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Racism

On September 23rd, a 6-week series of conversations designed to educate participants about racism in Nebraska begins, and the goal is to inspire people to take actions to build a more equitable society.  These Zoom sessions will start at 7:00 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. on 6 Thursdays.

Elaine Wells, founder of DIALOGUES on RACISM, and Deb Shaw, Diversity, Community and Recruitment Leader at Partnership4Kids, joined Mike Hogan on “Live & Local” to discuss this opportunity to make a difference by being a part of the solution.

More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Dialogues-on-Racism-101080652217179

A conservative radio host in Omaha lost his job for a social media post criticized as racist that he sent minutes after the conviction of a white former Minneapolis police officer for the killing last year of a Black man. KFAB afternoon radio host Chris Baker posted a since-deleted tweet Tuesday evening in which he wrote “Guilty!” above an image of what appeared to be four older Black men in body paint and loincloths dancing around a pole. C. Taylor Walet III, an executive at KFAB owner iHeartRadio, said Wednesday afternoon that Baker had been fired.

Norfolk Public Schools

Norfolk Public Schools will be on probation for the rest of the school year after racial slurs were yelled at players from Omaha Northwest's girls basketball game earlier this month. The Nebraska School Activities Association concluded its investigation Thursday. The school district is implementing several measures in response to the incident on Feb. 12. The steps include issuing a formal apology to Omaha Public Schools, changing seating arrangements at activities and developing an equity and diversity plan. School officials were not able to determine who was responsible for the slurs.

Omaha World Herald

A bill that would impose harsher penalties on protesters who loot, riot or commit other crimes has received a chilly reception from a Nebraska legislative committee. Some critics of the bill argued Wednesday that it would infringe on free-speech rights and punish people who gather peacefully. The measure was modeled after a recently passed Tennessee law and was introduced in response to last year’s Black Lives Matter protests in Omaha and Lincoln that led to property damage and one death.

Omaha World Herald

A judge has dismissed cases against 25 people who were arrested and jailed for blocking traffic at a bridge during a summer racial injustice protest in Omaha. The Omaha World-Herald reports that Douglas County Judge Marcena Hendrix ruled Wednesday that Omaha’s ordinance prohibiting the obstruction of a highway or street is “overly broad” and “clearly regulates protected speech.” At issue was a demonstration on July 25 over the lack of charges against a white bar owner in the death of a 22-year-old Black man. As part of the demonstration, protesters blocked the Farnam Street bridge.

UNO

A new report from researchers at the University of Nebraska at Omaha shows that Black Nebraskans are far more likely to be arrested and placed behind bars. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the Black people also are significantly underrepresented among those receiving diversion or intervention services rather than jail time. The report found that the average number of arrests of Black people in Nebraska from 2014 to 2019 amounted to 19% of all arrests, while Blacks make up 5% of the state’s population.

WOWT

Protesters gathered in downtown Omaha for a second night to demand the release of video of a fatal police shooting of a Black man during a Nebraska traffic stop last week. The group of demonstrators gathered outside Omaha Police headquarters again Saturday to press police to release footage of Thursday’s shooting death of Kenneth Jones. Police have said that Jones, who was 35, reached for a gun in his waistband before he was shot. Before the protest, police released the names of the two officers involved in the traffic stop who will remain on leave while the incident is investigated.

Months after announcing it would abandon its longtime Indian chief head corporate logo, Mutual of Omaha has unveiled a new logo depicting an African lion. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company announced the new logo on Thursday. It replaces the depiction of a Native American chief that had been synonymous with the company for 70 years.

ACLU Takes Aim At OPD With Lawsuit

Nov 11, 2020

The Omaha Police Department is facing a lawsuit.  The ACLU of Nebraska has filed a lawsuit against the police department on behalf of the organization, Problac, stemming from the arrests of 120 people after they marched from the Old Market to Midtown in late July. A federal judge is currently considering an injunction in the case that would temporarily ban Omaha police from using pepper balls and other chemicals on demonstrators. 

Omaha World Herald

A special prosecutor says a white Nebraska bar owner who killed himself after being charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting a Black man during May protests had been waiting to “ambush” people who were breaking into businesses. Special Prosecutor Frederick Franklin on Wednesday detailed more of the evidence against Jake Gardner. Gardner killed himself Sunday, days after a grand jury indicted him in the May 30 death of 22-year-old James Scurlock. The evidence included text messages and videos of the encounter that Franklin said countered Gardner's claims of self-defense.

Omaha World Herald

Omaha police have revised a policy on arresting protesters following the mass arrest of more than 100 peaceful protesters last month. The Omaha World-Herald reports that Mayor Jean Stothert unveiled the policy change during a news conference Tuesday to discuss coronavirus relief funding. Stothert said the revised policy requires officers to use body cameras to get pictures of each individual they arrest rather than doing mass arrests.

Protests Emerge In Omaha Following Wisconsin Shooting

Aug 25, 2020
Omaha World Herald

Omaha residents are speaking out against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Protests took place last night at 72nd and Dodge and in the Old Market.  Demonstrators held signs and chanted against police brutality.  Video of the incident from Sunday shows Blake being shot when he walked away from officers and opened his car door.

Insurance company Mutual of Omaha has announced it will replace its longtime corporate logo, which features a depiction of a Native American chief. The move comes as corporations and sports teams face increasing pressure to dump nicknames and depictions that reference American Indians amid a nationwide movement calling for racial justice. The company is in the process of creating a new logo.

KOLN

A billboard at the intersection of 72nd and Dodge streets symbolizes demonstrations marked by racial justice advocates. Justice for James Omaha revealed the billboard July 2nd. That Thursday marked the 27th day of demonstrations against the Douglas County Attorney who activists say determined James Scurlock's death did not deserve justice. County Attorney Don Kleine said the death of 22-year-old Scurlock by bar owner Jake Gardner was out of self-defense and video evidence shows the decision was based on the information the office had at the time.

Protestors Stage Sit-In At Mayor's Office

Jul 1, 2020
WOWT

Protesters are making their voices heard in Omaha.  A group called the Progressive Black Led Allied Coalition sat in protest outside Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert's office yesterday.  Demonstrators say their goal is to get justice for all people.  The demands include the arrest of Jake Gardner, who was released from police custody after the killing of James Scurlock during a protest as well as having all charges dropped against protestors who violated curfew.

A petition is going around to rename an Omaha high school. Over one-thousand people signed the petition to get Harry A. Burke High School renamed after an alumn came across a student newspaper article about the namesake of its former superintendent. The article claimed Burke said as long as he was superintendent, there would not be a black educator in the school system. Burke was the superintendent of Omaha Public Schools from 1946-to-1962. The petition asks that Burke High School be renamed to bring positive change and allow students of all races to feel safe and welcomed at school.

Governor Ricketts Forgiven By Black Community Leader

Jun 5, 2020

(Omaha, NE)  --  Governor Pete Ricketts is forgiven by a local pastor and community leader after a heated meeting following the death of 22-year-old James Spurlock in Omaha. Pastor Jarrod Parker posted to Facebook Monday sharing his perspective on a meeting he had with the governor where Ricketts called black leaders, "you people." Pastor Parker says he's accepted what he believes is a sincere apology and he's excited to see how they will work together in the future.  

 

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts apologized after an Omaha pastor accused the governor of using the phrase “you people” during a meeting with local black leaders. Ricketts says he chose his words poorly and apologized when it became apparent that he had caused offense. Pastor Jarrod Parker of St. Mark’s Baptist Church criticized the governor online after he walked out of the meeting. Parker says Ricketts made the comments in a meeting with black leaders about the killing of James Scurlock, a black man who was fatally shot by a white bar owner during the George Floyd protests.