A Night of Sunshine: FOI Oklahoma's Annual Sunshine Awards

Sunshine Week promotes the principle that government records must be open and easily accessible for the public. Join with Freedom of Information Oklahoma Inc. in celebrating that idea on Saturday, April 2, at 6 p.m. The dinner will feature Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, and Robert Henry, president of Oklahoma City University, former Oklahoma attorney general, and former judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Both will speak to the ongoing importance of government maintaining open meetings and open records on the national and state level.

In addition, FOI Oklahoma will present its awards for individuals and organizations playing a pivotal role in promoting openness in government, as well as the award no government official should want to receive -- the Black Hole Award.

The event is also a fundraiser for Freedom of Information Oklahoma Inc., which is celebrating 26 years of education for openness in government and First Amendment rights. FOI Oklahoma actively supports organizations and individuals working to open records and provide access to meetings.

FOI Oklahoma thanks the Iguana Grill for donating the food and other services for the evening's dinner, thus ensuring that more funds will be raised.

FOI Oklahoma also thanks our speakers for the generosity of their time and energy.

Tickets: $50 per person to attend the dinner and support Freedom of Information Oklahoma Inc.

        • PayPal: Buy Now Button


      • Call Kay Bickham for reservations to be paid in advance by check: 405-341-3169.

Dress: We are calling for a business casual approach to this fun-filled night.

Location: The District House, 1755 NW 16th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73106 The District House is a renovated warehouse holding both a coffee house (with sandwiches, bagels and coffee and tea) and a separate meeting space/performance area where the Night of Sunshine dinner will be held.

Parking: * Angled parking on both sides of NW 16th Street to the east and west of the District House. * On the north side and to the west along NW 16th is the Lyric Theater Thelma Gaylord Academy office’s parking lot. The address is approximately 1815 NW 16th Street. * Parking is available in the neighborhoods surrounding the Plaza District, but pay attention to parking signs and respect the residential neighbors.

 Our Speakers:

Frank LoMonte, executive director, Student Press Law Center

Frank LoMonte joined SPLC in 2008 after practicing law with Atlanta-based Sutherland LLP and clerking for federal judges on the Northern District of Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Before law school, LoMonte was an award-winning investigative journalist and political columnist for daily newspapers in Florida and Georgia. LoMonte graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he was a senior editor of the Georgia Law Review. His articles about the First Amendment and media-law topics have been widely published in Education Week, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the American University Law Review, the University of North Carolina First Amendment Law Review, and in many other outlets.

Robert Henry, president, Oklahoma City University

Robert Henry’s public service career has ranged from the Oklahoma House of Representatives, 1976 to 1986, followed by election as attorney general of Oklahoma in  1986 and 1990. Henry was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, later serving as chief judge. He became the 17th president of Oklahoma City University in 2010 but had served as dean and professor of law from 1991 to 1994. Henry received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Oklahoma, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Tulsa, and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Oklahoma City University. He serves on a the board of Devon Energy, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and Allied Arts. His previous service includes a range of local, national and international activities in law, international relations, and human rights. Henry is widely published in law reviews, magazines and newspapers, and lectures widely. Among his many awards is the Leadership Oklahoma 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.

FOI Oklahoma Awards: We annually honor recipients with awards designed to highlight people who support -- or thwart -- our state's Open Meeting and Open Records laws. On April 2, we will recognize deserving Oklahomans with the following awards.

        • Marian Opala First Amendment Award: Named for the late state Supreme Court Justice Marian Opala, this award recognizes individuals who have promoted education about or protection of the individual rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.
        • Ben Blackstock Award: Named for retired Oklahoma Press Association Executive Director Ben Blackstock, this award recognizes a non-governmental person or organization that has shown a commitment to freedom of information.
        • Sunshine Award: Recognizes a public official or governmental body that has shown a commitment to freedom of information.
        • Black Hole Award: Recognizes an individual, agency or organization that has most thwarted the free flow of information.