4 minute read

This letter is by Christopher Johnston, a military veteran and activist in Oklahoma County.

Dear Jail Trust members,

We — to include all the brave activists in Oklahoma — have an odd working relationship with you The Oklahoma Criminal Justice Authority. As stated in the last Jail Trust Meeting “I hope that this new era of leadership is productive”.

We keep coming back, unlike those white nationalists who came to only a few meetings then vanished. We risk everything to include our lives for god and country. I hope that is something you can respect now moving forward. We are, what I believe, the best of Oklahoma and our beautiful nation because we have a sense of duty. Duty to a higher calling is something I know too well.

When I was 17, I decided to sign a contract with The United States Army stating I will join the program called ” The Delayed Entry Program” which states that as soon as I graduate high school and turn 18, I will enlist in the Army. June of 2004, I raised my right hand and swore an oath to my country to protect her against all enemies foreign and domestic. Before I could legally drink, I served in my first war with 3 deployments total throughout my military career. 

I have lost people I cared for in the service of my country. I chose to raise my daughter and leave honorably, but my service did not stop there.

I now fight this war against injustice in our streets and serve with those who took that oath to serve in the streets with me. I am tired of the violence. Most of my life has been violent. Violence also is public policy that hurts people.

It is not out of the kindness of people’s hearts as to why things are now being turned around at the jail. It is because we forced you to reckon with it.

We returned $25 million of CARES Act money to the people it was intended for as well. You all did not do that for the heck of it. It is because we exposed you.

Now that this ship is being run by someone else, I hope we can avoid the sins of the past because we want to collaborate with you and have a lot of great ideas if you would just listen.

Honor our humanity as we honor yours. Conduct the people’s business legally and morally.

It so far has not gotten off to a good start in that you all chose to limit free speech. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin “He who gives up liberty for safety does not deserve either”. It is a dangerous game when you spit on democracy to obtain fascist order.

Americans do not get taught history accurately. Yes, Nazis are bad but your average American does not know the decades of chipping away of German democracy that led to that horrible time in our history. Actions like limiting speech are what ushers in evil like fascism.

There are so many parallels to how conservatives do things today that the Nazis did and it is terrifying. I do not know if any of you had ancestors that fought the Nazis but I did and I am glad to follow in their footsteps.

I hope that there is some moral compass left and you all revoke that hypocritical measure which was limiting Public Comment. It is not American and a stain on the majesty of our democracy. I hope that is the last undemocratic measure that gets pushed.

Remember the pendulum of power swings back and forth. Our state is not its own country and resides in The United States. And federal law is above state or county law. Our country and state are becoming more liberal and democratic.

Collectively, we are more educated than we used to be. With education comes critical thinking and ushers in the willingness to listen to new or different ideas.

Someday I and others who are behind the fight for criminal justice reform will be elected into office. It would behoove yourselves to not be short-sighted and rule yourselves out of relevancy.

Do you want to be on the minority side asking us for favors? Think outside of today from now on. It may not be tomorrow but the end of conservative rule over Oklahoma is coming, because, all things come to an end. 

My willingness to collaborate much like everyone else’s is not an invitation to the notion that we have forgotten the undemocratic and possibly illegal things that have happened.

The Ice vote passed and will come up in the future. For your sake do not attempt to launder federal money again. It did not end up well for you all. Justice for the last time will be achieved for our memories are not short and our resilience is unyielding.

So, I say to you all, Godspeed on this journey moving forward because truth and justice will be achieved no matter what the cost. Thank you for reading this.

With Hope, 
Christopher Johnston

Last Updated May 27, 2021, 12:23 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor