March 2022
"The Good Life is Calling."
'The Good Life' has been our state's welcome message to newcomers for over 50 years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, we have the lowest unemployment rate. WalletHub ranks us as the second-best state to find a job, and CNBC places us in the top ten best economies in America. With such astounding statistics, we continue to be faced with the question, "Why are more people leaving than they are staying?"

Barriers to access, inclusion, and just systems are some of the many obstacles faced by individuals in our community. As we hold steadfast to the mission of confronting prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination, we have begun to reflect on how we evolve our work to stay on pace with the rapid shifts in our society and culture. Inclusive Communities is a connector, and the bridge between individuals and their communities, organizations, and government systems. 

Our job as change makers is to be intentional with our problem-solving efforts and the action steps we take to get there. Change is a necessary component of our progression as a society and individuals. We know that our vision, goals, and outcomes depend on maximizing our advocacy efforts across all ages, races, genders, and ability levels to ensure that this positive change is throughout Nebraska. It won't always be easy, but it will always be worth it.

Yes, the good life is calling. We must ensure that everyone can answer.
Welcome Rachel Busse
Join us in welcoming Rachel Busse to the Inclusive Communities team as a Program Partner!

Rachel joins us under the ever-evolving umbrella of educational theatre - channeling her energy as a familiar resident Teaching Artist through arts and creative expression.

Raised in Omaha, NE, Rachel began her academic career at Iowa Western Community College for a major in Psychology and a minor in Juvenile Justice. Throughout her journey, she has been gracious to collaborate within the spaces of local community theaters, dance studios, and youth advocacy centers in Omaha, NE. These experiences, coupled with continual opportunities to hone her crafts surrounding interpretive movement, dance, and musical theatre - have inspired her to develop an even stronger sense of justice, empathy, and transparency within our communities.

Rachel is passionate about networking, meeting new faces, and advocating for youth. She enjoys spending time with her cat, traveling, listening to music, and exploring new foods.

We're excited to have Rachel on board!
FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2022

2120 N. 30TH ST., OMAHA, NE 68111
Be on the lookout!
This May we will open applications for our next class of LeadDIVERSITY Advocates. LeadDIVERSITY is a program in partnership with OPPD, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and The Business Ethics Alliance. Advocates receive skills training to move Nebraska workplaces and communities forward. Learn more about LeadDIVERSITY here, or contact Kandace Freeman, Programs Curriculum Manager,
Omaha Table Talk is up next

Omaha Table Talk is Wednesday!

Join us on March 23rd at 6 pm for an evening of scenario-based e-learning examples surrounding equity in education.

Presented with UNO's College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, and UNO's Service Learning Project.

February Omaha Table Talk on Violence and Safety
Check it out!
Fear of Vulnerability in Black Skin
by Kipp McKenzie
The stress of being a person of color can feel insurmountable at times. This feeling can make being vulnerable a nonstarter, especially as a black cisgender, and straight man. You always hear talk about how important it is to be vulnerable. Very well, I will be vulnerable within these margins. I am afraid and I can admit that even though it is difficult. I am afraid of not being enough…afraid of being a failure. Even afraid that I have already failed. When people in your family have called you a failure, especially when the ingredient of the intersectionality of being a black man in this world is added, it tends to graft itself onto your spirit and mind like a tattoo. I replay these words daily and they occupy my mind like a song that I find annoying, and I cannot get it out of my head. As a black man, the margin of error is razor-thin and even nonexistent the majority of the time. I cannot afford to be a failure because it reinforces the stereotype of black bodies and I carry that pressure constantly. In addition, there are times I am afraid to let that pressure go because I do not want to become complacent and complicit in giving people the excuse to continue to promulgate the damaging narratives constantly heaped on black bodies. Writing about it in this space causes me uneasiness because the trauma can be unbearable at times. I constantly feel a stream of shame because I wonder if I am doing enough and is it good enough. I even wonder if other black people look at me with a sense of contempt because they feel I am not good enough or doing enough for the community.       

Coincidentally, it motivates me. It is this type of smoke that supplies the fuel, but I have to be aware that it does not become a sarcophagus of anger and rage that fortifies those feelings of failure. It is of the utmost importance that I cannot let those elements consume me. That prevailing fear can paralyze and incapacitate. I am supposed to always be powerful and invulnerable, especially in a world that has socialized the narrative that black bodies are inconsequential, reprehensible, unsuitable, and burdensome. Admittedly, there are times I feel I have no value and I do not feel strong. There are times I force myself to get out of bed and I cannot show weakness because it is not an option. I am a black man and I am not supposed to feel this way I continually tell myself. This internal strife and conflict are exhausting, but I know I have to fight. I will say that I am not enveloping myself in a veneer of self-pity since some people will view it in that spectrum. If I was afforded white privilege, my statements and the full disclosure of my feelings of vulnerability would be lauded as courageous. I am willing to take that risk of not being seen in that light.      

Furthermore, it is easy to numb me through egocentrism instead of giving myself permission to hurt and acknowledging the trauma without fear of judgment. It is easy to center myself in egocentrism by washing myself with a false sense of pride and confidence because the pain and fear can be excruciating. This is an impregnable fortress that is vital for surviving those feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. I cannot allow myself to be seen hurting, feeling unworthy, and helpless sometimes. I do not want to be seen as losing my balance, free-falling into an abyss of self-doubt, and being impaled by the protruded spikes of anguish that await at the bottom. These components can destroy the essence of how masculinity is viewed within the context of societal paradigms.   

There is a term in a Greek tragedy, or any literary work called “Anagnorisis” meaning “recognition” and it refers to a character’s sudden realization of a situation’s reality or the nature of a relationship with another character. It produces a moment of clarity. There can be other nuances to the terminology, but this is the main interpretation. Regarding my experience, there were many situations where I had that same realization of certain realities, but they are too numerous to list at the moment. I am not comparing myself to a Greek tragedy because I am not that important and it would only make me a legend in my mind. I am simply saying that being in a place of vulnerability and opening myself up is painful. It feels like a sense of betrayal to myself as a black man because we are constantly being told to “man up”. Crying is not an option because I am conditioned to believe that my tears are streaming vessels of hydrochloric acid that disintegrates my masculinity because it holds no value. It is a way to legislate and devalue the humanness of my black body on a sliding scale.  

In conclusion, we are told not to cry and not to feel because to survive in this world of white supremacy we have to be invulnerable. We have to be this way to protect our families so we do not have time or the luxury to hurt and be vulnerable. Bills need to be paid, work needs to be done, food needs to be put on the table, etc. Vulnerability requires being truly honest and being unashamed to get uncomfortable in that nakedness. It’s about embracing that vulnerability because that is where the power and courage reside. I am continually working on that and as a brotha, I am cool with that.