Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and community partners today invited the public to a free virtual event at 11:30 a.m. Monday, September. 28 on the topic “Invitation to a Journey of Belonging: Creating Cultures of Equity and Inclusion.” The keynote speaker will be john a. powell, the founding Director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley and an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, housing, poverty, and democracy. The event is part of the Mayor’s One Lincoln initiative.
“We are in the midst of a national reckoning with the realities of deep-seated inequity and cultural and social division in American society,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “While our response to this national reckoning must include a re-evaluation of policies, programs, and systems, change must also come from within our community’s culture and within ourselves.” She noted that powell’s keynote will address how Lincoln can become a national model for community-wide change by supporting individuals in bridging across differences and divides and in building connections with one another.
The program will also feature video participation by University of Nebraska-Lincoln men’s basketball head coach Fred Hoiberg and some of his players, as well as by residents who are working toward building a community of inclusion and belonging. Immediately following the address, Professor Anna Shavers, Cline Williams Professor of Citizenship Law and former Dean at the University of Nebraska College of Law, and Dr. Jeannette Eileen Jones, Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies at UNL, will provide reflections.
The Mayor thanked the Malone Center, the Bansal Charitable Fund, and Nelnet Foundation for sponsoring the event. The Mayor also thanked Marthaellen Florence, Board President of the Malone Center, for her involvement with and support of the event, as well as Preeta Bansal, a nationally known public servant and corporate and constitutional lawyer, for helping arrange the event.
The Mayor also expressed gratitude to promotional partners for the event, including the Lincoln Community Foundation (LCF), Community Health Endowment (CHE), the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, and Lincoln Public Schools (LPS).
“No one in our city should miss this opportunity – let’s fill the virtual house,” said Barbara Bartle, LCF President. “At the Community Foundation, we feel called to step up and help our community find common ground, engage in constructive dialogue, share our individual truths, listen to the truths of others, and forge a way of healing and growing stronger together.”
“The Community Health Endowment is pleased to collaborate in this event, as overcoming inequity and division has become a public health imperative,” said Lori Seibel, CHE President and CEO. “We thrive when we bridge across difference and create cultures in which everyone feels a sense of belonging.”
“The workplace plays a large role in how connected people feel with one another and with the place we call home,” said Chamber President Wendy Birdsall. “The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce supports this effort and encourages businesses to tune in and participate in creating cultures of inclusion and belonging.”
“Lincoln Public Schools is proud to join organizations throughout our community in promoting this event,” said LPS Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel. “By collectively embracing hope and caring for one another, we can create a society where all are truly seen and respected.”
Other promotional partners include UNL, Faith Coalition of Lancaster County, Social Emergence, [email protected], Cause Collective, NAACP Lincoln Branch, Leadership Lincoln, Good Neighbor Community Center, Asian Community and Cultural Center, El Centro de las Américas, and the Women’s Foundation of Lincoln and Lancaster County.
Reservations and more information are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: belonging). The event will also be carried on LNKTV.
Background Reading: Mayor Gaylor Baird Delivers Her First State Of The City Address