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Ashley Nicole McCray: a candidate unlike any other

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Ashley Nicole McCray.
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NORMAN, Okla. – Ashley Nicole McCray, a candidate for Ward 6, is an unusual candidate. She is a Ph.D. student in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine program at the University of Oklahoma. McCray, a Lakota/Absentee Shawnee native is at 31-year-old, has three kids and has a long history as a minority activist.

The White House has honored McCray of the Champions of change 2015 for empowering her community and she won the Norman Human Rights Award 2016.

She said during an interview with Red Dirt Report, minorities are underrepresented at the city council of Norman, “not just racially, but also socio-economically, gender-wise and generationally.” This has the effect of having no real debate in the city council McCray added.

McCray sees herself as a bridge between minorities and the city council. “Especially where I come from in Norman there are more people of color and people with less social-economic privilege,” McCray said.

According to McCray, if Norman diversities will be more represented in the city council it will motivate these minorities to participate more in the political life and community of Norman. “I think is very important if all our voices can contribute to the social fabric in Norman.”

McCray wants to bring her indigenous viewpoint to show how it is possible to have a better interaction between the youth and the senior communities. “That will make the senior citizens feel that they are within, too, and teach the younger generation how they could be more in touch with local history that our elders know,” she said.

McCray said the militarization of the police to resolve social problems is not a good solution. “We are wasting a lot of money,” she said. “They can use the money to better diversify their training, to be more culturally relevant.”

According to McCray, the way that police respond to domestic assault is not correct. “If the person that has been assaulted defends himself in any way it is considered as a mutual combat and both are arrested,” she said. “I think that is really problematic and can be really difficult to victims of domestic assault to go talk to the police.”

The situation could change if the police were more aware of this issue, McCray said.

Concerning the case of Friendly Market, McCray said it is exactly the type of example where the police are not properly used. “There are much bigger fish to catch,” she said.

Further, McCray said the water issue is a real problem in Norman concerning the flooding and the water quality such as fracking wells, pipelines and Hexavalent chromium contamination.

“We are not thinking long term sustainability, we are just thinking about short-term economic capital,” she said.

Furthermore, McCray said even if she is working as a graduate student at OU she will not be influenced by it. “I am actually really critical about the university,” she said.

In addition, McCray said she is not a Christian and totally open and what people can believe. “I consider myself as a traditional indigenous person,” she said.

However even if McCray doesn’t support any candidates for Norman mayor she thinks that Lynne Miller could be the best option.

“She has the most experience, she has been engaged for the process for longest and she has the time and resources to run,” she said.

In response to why people should vote for McCray, she said, “I have a deeper commitment to take care of the environment and the community here because it is where my ancestors repose. I am not afraid to sacrifice my career and also my safety for the causes that I care about.”

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Olivier Rey

Olivier has traveled in 20 countries on six continents before landing in Norman. Native French...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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