Depending on where in the world you find yourself sitting in silence among Friends, you may encounter those who still follow the early Quaker habit of abandoning the use of Gregorian month names in favor of the more simple first month, second month, third month. Whether we call it seventh month or July, it was a hot one, and those gathered in the meetinghouse this month voiced appreciation for a permanent meeting place that has central air conditioning and other comforts not all meetings enjoy.
Over the past few weeks, as cicadas droned and fireflies jeweled Arkansas evenings, our meeting has explored the history of Little Rock Friends, engaged in Compassionate Communication role plays, collaborated across generations to create a booklet, sat down to eat together, and has (mostly) approved a budget for the new 2023-2024 fiscal year. We also received an in-depth report with photos from Friend Liz Lesher after she attended, with our sponsorship, the annual awards dinner of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Also in July, some of us began to make plans to travel to Oklahoma for the memorial service of Susan Garzon--a longstanding and very active member of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Quarterly Meeting.
Regarding her attendance at the OK-CADP 2023 annual dinner with reporting and keynote speaker, Friend Liz let us know that over 160 people attended the June event, filling an Oklahoma City church hall. The keynote speaker was Adam Luck, retired chairman of the Oklahoma City Pardons and Parole Board. Friend Liz was delighted to be asked to represent Friends this year, physically taking the place of our late friend Rex D. Friend, who appeared in a recently taken photo that was enlarged and placed on each table as a tribute to his years of support.
Other speakers and attenders included Paris Powell, exonerated in 2011, who spent fourteen years on Death Row at the same prison as Richard Glossip for a crime he did not commit. He, his wife, and their three daughters were seated at the table with Liz. She also had an opportunity to talk to law student Lea Rodger, Richard Glossip's wife.