Over 230 people have attended the five OTOC Issue Cafes about the Death Penalty Referendum, OPPD and our Energy Future, Housing, the Crisis of Central American Refugees, the EPA Clean Power Plan and our fun evening of Mexican Bingo. To find a full listing of all the sessions, click on the document below:
OTOC is Urban Abbey’s community partner in January, 2016!! UA will contribute 10% of everything you buy from the coffee counter and 50% of every bag of coffee you buy during January to OTOC to support our work. Learn more about OTOC’s work on vital issues and help OTOC prepare for 2016 by coming to these lively discussions:
Thur. Jan. 28 at 7:00 p.m. – The EPA Clean Power Plan Environmental Bills in the Nebraska Legislature–20 attended
Duane Hovorka of the Nebraska Wildlife Federation lead an engaging workshop and discussion about the requirements of the the EPA Clean Power Plan that
Nebraska will have to meet by 2019. The audience had many questions but came away with a good understanding of how important this plan is to the future environmental sustainability of our state. Leaders also talked about several key bills that are pending in the Nebraska Unicameral, including LB 802 which would create a Sustainability Task Force to examine how to help our state adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Wed. Jan. 20 at 7:00 p.m. – Refugees in Omaha–47 people attended
Immigration lawyer Gary Walters from JFON and and Brian Blackford from the Refugee Empowerment Center Board led participants through a discussion of the legal and political landscape facing women and children who fled to the US borders to escape violence in Central America. A family from El Salvador came to share the heart breaking story of why they fled to the US. Staff of the Refugee Empowerment Center invited those in attendance to learn more about how they can become involved to make Omaha a more welcoming place for new refugee families.
OTOC leaders opened the session with small group discussions about why decent housing matters to those who came to the workshop. They then discussed OTOC’s work on the Vacant Property Registration, Land Bank and other issues affecting the quality of housing in Omaha. They asked the group what still needs to be done to improve housing and revitalize neighborhoods in our older communities. They shared the information sheet they developed about and how to file a complaint about a vacant or abandoned building under the new ordnance and what happens after a complaint has been filed.
Wed . Jan 13 at 7:00 p.m.—Organizing a smart energy future–42 people attended
OTOC led a lively discussion about the recent decision of the OPPD Board to raise their fixed fees from $10.25 to $30 per month. The participants examined the recent history leading to this decision, the reactions of the Board and public to the efforts of OTOC and others to convince the board to delay and reconsider their decision. The group examined possible next steps to deal with the impacts of the rate restructuring and what can be done to organize for a smart energy future in Omaha. Leaders of the Environmental Action team will continue to assess OTOC’s ongoing work on this issue.
Despite O degree weather and the tragic fire in Old Market blazing two blocks away, 45 people came to Urban Abbey to enjoy an entertaining evening of Mexican Bingo (Lotería), great Mexican food buffet and good times with OTOC leaders and community friends. Brianne Kemp and Denis Forest of Church of the Resurrection organized the food, prizes and fun that warmed us from the cold. The group opened the evening with prayer for the families and businesses affected by the fire and continue to keep them in our prayers.
OTOC and community leaders met with Alternatives for the Death Penalty Executive Director Steve Griffith and and Board member Marilyn Felion. The saw the award winning video created by a Creighton graduate student and learned more about the upcoming November referendum about whether we will retain the Unicameral’s repeal of the Death Penalt.