When Oklahoma City Councilwoman Nikki Nice enters a room, people take notice. Statuesque and graceful, she projects a sense of gentle strength and dignity. Pride in her heritage and care for her community permeate everything she does.
Born and raised in Oklahoma City’s Ward 7, Nice learned early the value of service from her mother, who regularly visited sick and shut-in seniors, lent a hand where she could and wrapped loving arms around friends, neighbors, family, even strangers in need. “She was and is an example of what service means, what community means, what family means, what extended family means,” Nice says.
Having received a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting from historic Langston University, Nice spent more than a decade in radio and television prior to her 2018 election to the Oklahoma City Council. Most recently, she was an on-air personality at Heart & Soul 92.1 and Power 103.5.
She is the 10th woman to serve on the Oklahoma City Council and the second woman of color following Willa Johnson, who sat on the council for 14 years through the 1990s and early 2000s. It is trailblazers such as Johnson and Clara Luper, and of course her mother, Roberta, that Nice considers role models, she said.
Nice, who won her run-off election by 71.8 percent of the vote, sums up her vision for Ward 7 and Oklahoma City as cohesive compassion – where growth and action are driven by intentional generosity and empathy.
IN HER WORDS
If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would that be?
Ever-evolving. Every day there is something new, every day there is a new challenge, every day there is a new opportunity, every day I learn more about myself.
What are the things that give you inspiration or bring you joy in the work that you do for the city?
The thing that gives me joy is knowing that I can be a conduit of service … and to stand and preserve our Black history in the community, and honor and recognize a community – give space to people who have not been able to tell the stories that are relevant to our communities and relevant to our city’s fabric. I get joy by working with other council members. I get joy with working with our mayor. I get joy with, every day, meeting someone new. I get joy to be a person who can give back to the community and the city that has given so much to me.
Where do you see OKC’s greatest potential for growth?
Diversity – diversity and inclusion. There’s always a better opportunity for diversity and inclusion. We have been named a Top 25 big city, so our diversity and inclusion should also reflect that. I see great opportunities in that. Actually, I see great opportunities in reconciling and telling our story: how Oklahoma was founded, how Oklahoma City has come to be where it is. We have to tell the good, bad and ugly in order for us to truly to become that top city that we try to be for Oklahoma and for the country.
What would you like OKC to look like in 10 years?
I would like to see a different city in terms of how we are taking care of each other. I would like to see us continue the path of diversity and inclusion – but as we continue that path, our city council and city government should reflect that. The ward that I serve, it is a large ward and in 10 years I do want to see better connection overall. I know it looks separate right now [between] the northeast community and the other parts of our ward and city. But I would like to see more cohesiveness. I know in 10 years we will see a better, more interconnected city.