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OTOC and IPL held five engaging events at Urban Abbey during July

June 26th, 2017

Institute for Public Leadership partnered with OTOC to hold 5 great events at Urban Abbey during July. The events included both celebrations of our culture though song and stories, a workshop on writing letters to the editor and safe rental housing, and discussion of a provocativeKyle Knapp new book.

Friday, July 14: Kyle Knapp played a delightful blend of folk, rock and pop on his acoustic guitar to 35 OTOC leaders and fans.  Kyle told stories and shared classic folk songs and some of his own compositions. Come see Kyle again a future OTOC and IPL events.

Tues., July 18: Juan Carlos Veloso shared Spanish language protest music from Jaun CarlosLatin America, and especially songs from Chile, his native country. Juan Carlos’ mother joined us that evening along with 32 friends and OTOC leaders. He taught us about the struggles of many Latin Americans for justice.

 

Thurs. July 20: Kaitlin Reece of Voices for Children and Tyler Richard of ACLU Katilin Reeseof Nebraska taught 20 engaged leaders how to develop an effective Letter to the Editor and Opinion piece to submit to local newspapers, newsletters and other sources of information.  This informative session inspired those present to write more letters on issues of interest.

Tues., July 25:  How To Assure Safe Rental Housing Leaders of OTOC’s Housing Action Team  hosted Kat Vinton from the  Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance and Prof Kate Mahern of the Creighton Law School legal clinic to discuss the dangers to children from poorly maintained rental housing. OTOC leaders focusedfoKat and Katecus on how to make Omaha’s Housing Code Enforcement more effective and follow up on commitments City Council members made to OTOC to assure rental housing meets health and safety codes. Over 40 people from diverse groups attended this session.

Thurs. July 27  Twenty Five OTOC leaders gathered to discuss the implications of the provocative new book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the 20th Century , by Timothy Snyder.  Mary Spurgeon of First United Methodist lead the discussion around the ideas in the short but important book. IPL and OTOC will hold a future book discussion in the Fall.

 

OTOC to hold July 10 training–developing a team of leaders at your institution to agitate your vision

June 26th, 2017

Join OTOC on Monday, July 10 for “Organizing a team of leaders to agitate your institution to live up to your shared values” on Monday, July 10 @ 7pm—8:30 pm at  Augustana Lutheran 3647 Lafayette Ave

Liz Hall, Lead Organizer of our Iowa sister organization, AMOS, will lead an engaging workshop on how to identify and develop a team of leaders in your congregation or organization which will “agitate” your institution to live up to its core values and beliefs. During this time of divisiveness, learn how to build community through discussion and honest reflection on our shared beliefs and values.

Closer up

Six of seven next City Council members commit to work with OTOC

May 5th, 2017
OTOC Audience from the front

350 OTOC Delegates filled St. Leo the Great Hall on May 1

At a May 01 Accountability session, six of the the seven winning candidates for City Council made commitments to 350 OTOC leaders. All Candidates were invited, Mayor Stothert  declined and Vinny Palermo had an OPS School Board meeting but has agreed to meet in the future. Our new City Council agreed to work with OTOC leaders on:

  • Improving Housing Code Enforcement in Rental Housing
  • Ending the Commingling of Yard Waste and Garbage
  • Ensuring Omaha Police are free to act as local peace officers, not immigration agents
  • Reigning in the predatory practices of Pay Day Lenders

Read More . . .

350 OTOC Delegates meet with 12 Candidates for Mayor and City Council

May 5th, 2017

OTOC Audience from the frontFinal Summary of How Candidates Answered OTOC’s Questions.pub

  A standing room audience of 350 packed the hall at St. Leo the Great Church on Monday, May 1 to hear OTOC leaders ask Mayoral Candidate Heath Mello and candidates for all 7 City Council Districts for commitments to work with OTOC on 4 issues affecting the quality of life in our City.

OTOC leaders asked candidates for specific commitments around:

Read More . . .

See Questions and Fact Sheets that OTOC presented to Candidates on May 1

April 8th, 2017

Mayoral Candidate Heath Mello and 11 of the 13 candidates for Omaha City Council attended the OTOC City Candidate Accountability Session on Monday, May 1 at 7 pm at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church (102nd and Blondo).  Mayor Jean Stothert declined to attend this non-partisan, issue oriented session.

The only City Council candidates not attending were Vinny Palermo (Dist 4) who had an OPS School Board meeting on May 1 and college student Grant Sturek (Dist 1).

OTOC  Asked Candidates to support our positions on:

  • Safe Rental Housing

  • Yard Waste Recycling

  • Regulating Pay Day Lending

  • Omaha Police Policy toward Immigrants & Refugees

Read More . . .

Thanks for making this the best OTOC Celebration of Community Ever

March 5th, 2017

“Share Our Passion”

Thanks to the 500 people who attended  OTOC Celebrating Community on April 1, our most successful annual event to date.

Clergy at the barThanks also to the many OTOC leaders who dedicated themselves to  organizing and planning and planning the evening.

And thanks to our three wonderful entertainers, numerous local businesses and individuals who believe in us enough to be our sponsors and who donated over 300 items in our silent auction.

full house framed by headsRead More . . .

60+ come to Immigration and Refugee Issues Cafe

February 17th, 2017
IMG_2072

Amelia Rosser of Refugee Empowerment C enter and Shane Ellison of Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) shared their experience and expertise with 60+ leaders

Over sixty OTOC and community leaders met at Urban Abbey on February 15 to learn about three of the latest Executive Orders that are aimed at changing the immigration and refugee landscape. This Issues Cafe was lead by the OTOC Immigration and Refugee action team, and featured speakers Shane Ellison, Chief Counsel at Justice for Our Neighbors, and Amelia Rosser from Refugee Empowerment Center.

IMG_2002

Sr. Kathleen Erickson, RSM opened with meditation

Ellison provided a thorough but understandable overview of the profound changes in policy that these executive orders embody. OTOC leaders identified a number of next steps which people can take to stand with Immigrants and Refugees. Click below to see those actions:

Final Next Steps for Feb 15 Immigration Issue Cafe’

 

Join OTOC on Monday, January 20 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 62nd and Dodge for a Light the Way Vigil  for  Refugees and Immigrants. OTOC  will prayerfully  demonstrate that we want fair policies, based on fact not fear.

2017 Issue Cafe crowdHere is a brief explanation of what we learned. We encourage you to follow THIS LINK to a more thorough summary of the changes brought about by the Executive Orders.  Below is a short overview:

  1. Enhancing Public Safety in The Interior Of The United States
    1. The executive order does not and cannot change the grounds of deportation. People who have status may only be deported if they are removable under our current immigration laws and ineligible for relief from removal.
    2. New Enforcement Priorities include: Those who are removable AND those who have violated a list of wide ranging crimes.

      (See pdf link)

    3. Revives the constitutionally-suspect Secure Communities program.
    4.  Seeks to compel states and localities to enforce federal immigration laws.
    5. Directs DHS to hire an additional 10,000 ICE officers.
    6. Seeks to punish sanctuary jurisdictions.
  2. Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements
    1. Directs DHS to allocate funds for construction of a wall on the southern border.
    2. Directs DHS to immediately construct detention facilities near the southern border to accommodate increased number of immigrant detainees in custody.
    3. Announces policy to detain those suspected of violating immigration law and expeditiously process claims for relief. Ends practice of paroling in asylum seekers.
    4. Expands application of “expedited removal” procedure throughout the country to individuals who have not been admitted or paroled into the US who cannot prove to DHS that they have been continuously present for at least two years.
  3. Protecting The Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States:
    1. Suspends refugee admissions for at least 120 days, and prioritizes protection for religious minorities moving forward.
    2. Reduces the number of refugees to be admitted in FY 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000.
    3. Bans Syrian refugees indefinitely.
    4. Bans immigrant and non-immigrant entries for at least 90 days for nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
    5. Suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program.

Rep Bacon Joins Climate Solutions Caucus to keep pledge to OTOC

February 10th, 2017
b-and-a-close-up

OTOC leaders asked specific, issue oriented questions to both Rep. Ashford and Candidate Don Bacon at the non-partisan Accountability Session

In October, at the OTOC Accountability Session, Congressional candidate Don Bacon pledged to meet with OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Team and to join the bi-partisan Climate Solutions Caucus, should he win the seat for Nebraska’s  2nd Congressional district. This unique caucus requires that a Republican and Democrat join at the same time so there equal numbers from each party at all times. Rep Bacon is the first member of Congress from either party from the Midwest to join the Climate Solutions Caucus.Read More . . .

Call your Senator to Reform Pay Day Lending

February 10th, 2017

OTOC Call to Action      

Call you Senator today to support LB194, a bipartisan bill being sponsored by two freshman Senators, Tony Vargas (District 7) and Lou Ann Linehan (District 39). The bill aims to protect our most vulnerable Nebraskans while allowing the pay day lending industry to remain profitable in the state.
Rev Shreve

Rev Scott Shreve of St. Paul UMC represented OTOC asking the Unicameral to reform Pay Day Lending

 Click on the links  below to learn more:

OTOC Call to Action

How to reign in Pay Day Lending LB 194

How the Debt Trap works

These Omaha Area Senators are on the Banking Committee and will decide if LB 194 gets a vote by the Unicameral. Let them know what you think.

Sen. Brett Linstrom, District 18 & Chair
Phone: (402) 471-2618
Email: blindstrom@leg.ne.gov

Read More . . .

Over 1500 pray, sing and organize in solidarity at Prayer Vigil for refugees

January 31st, 2017

It was a great crowd of over 1,500 people at Turner ParLarge crowdk for the Refugee Prayer Vigil on January 31st. It was a time of prayer, teaching, story telling and exhorting us to take risks to love our neighbor and welcome the stranger.

Comments on Facebook following the vigil were all like these:

“A moving and beautiful evening showing our support and love to our refugee and immigrant neighbors.”

“Very moving evening, seeing so many people of different races, backgrounds, and faiths coming together in the name of peace and unity. This is what my America looks like!”

I am an immigrantThanks to faith leaders including:

  • Fr. Daniel Hendrickson, S.J  of Creighton University,
  • Bishop Brian Maas of the ELCA,
  • Rabbi Steven Abraham of Beth El Synagogue,
  • Rev. Eric Elnes of Countryside Community
  • Deacon Marty Smith of St. Margaret Mary Catholic
  •   for teaching and praying and calling on us all to heed God’s injunction to welcome the stranger
    Rabbi Abraham

    Rabbi Steven Abraham of Beth El Synagogue

And also to:

  • Rev Jane Florence and Rev Cynthia Lindenmeyer of First UMC
  • Sr. Katheen Erickson, RSM
  • Rev. Ernesto Medina, of St. Martha Episcopal, Papillion
  • Rev. Sergio Amaya of San Andres Lutheran
  • Rev. Cyndi Simpson, of Second Unitarian Church
  • Rev. Scott Jones of First Congregational

For leading powerful prayers asking God’s love for refugees, for those who persecute them, for immigration and elected officials and for all of us so that we have the courage to welcome the stranger.

Thanks to our Partners

Thanks especially to the staff of Lutheran Family Services and Refugee Empowerment Center who worked with OTOC and IPL to organize this vigil and especially for Lacey Studnicka of LFS for her tireless efforts to pull it all together. And thanks to other organizations who invited their networks including Nebraska Appleseed, ACLU, Anti-Defamation League

Media Coverage included

Omaha World Herald

http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/uno-professor-forced-to-flee-bosnian-war-tells-midtown-vigil/article_8433ae6a-5c9a-510e-9cc3-690d9397f6cb.html

KMTV

http://www.kmtv.com/news/local-news/omaha-groups-host-vigil-to-support-local-refugees

KETV

http://www.ketv.com/article/1000-plus-pack-turner-park-for-refugee-prayer-vigil/8661451

WOWT

http://www.wowt.com/content/news/Peaceful-actions-taken-to-support-refugees-and-immigrants-412365203.html



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