Yousef Khanfar, award-winning and Palestine-American writer, photographer and humanitarian, will lead a panel discussion at East Central University’s Louise Young Diversity Lecture on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Ataloa Theatre of the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center.
In conjunction with the Louise Young Diversity Lecture, the Lockmiller Lecture in Art History will be sponsoring Khanfar’s “Invisible Eve” photography exhibit on campus in the Pogue Art Gallery from Sept. 30-Nov. 18 with a special preview and book signing of “Invisible Eve” on Sept. 29 for those who attend the lecture.
“Invisible Eve” is the latest in Khanfar’s work as he went behind women’s prison walls in Oklahoma to not only photograph non-violent female prisoners, but to let them express themselves through their writings. Khanfar’s desire for the project was sparked by Oklahoma’s high incarceration rate.
Among the panelists for the lecture and discussion are Kris Steele, executive director of TEEM (The Education and Employment Ministry), dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty and incarceration in Oklahoma; Terri Woodland, executive director of the ReMerge program, a female diversion program designed to transform pregnant women and mothers facing incarceration for nonviolent charges into productive community citizens and Sarah Edwards, outreach director of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform.
The lecture is sponsored by Young, who is a graduate of Ada Public Schools and East Central University (B.A. in geography in 1969). She earned a master’s and doctorate from the University of Colorado. From 1971 to 1974, Young was an instructor of geography at ECU. In 2008, Young established an endowed lectureship within the ECU Foundation with the goal of presenting an annual free lecture for students, faculty and community members on various aspects of diversity.
Young retired as senior software engineer with Raytheon Company, where she worked for 34 years. In addition to her software engineering career, she has received numerous awards for her work in diversity, both inside and outside of corporate America, especially with regards to equal treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. In 2003, she received the prestigious Raytheon Diversity Heroes Award from Raytheon CEO, Bill Swanson.
The Lockmiller Lecture was established, through an endowment, in honor of David Lockmiller and his interest in art history. Lockmiller is the father of former ECU professor Dr. Carlotta Lockmiller.
TEEM offers educational opportunities, character development courses, job training and employment placement assistance to individuals reentering the community.
Steele also serves as chair of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, a coalition comprised of community groups, business leaders, health professionals and Faith leaders dedicated to advancing effective approaches to public safety by increasing access to treatment and programs designed to address root causes of crime.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in religion from Oklahoma Baptist University and master’s degree in education from ECU. Prior to joining TEEM, Steele served as state representative from 2000-2012 and speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives for the 53rd Legislature. During his tenure in office, he led the charge on a number of reforms in the areas of health care, human services and criminal justice.
Steele and his wife, Kellie, have two daughters: Mackenzie, 13, and Madison, 11. They currently reside in Shawnee.
The goal of Remerge, under the direction of Woodland, is to keep mothers in the community with their children, breaking the cycle of intergenerational incarceration and poverty.
Woodland managed all aspects of the program, including community collaboration, programming, grant writing and resource development, budgeting and management of program and community resources, data reporting and HR and staff development.
She comes in with 22 years of experience in community mental health and nonprofit management. Woodland is also a licensed professional counselor and is passionate about women’s issues, especially focusing on recovery from trauma, mental health challenges and addiction.
Edwards has served as counsel and former director for Crowe and Dunlevy P.C, and previously held positions as deputy counsel in the office of Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry, primarily responsible for advising on pardons, paroles, commutations and executions. She worked as an attorney for the Oklahoma House of Representatives where she was primarily responsible for drafting legislation for human services, health and environmental committees.
Edwards is a member of the Children and Family Council of Oklahoma County and the Sustainable Implementation Committee which studies and advises on issues relating to in-home services to children and families in need.
She graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and earned her undergraduate degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University.