United Nations Association of Greater Oklahoma City
Dec. 22, 2010
United Nations Association of the United States of America
Greater Oklahoma City Chapter
P.O. Box 60856
Oklahoma City, OK   73146-0856
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The Kerfuffle
In Edmond, a small group of anti-UN
protesters forced a delay in a city-
sponsored meeting on sustainable
It was a minor kerfuffle.  But, it  illustrates
the challenges we face as we try to inform,
inspire, and mobilize our neighbors to support
the good work of the United Nations.

December, 2010.
 Over on our Facebook page, "UN Association OKC" has posted a couple of items on the recent
forum in Edmond -- the one in which a small group of conspiracy theorists raised fears about a UN takeover of
that city's local government.  

Did you hear about it?  Here's an excerpt from the
news story that was printed in the Edmond Sun:

"EDMOND — A City Council Workshop to share ideas about sustainability was abandoned midstream
Monday night amid protests about the City of Edmond’s involvement
in sustainable conservation efforts....

"Handouts titled 'Why Edmond is concerned about U.N. Agenda 21 /
sustainable development' were handed to participants entering the
Downtown Community Center.

"The reading material states, 'U.N. Agenda 21 is a 1,000-plus page, 40-chapter document spelling out how
all activities on the planet, including in the USA, are to be brought under the control of the United

To clarify:  The handouts were produced by a small group of protesters (some of whom are linked to the John
Birch Society).  

A local homeowner, upset and frightened by the handouts, commented: “Who is the UN... to tell we the people in
the U.S.A. what to do?”

City leaders and forum organizers tried to reason with the protesters.  Former mayor Dan O'Neil explained that the
Edmond forum was a purely local initiative.  “Edmond did not sign off with any international agenda,” he said.  

The city's commmunity development manager disavowed that the UN was behind the forum:  “We don’t even
know what you’re talking about with Agenda 21.  This isn’t part of our conversation at all.  It’s absolutely not.  
We’re not part of that; we’re not interested in that.”

Despite these assurances, the protesters continued to object to any discussion of sustainable development in
Edmond, Oklahoma.  The organizers of the forum decided to suspend the forum and re-schedule it for a later date
(to be announced).  

This episode illustrates a couple of facts about community life in our great state.

One -- "Sustainability" (defined as better land use practices, energy conservation, etc.) is a hot topic in our
commuinities.  Local governments everywhere are looking for ways to save money and protect the environment.  

Two -- Despite years of efforts to educate the public about the purpose and mission of the United Nations, we
continue to see evidence that many people have a fear of the UN -- a fear that is real and deeply felt, even though
it is unfounded in fact.  

Further, it illustrates the consequences of such an unfortunate misunderstanding of the United Nations:  A derailed
discussion of an important public policy issue.  

We've seen it before, of course.  If you've lived in Oklahoma for very long at all, you're familiar with the rantings
of the anti-UN crowd.  Their antics would be amusing if they didn't have such an awful impact on the public
conversations we need to have about environmental protection, energy conservation, global health, children's
rights, peacebuilding, and other issues of global importance.  

As a member (or, at least, a friend) of the United Nations Association, you
know that our mission includes education as well as advocacy.  As stated on
UNA-USA website, we are:

"...Dedicated to building understanding of and support for the ideals and
work of the UN among the American people."

This has been the mission of UNA-USA since 1946.  Our national
organization has been supported by prominent Americans like Eleanor
Roosevelt (former first lady), Arthur Goldberg (former Supreme Court
justice), William Scranton (former governor), and Elliot Richardson (former
attorney general).  

Our own local chapter has received tremendous support from leading
Oklahomans -- like Hannah Atkins, whose memory is honored by a
dedicated to her leadership of our Oklahoma City chapter.  

Yet, even with such a strong heritage of leadership, we continue to have our work cut out for us.  More than most
places in America, we face an uphill challenge -- to inform, inspire and mobilize our neighbors to support the
principles and vital work of the United Nations and to strengthen the United Nations system.

As the kerfuffle in Edmond reminds us, our efforts are important and necessary.  

I hope you will continue to support our chapter in the months and years ahead.  

If you're not yet a member of UNA-USA, please consider joining.  Perhaps it can be your New Year's resolution.  
Check out our "Join" page ...

If you're already a member, thank you for your support.  

Let's work together to provide a strong, rational and effective voice in support of the goals of the UN Charter.  

Bill Bryant
President, Greater OKC Chapter
United Nations Association of the USA

Please read my Letter to the Editor that was
published by the Edmond Sun in response to the
ruckus at the forum.  You can link to the letter
on the Edmond Sun's website ...
Photo:  Edmond Sun