Former Rose State College Regent Jim Howell listens while Law Day Speaker Reggie Whitten speaks with President Jeanie Webb at a recent luncheon in honor of Law Day, May 1. Photo by Kenneth Beachler
Laws are what bind us together as a nation and allow us to write, speak and gather freely, but require regular maintenance, an attorney told Rose State College faculty, staff and students Tuesday.
Slated as the college’s Law Day speaker, attorney Reggie Whitten, co-founder and Managing Partner of the Whitten Burrage law firm, told a capacity crowd at the college’s Student Center that the United States’ system of laws, courts and enforcement allows peace and prosperity, but that such is “not guaranteed.”
Whitten said the system requires regular participation to work properly. He gestured to the lunch guests, noting that they were meeting in a college, eating together without fear of violence. He said having mutually agreed-upon rules, with responsible law enforcement, allows honesty and openness to bestow peace.
“The country that we live into day is great, but that is not an automatic right,” Whitten said. “What gives us the right to sit in here today and gather peacefully? To have this coffee? To have this lunch? It’s the Rule of Law.”
In addition to his work as a trial attorney, Whitten talked about the death of his son and others due to addiction.
He talked about how a nonprofit organization he helped form, “FATE,” or Fighting Addiction Through Education, is trying to reform laws and educate the public about treatment of addiction as a disease. He connected his ability to conduct such work to the power of law, and the dignity that the law confers on an individual to change his or her outcomes.
“In many countries, they do not have the rule of law. They do not have the right of free speech, and to be able to get together and say what comes to mind,” Whitten said.
The event was in conjunction with the Midwest City Rotary Club and sponsored by the Rose State College Foundation’s James F. Howell Country Lawyer Lectureship.
Thu, May 1, 2014
by Ben Fenwick