For more than 28 years, Voices for children has been working on issues facing children in the areas of juvenile justice, child welfare, economic stability and health. We are passionate about fairness and justice for all kids. Through the data in our annual kids count report, we have become increasingly concerned about the racial disparities we see in all these areas.
In an effort to address these issues, Voices for Children has partnered with community organizations to discuss the need for hosting a state wide conference that will allow for the space and necessary dialogue around the system level changes that can be made to help with these disparities in Nebraska.
The community partners met on May 7th to discuss race and equity issues and to focus on conference planning in preparation for this statewide conference.
The national Race Matters Institute facilitated the day at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center.
Over 50 committed community partners engaged in dialogue around the various approaches to race. These approaches included 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 the conference in December will be 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.
Using this approach, participants were trained on using the Racial Equity Impact Analysis tool which equips organizations and individuals to look at policies and practices to ensure that they are equitable for everyone.
It is our goal that the upcoming conference will provide awareness on our Nebraska racial history, an awareness of what is happening now and a vision for necessary change in the future. The conference is also intended to provide training on tools such as the Racial Equity Impact Analysis and to develop an action plan for moving forward in the years to come. Please save the date of December 3rd and 4th at the Embassy Suites, in La Vista. More information to come.