One Nebraska—understanding urban and rural hometowns

Members of the NCF Network,

My friend Preston Love, Jr. of Omaha has led a distinguished life of advocacy for social justice and community engagement using non-violent methods. Justice and opportunity for everyone. Back in April, Preston penned a column for the Lincoln Journal Star—a call for urban and rural Nebraskans to come together and recognize the “virtue of fertile ground and an abundance of seeds” we share. Preston writes:

“The time has come for Nebraskans, rural and urban, to come together and fight for communities’ needed capital and resources for now and for future. Fight separate, we lose. Someone once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Failure on either side will be failure for both sides. We need each other. Let’s plant and let’s yield together, forever.”

Preston, and many others, are now talking about two pandemics: COVID-19 and 1619 (1619 is the year the first slaves were brought to Jamestown from Africa). In other words, the two pandemics are the coronavirus and the virus of racism.

On Sunday, the Omaha World-Herald published his column titled “The pandemic of racism has endured and grown. It’s time to listen.”

When discussing any of these topics—inequity, injustice, systemic racism—I struggle with the right language to use. I don’t want to offend anyone. I’ve learned that these issues only get better over time when we talk about them—it’s okay to say I don’t know.

If you struggle with these issues like I do, then I hope you will join me in a learning journey. Do you know someone who isn’t like you? Would you like to? Would you like to explore and learn about life experiences different than your own? Would you like to be part of a discussion or study group? A travel group? Or serve as a host in your hometown? I hope and believe the NCF network can be a platform for having the important and difficult conversations that will move us forward.

Please let me know what you’re interested in learning or experiencing.

Jeff Yost | President & CEO

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