Omaha, Ne Tuesday, February 27th, 2018-The Second Annual Black and Brown Legislative Day was held in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Urban League of Nebraska Young Professionals (ULNYP), Black Men United, Coalition for a Strong Nebraska, along with several other community groups sponsored the yearly event.
The basis for this event is to help engage persons of color and those of marginalized communities regarding the legislative process and to increase civic engagement.
A group of approximately fifty participants, along with the Omaha Public Schools’ Leadership group Omaha Student Voice Council, attended. The majority of the participants had taken part in a legislative training two days prior. The morning schedule had the group meet with various unicameral staff regarding the unique legislative process of the Nebraska unicameral. Nebraska is the only state to have one legislative body. Legislative aides reviewed how laws are crafted and how data is resourced and checked for accuracy.
The second part of the day consisted of touring the Nebraska State Capitol, where the group had the opportunity to watch floor debate and attend committee hearings for legislative bills. The group also met with various state senators, including Senator Justin Wayne of District 13, Senator Tony Vargas of District 7 and Senator Ernie Chambers of District 11. The senators expressed to the group the importance of voting and civic participation, especially from those of underrepresented communities.
“With this year’s Black and Brown Legislative Day, we want to make sure we have a greater impact by not just engaging our young professionals, and older adults, but by getting our youth involved as well,” stated Jasmine Harris, the ULNYPs Civic Engagement Committee Co-Chair. “If we can start educating our youth at an early age around this process, they will more than likely be more civically involved in their communities and know that they can help create the change they want.”