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Race Matters Conference: A Starting Point for Action on Racial Equity

Last week, Voices for Children in Nebraska convened more than 275 people to tackle race equity issues in our state.  The Race Matters conference was a tremendous success, with amazing keynote speakers and a strong array of breakout sessions designed to inform, educate and motivate participants to action.

We decided to host this conference in conjunction with the Partners for Race and Equity in order to tackle the systemic challenges contributing to Nebraska’s below average performance in opportunities for children of color.

As we all know, there are various approaches to race. These approaches include racial equity which is focused on policies and practices, prejudice reduction, anti-racism, healing, reconciliation, diversity, multiculturalism and civic engagement. While all of these approaches are important and part of a multi-pronged approach to addressing racial disparities, the approach of this conference was racial equity— focusing on policies and practices. Racial Equity uses systems thinking.  Individuals are not viewed as “bad actors” but as an interconnected system that involves everyone. We all play a part in what is occurring in Nebraska and we can all help to change it.

The Race Matters Conference moved us forward as we convened stakeholders from a variety of sectors to receive training on the Racial Equity Impact Analysis and develop action plans to tackle existing racial disparities.

If you could not attend this event, and wish to be engaged on these issues moving forward, we encourage you to check out the power point presentations from this event.

Starting tomorrow, Voices for Children will be running a series of blogs highlighting what was covered at the Race Matters Conference in each of the focus areas. These focus areas include child welfare, economic security, juvenile justice, education and health.

Dr. Robert Simmons and Carolyn Rooker

I want to extend my personal thanks to everyone who made the Race Matters conference a success, including our presenting sponsor, The Cooper Foundation. I also want to thank our other sponsors, including The Sherwood Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Boys Town, Nebraska Families Collaborative, Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, the University of Nebraska Omaha Academic and Student Affairs Division of Inclusion & Multicultural Affairs, Creighton University and Urban League of Nebraska.

I also want to thank our presenters, facilitators and all who participated in this conference and helped us accomplish our objectives.

Voices for Children looks forward to continuing our work on issues of racial equity as part of our ongoing mission to build pathways to opportunity for ALL children.

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