Oklahoma City, Okla. — State budgets for diverse cultural programs could suffer if President Trump’s proposed budget cuts receive Congressional support. The stated mission of Oklahoma Humanities, for example, is to strengthen communities by helping Oklahomans learn about the human experience, understand new perspectives, and participate knowledgeably in civic life.
According to its website details, “Oklahoma Humanities recognizes that engagement with the humanities offers people inspiration and hope and can tell true and powerful stories about what life and human behavior mean. The humanities help people to forge strong connections, recognize commonalities, promote justice and tolerance, and engage in civic life.”
A message from Oklahoma Humanities executive director Ann Thompson:
Dear Friends and Supporters of Oklahoma Humanities,
(Recently) President Trump’s budget was released calling for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), our primary funder. As the state’s nonprofit affiliate of the NEH, we are calling on Oklahomans to help us save the NEH. Since 1971, Oklahoma Humanities has provided support for public programming based in the humanities disciplines that have helped us all to become better informed citizens and more aware of new perspectives. NEH funds are essential to our work and serve as seed money for local investment, helping communities and nonprofit organizations all across the state.
This is a rare occurrence to have the President’s budget call upon the elimination of the NEH and the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts). We are all learning more about the appropriations process and the unusual situation this presents us. Our civics education comes in handy here! As you know, the President’s budget may have a lot or no influence on Congress’ appropriations process. As Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), the Chair of the House Interior Appropriations Committee, through which the NEH is funded, stated in response to the release of President Trump’s budget:
“As outlined in the Constitution, the Congress, not the Executive Branch, has the ‘power of the purse.’ My Committee takes this responsibility very seriously. It is our job to analyze the request, go through each and every budget line, question every witness, and demand spending justifications on behalf of the taxpayers who are footing the bill. Only then can Congress put forward our own plan to fund the federal government, ensuring the wise investment of taxpayer dollars on important programs while trimming back or eliminating waste and duplication…It is up to this Congress to provide needed proper funding to federal programs to maintain our national security and to uphold our common American values.”
We are poised to begin action to let our elected officials in Congress know that NEH funding is important to our state. We’re launching an advocacy effort and you can help. Click here and we will send out news as we learn it and offer various ways you can be a “super advocate” for the NEH and Oklahoma Humanities. Thank you for your support, interest, and energy!
Ann Thompson, Executive Director
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