a monthly editorial in the Okmulgee Times.


Social media, FaceBook and the rest, have become the great local soapbox. For those who do not recognize the “soapbox” reference, look it up. Social Media, the podium of the masses has degenerated into a lot of whining and complaining. So what’s the difference between being an Activist and a social media complainer. Well to be direct, there’s a huge difference. I think a short report on this month’s City Council Meeting is a great example.


We have several conditions in Okmulgee involving our pets, fur-babies and feral animals. Instead of complaining on social media, these two residents did some homework and took their concerns AND suggested plans to the City Council. They filled out the forms so they could make their presentation. They researched the current Okmulgee City ordinances, complete with rule numbers and titles. Thank you: Gregory Phillips and Aimee Robinson.


They stated their concerns. They reported on the current city rules. They reported on the resources now dedicated by the City to the issues. Then they described the proposed actions the City could take to help resolve the issues and improve local conditions. They did their full presentations in their allotted 3 minutes. In the end they made a call for action to the City Council.


I know you’re wondering what their issues are and what they proposed. Briefly the first presentation was about endangering dogs by chain restraints because they can be attacked by roving domestic and wild animals and can’t escape. The second issue was about a plan to help control the current number of feral cats and their potential growth in numbers.


The presentations were well written, well presented, and well researched. Just the opposite to what we see on social media. In short, if there’s a problem, let the world know, but first do your homework, come up with a plan and present your plan. Either to the general public or through our local system. Also follow the rules for how to be recognized at the meeting where you’re going to present your plan.


Does Okmulgee have problems and situations that need a lot of work. Yes it does. Is there a better way to go about it? Yes there is. I know this little editorial will not change anything going on in social media. But someone out there reading this just might make something happen by just using the system that’s already there. I don’t think improvements in our community will come from social media posts. Sometimes you just have to take the long road and put in the work.


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