Democracy is not a
spectator sport


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 . . .

OTOC first summer training session is engaging and effective

June 25th, 2014

Rev Johnson leads July 14 2014 training session

Rev. Marshall Johnson, led an engaging and humorous training session on Monday, July 14th about how and why OTOC seeks to build a broad based of member organizations that have power to act together on issues of common concern. Nearly forty people from congregations, refugee groups, environmental coalitions attended the lively meeting.

This was the first of three training sessions for all those interested in learning how congregations and community leaders can develop relationships that have the power to create change.    Leadership development and organizing skills promote creative problem solving and collaboration – skills useful in the workplace and in congregational committees as well as any type of organizing.

You are invited to attend the upcoming sessions!   The following link contains a downloadable flyer with the details of each session, locations and times which you can copy and distribute to those who might be interested.Read More . . .

OPPD Decision on Energy closely tracks OTOC’s statement of position

June 19th, 2014

Leaders after Board MeetingTo see a copy of the OPPD 20 year generation plan adopted by the Board, click below:

Final OPPD Generation Plan June 2014

OTOC leaders celebrated the decision made by the Omaha Public Power District Board (OPPD) at their June 19th meeting to stop burning coal in North Omaha and commit the region’s energy future to increasing sustainable energy sources  and increasing efficiency and conservation in order to reduce overall demand.  

OTOC leaders were not satisfied with any of the 5 generation options that were presented to the OPPD Board in May. The World Herald wrote on June 9, ”

Laurie Gift, chairwoman of an environment-focused committee for Omaha Together One Community, doesn’t like that each scenario shows the proportion of renewable energy shrinking from one-third in 2018 to about one-fifth by 2033.Read More . . .

Download and circulate OTOC endorsement for more Sustainable Energy

June 12th, 2014

Leaders of OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team ASK that you download the pdf file below of our Statement to the OPPD Board and ask for people to sign it to express their support for the long term sustainability of our environment, economy and families.


You can also invite family and friends to sign the online version of this statement by copying and sending out this link in an e-mail:

June 9 OWH article: OTOC wants OPPD commitment to renewable energy

June 9th, 2014

June 9 article by the Omaha World Herald quoting Action Team Co-Chair Laurie Gift:

Omaha Public Power District begins to map plan for powering next 20 years

By Cody Winchester / World-Herald staff writer, June 9, 2014

The Omaha Public Power District is nearing some multimillion-dollar decisions that will alter how it produces power. The district estimates that over the next 20 years it will spend from $8.9 billion to $9.5 billion to generate power, including hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with new federal clean-air rules — including proposed limits on carbon dioxide emissions — and to satisfy customer demand for clean power and energy-efficiency programs.

OPPD has released five scenarios for achieving these goals through a mix of retrofitting coal plants with new emissions controls; refueling them with natural gas; retiring coal-fired units and opening a new gas plant; developing solar resources; and reducing demand through energy-efficiency programs.Read More . . .

Learn how to teach about Wellness in Nebraska and OPPD Energy mix on June 14

June 9th, 2014

Come to an informative training this Saturday, June 14th from 1:00 to 3:00 PM at Augustana Lutheran Church (3647 Lafayette Ave–2 blocks north of Cuming)

Primary Trainer on WIN: Mark Intermill, Executive Director, AARP-Nebraska
AARP-Nebraska is a lead organization on this issue and Mark is one of the most informed people in the State.  Half of the AARP’s members are between 50-65. They are finding it very hard to find full-time work with benefits. Mark has made scores of similar presentations and will be bringing us professional material to use in any presentation we might make at our congregations and organizations.
Here is a sample of Mark at work:
and for more go to
We will be targeting our presentations to OTOC member and affiliate organizations but once you are trained you can  reach out to anyone willing to listen.
Environmental Sustainability
We will also have representatives of the OTOC Environmental Action team with us and they will share information about the critical decisions OPPD will be making in the next few months about how they generate electricity. See the June 9 World Herald article  “Omaha Public Power District begins to map plan for powering next 20 years”  for more information about this critical decision and  the focus of OTOC’s work on this issue:
How you can use this training 
You can choose to participate in one or both of the training sessions  on Saturday, June 14th and you can choose to organize either or both of these sessions for your congregation or organization.
Once we have the trainers in place for both WIN & Environment we will see who has natural relationships with our member and other community organizations and begin scheduling training sessions this Summer and Fall.  Please contact thet OTOC office or  Mark Hoeger at for any questions you might have.


OTOC Leaders proposed 4 Energy Goals to OPPD Board

May 15th, 2014

Fifteen OTOC leaders attended the May 15 OPPD Board meeting and presented OTOC’s response to 5 proposed “Resource Options” that OPPD staff has developed for the Board to consider. The OPPD Board will be making a decision this summer about what types of fuel OPPD will use to generate electricity for this region.  OTOC leaders Elaine Wells, Jeanne Schuler, Mary Spurgeon and Laurie Gift presented the following 4 Goals and Testimony to the Board.

Members of the OPPD Board:

Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) is grateful for the opportunity to express to you both our appreciation and our concerns. Many of us have participated in the Stakeholders’ Process at open houses or via the online survey. OTOC is a coalition of 25 congregations, religious communities and other organizations which work together to improve living and working conditions for all residents of the metro area. Recently many Omaha area residents have joined together to promote environmental sustainability. Our faith traditions urge us to be good stewards of creation, and to speak up for the common good of all our neighbors and even future generations.Read More . . .

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