Democracy is not a
spectator sport

Archive for August, 2016

85 faith leaders and community rallied on Sept 1 to call for an end to indefinite detention of women and children seeking political asylum

August 18th, 2016

Jeanne Schuler“Crossing the border to ask for asylum is not a crime!”

That was the message that over 80 women religious, priests, pastors and OTOC leaders delivered to Congressman Brad Ashford and other members of Congress. Fifty people agreed to contact the offices of Nebraska Representatives and Senators over the next several months and recruit at least 4 more people to ask Congress to forcefully advocate for the end of protracted detention of  women and children seeking asylum.

image of babyOTOC leaders Jeanne Schuler, local Attorney Dan Rock  and Sr. Kathleen Erickson, RSM gave passionate presentations about this practice that is unjust and a very  expensive way to handle women and children who come to our borders to seek asylum, seeking relief from gang violence in Central America.

To see their moving statements, go to OTOC’s Facebook page at: OTOC Facebook Page

Local media outlets covered this issue and our action in these stories:

Fr. Andy

Channel 6

Groups urge Congress to better asylum seekers housing



Fox 42

Group trying to help people seeking asylum

Fox 42 Becka’s Beat:

Becka’s Beat: When Babies are Criminals

Grace: She came to America seeking asylum and ended up in what felt like prison

Grace: She came to America seeking asylum and ended up in what felt like prison

Dan RockUse these tools to end detention

Flyer for Diapers in Detention September 2016

Circulate this form to gather 5 people opposed to detention

Contact Information for Nebraska Delegation

Background Information

World Refugee Day 2016 Fact Sheet about Women in Detention

CLINIC 2015 Description of Detention

The administration’s Billion $ deal

“Why Is the Obama Administration Keeping Toddlers Behind Bars?” from The Nation

Impact of Long Term Detention of Women and Children

Sr Kathleen

Our speakers encouraged people across Omaha to tell our elected officials:

“Mothers and children who have fled horrific violence are being held, locked up, against their will. They can’t defend themselves as they have no resources and the language barriers are great.

It’s time to end this practice.  There are more humane, community based alternatives to these costly detention centers where  tax payers are paying  top dollar to private corrections corporations for each person held.”      

240 diverse leaders come together for powerful Interfaith Solidarity Service

August 1st, 2016

Over 240 packed Augustana Lutheran Church on Thursday August 4th for an Interfaith Solidarity Service. OTOC leaders worked with Institute for Public Leaders, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and other faith leaders to organize this powerful evening of prayer, song and statements of solidarity that we can overcome violence to have more peace-filled communities.Large crowd from front

The evening featured song, reflection and prayer from Christian, Jewish and Muslim  faith communities in Omaha.

The Interfaith Solidarity Service was led by Rabbi Steven Abraham of Beth El Synagogue, Rev. Jan Peterson of Augustana Lutheran Church, Rev. Tony Sanders of Koinonia House of Worship, Rev. Marshall Johnson of St. Luke United Methodist, Imam Samyr El-Refaie of the Millard Islamic Center.women praying

The evening opened with powerful Gospel songs lead by the Koinonia Praise Team and a Call to Prayer by Dr. Sakeer Hussain of the Omaha Islamic Center. Leaders from each of the faith traditions also led Prayers of Petition for our community

One of the emotional high points was the singing of the “El Rabbi and HussanMalei Rachamim” while photos of dozens of Omaha murder victims since 2015 were flashed across a large screen. Hazzan Michael Krausman of Beth El Synagogue sang the powerful song which is usually sung a  Jewish funerals.

Another was when 20 clergy gathered to lay hands on two officers representing Omaha Police Department as those present prayed for the safety of officers and a healing of the relationships between OPD and our community.

police prayer close upRev. Tony Sanders ended the evening with a call for all present to become involved in working across lines that divide us to create stronger communities.



All present were invited to sign up to continue working together and over 120 turned in cards indicating they wanted to continue

Sweating Together, Talking Together and Acting Together

Click on this link to learn more about these activities:

Link to Interfaith receive information about Interfaith Solidarity Activities

Forty OTOC leaders attend August 8 Training Preparing for a Candidate Accountability Session

August 1st, 2016

Click on the link below for a pdf of the Oct 17 Draft Agenda and questions


Forty leaders of Omaha Together One Community met on Monday, August 8 at 7:00 p.m. at Augustana Lutheran (3647 Lafayette Ave) to learn how to prepare for a large Candidate Accountability Session. The LeCloser upad organizer from AMOS, our sister organization from Des Moines, lead an information and interactive workshop which taught leaders how to prepare for and hold a non-partisan Candidate Accountability Session with hundreds of people present to seek the firm public commitment of candidates for office around issues of common concern.

OTOC will hold Accountability Sessions this Fall with:

  • Candidates for Unicameral–Thursday, Sept 29 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Candidates for OPPD Dt. 5–October 17 @ 7 pm at St. Leo the Great
  • Candidates for US Congress--October 17 @ 7 pMike M & Sarita question Gwen Aspenm at St. Leo the Great

Liz Hall close upLiz emphasized again the importance of TURNOUT  to make these actions successful. She reminded the OTOC leaders that they want to ask all candidates to say YES to their questions which have come out of months of individual meetings, house meetings, research actions and preparation by OTOC and community leaders.

Nonprofit Advocacy Training

August 1st, 2016

NonProfit Advoacy Training Picture

On Wednesday, July 27th eight OTOC and IPL affiliated leaders attended a training workshop on nonprofit advocacy and lobbying. The full day training workshop was organized by the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands and was hosted on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Included in the workshop were three informative and interactive sessions:

Nonprofit Lobbying 101: This session emphasized the importance of lobbying in order to advance missions and achieve policy goals as a nonprofit organization. The session was extremely educational and outlined the parameters in which nonprofits may operate when engaging in non-partisan lobbying.

Nonprofit Lobbying 201: The second session provided insight into how the Unicameral operates, including processes like bill introductions, committee hearings, priority bills, and floor debates. It later described how the state budget operates and impacts our missions and concluded with ideas about how to confront the issues posed by monetary policy.

Nonpartisan Voter Engagement for Nonprofits: The final session highlighted the role nonprofits can play in boosting civic participation and voter turnout among people who care about and are affected by various issues and ideals. Attendees were given information and ideas for how to effectively provide resources to make voting as easy as possible for the greater community.

OTOC and IPL participants found the workshop extremely beneficial and they look forward to sharing what they learned with you!

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