Democracy is not a
spectator sport


3rd Annual Refugee Cultural Night on Sat. Nov 15 at 5:30 pm & Refugee and Immigrant Table Talk on Tues Nov. 18

October 27th, 2014

Omaha Together One Community, Institute for Public Leadership (IPL)  and 9 refugee communities invite you to attend the Third Annual Refugee Cultural Night, a celebration of music, song, dance and snacks from the diverse refugee communities of Omaha.Read More . . .

Forty OTOC leaders attended Oct 20 IMA Candidate Forum and others to attend Nov 8 FUMC Poverty Forum

October 16th, 2014

Rev Williams in fron of the crowdForty OTOC leaders participated in a  candidate forum sponsored by the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA)  Monday, October 20 at 6:30 pm at the MCC Fort Omaha Campus. IMA asked members of OTOC’s Immigration Action Team to ask candidates for US Senate and House a question about immigration. Action Team Leader Dave Pedersen asked candidates what they would do to push for comprehensive immigration reform if they were elected to Congress. He also asked that if substantial reform appears to be impossible in a gridlocked Congress, whether they would support Executive Action by the Administration to extend deferred action to adults with long history of living in the US without legal problems and with many ties to the community.

  Other Topics raised by members of the audience included:Read More . . .

225 OTOC leaders came to Oct 6 Accountability Session with candidates for Lt. Governor and Unicameral

September 11th, 2014

Crowd scene from the sideIt was a full house at the First UMC Commons on October 6.  OTOC leaders Mark Hoeger of Augustana Lutheran and Sarita Penka of St. Leo the Great chaired a 95 minute Candidate Accountability Session with a candidate for Lt. Governor and 6 candidates for the Nebraska Unicameral. OTOC Action Teams made short presentations and told personal stories about 5 issues and then ask candidates to commit to:

Assure Health Care coverage for all Nebraska families

Improve Mental Health Care delivery to those who need it

Make Driver’s Licenses available to immigrants qualified under federal lawRead More . . .

OPPD Candidates hold lively conversation with 85 OTOC leaders

August 29th, 2014

Sept 8 Crowd 3Over 85 people attended an OTOC “Conversation with OPPD Candidates” on Monday, September 8 at St. Pius X Parish Hall. Leaders of the new OTOC Environmental Sustainability Action team organized the meeting with candidates which attracted a group of leaders from diverse congregations across the metropolitan Omaha area.

Candidates Tim Gay and Krystle Craig from District 3 representing Bellevue, Papillion and LaVista and Anne McGuire representing District 2 in Central Omaha participated in the meeting. All candidates in each of the 3 districts up for election this Fall were invited but the other candidates declined the invitation to attend.Read More . . .

Issue Cafe at Urban Abbey draw 160+ community leaders

August 21st, 2014

Over 160 people attended  five “Issue Cafe” discussions about Housing, Economic issues, Immigration, Mental Health & Environment

For a downloadable list of these issue meetings, click here:

OTOC Issues Cafe Schedule

OTOC was Urban Abbey’s community partner in September!!  UA will contribute 10% of  everything purchased at the coffee counter and 100% of every bag of coffee bought during September to OTOC to support our work. OTOC leader Carol Beaty worked with Action Team leaders to schedule this slate of lively discussions:Read More . . .

OTOC leaders testify in support of $1.1 Million for demolition & Land Bank

August 13th, 2014

Housing Action Teams Chairs Gloria Austerberry and Karen McElroy and member Ian Fallon testified at the annual City of Omaha Budget hearing Tuesday evening. Fifteen OTOC leaders were present as Ian Fallon showed “before” and “after” pictures of a house in the 3000 block of Burt that had been a blight on the neighborhood for 5 years  before it was demolished in 2013.

photo of Ian FallonHe also showed photos of an abandoned fourplex on Turner Blvd, across the from the heavily used tennis courts at Dewey Park. The abandoned fourplex was demolished by the city in early August at a cost of $27,500 after the owner refused to take responsibility for his property.  Karen McElroy returned to a proposal that the City Council create a Vacant Property ordinance requiring that owners register any property that has been left vacant over an established number of months. This would allow the City fire and police officers to know that there should be no activity in or around the building and helps prevent firemen from entering the structure if it is on fire. It is also a means to put pressure on the property owners to decide what they will do with property.

Gloria Austerberry testified that the City of Omaha needs to adopt a policy of trying to recover the cost of demolishing abandoned structures from owners who have multiple properties that they have abandoned. Austerberry showed asked why the City of Omaha should be stuck paying $27,500 in public funds when the owner of that property owns several other apartment houses in the city.

Over 150 clergy and faith leaders sign statement supporting children fleeing violence

August 2nd, 2014

OTOC leaders have drafted and begun circulating  a statement in support of children who are fleeing to our borders due to violence in their home countries. Now, in less than a week,  over 150 leaders including 90 clergy, women religious or heads of faith based organizations have signed the statement of support. OTOC will work with our allies to continue circulating a  statement of support for refugee youth in congregations and community organizations throughout the state so that our federal legislators understand that Nebraskans want the refugee children to be treated humanely and receive due process in our immigration courts.Read More . . .

3 OTOC immigration leaders involved in recent World Herald article, guest column, pulse letter

July 28th, 2014

Sr. Kathleen leads the meeting

Sr. Kathleen Erickson, RSM, an active member of the OTOC Immigration Action Team, was featured in July 25th article by Erin Grace. Sr. Kathleen helped OTOC organize a July 6 workshop which featured Mercy Associate Aida Gonzalez Melana whom Sr. Kathleen met when she spent five weeks in San Pedro Sula, Honduras–the murder capital of the world.  Professor Dave Weber of Creighton Law School and  Kelly Tadeo Orbik of the Creighton Center for Service and Justice added their expertise to the meeting.  Read the recent article below and see photos of Sr. Kathleen in action at the July 6 meeting.  Sr. Kathleen is organizing a reading group to understand the social, economic and political history that explain why so many children are fleeing to the U.S. border. Contact OTOC for more information.Read More . . .

OTOC leaders show support and City Council creates Omaha Land Bank

July 14th, 2014

Amanda Brewer at mic

OTOC’s Housing and Revitalization Action Team worked with OTOC Solidarity member, Habitat for Humanity, to organize a slate of 9 speakers to testify at the City Council Hearing.  The 9 speakers, representing faith, community, business and housing leaders, presented short, informative statements which effectively built the case for why Council should vote to create the land bank.

OTOC Housing Action Team Co-chair Gloria Austerberry began the testimony referring to the diverse leaders who would follow her by saying, “OTOC wants the land bank to be a means by which diverse groups can collaborate to speed the transformation of vacant spaces into vibrant places!” According to World Herald reporter, Chris Burbach:Read More . . .

110 people attended OTOC workshop about CHILDREN FLEEING CENTRAL AMERICA

July 6th, 2014

There was an overwhelming response on Sunday, July 6 from Omahans wanting to know why so many children are fleeing Central America

photo of crowdOver 110 people attended an OTOC workshop on Sunday, July 6 at St. Leo the Great to hear first-hand about how violence and  human rights violations  in Honduras are resulting in the unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied minors fleeing that country to the U.S.  Mercy Associate Aida Gonzalez Melana  shared her experience of living in Honduras where she witnesses  regular violence that is the result of a failed state where there is no effective police force and there is increasing gang activity. These dynamics are related to the  extreme poverty of most families and exploitation of the poor by powerful economic interests. Professor David Weber of Creighton Law School explained the humanitarian and legal framework that the U.S. has  for handling unaccompanied minors who cross the U.S. border and why that system is currently overwhelmed by the 50,000 children who have fled Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador this year.Read More . . .

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