Motown legend Gladys Knight will headline a gala this week to raise money for an Oklahoma City University project.
The event is a fundraiser for Oklahoma Innocence Project, an Oklahoma City University School of Law initiative that seeks to exonerate wrongly convicted inmates.
Brook Arbeitman, a spokeswoman for the law school, said the initiative is similar to the original Innocence Project, which is affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardoza School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York.
“The goal of the Oklahoma Innocence Project is to identify and rectify cases of wrongful conviction,” Arbeitman said.
Unlike the New York-based initiative, which only works on cases involving DNA evidence, the Oklahoma project handles any case where credible evidence of an inmate's innocence exists, Arbeitman said.
The highlight of the gala will be Knight's performance, which will include classics such as “I Heard It through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1973.
Also during the gala, the law school will present the Beacon of Justice Award to former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson; former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer and his wife, Becky; and R. Cullen and Bonnie Thomas. The school presents the award annually to those it identifies as demonstrating leadership in seeking to rectify and prevent wrongful convictions.
The gala is at 6 p.m. Thursday at Farmers Public Market, 311 S Klein Ave. Tickets are $150 per person. All proceeds go to support Oklahoma Innocence Project, which is funded solely by private donations. To purchase tickets, go to law.okcu.edu and click on “A Night for the Innocent.”