UNL NFP CHAPTER OVERVIEW OF SPRING SEMESTER 2010
In January, we hosted a lecture by Curtis Sollohub, a Quaker activist from Nevada, who highlighted the history of the non-violent Palestinian movement and it's on-going efforts today in the Israel-Palestine conflict. We also assisted and participated in the Palestine Solidarity Committee’s March of the Dead, in which we dressed in black, wore masks, and donned signs with the names of Israeli and Palestinian casualties to march silently around Lincoln in a tribute to the thousands of lives lost in this conflict.
Many of our members worked arduously in the battle for health-care reform by phone banking, petitioning, letter writing, and attending rallies in coalition with Nebraska Appleseed and Change That Works organizations.
We've also participated in letter-writing and phone-banking campaigns for clean-air and clean-job legislation through Repower America.
In March, three of our members traveled with UNL Professor Fran Kaye to the women's prison in York, Nebraska, where we participated in their writing workshop. It was a touching experience to share the creative writing process with these women and we were amazed at the talent we found locked away there. Other members traveled with Fran again in May to Tecumseh, where the group put on a powwow/poetry slam. Our group transcribed writings from the women in York to compile the chapbook of poetry Fran puts out each year, and we'll continue volunteering with her on prison visits and a new project: An Anthology On Bullying.
We helped out the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in their efforts to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The HRC brought in a "Stop and Dial" tactic to campus, and it was encouraging to see what positive reactions we received by getting students to make a quick phone call to Ben Nelson on their way to class. For the Voices of Honor panel that came to campus, our members helped put out 800 flags in the green space in front of the union to commemorate the 800 language and medical specialists who have been discharged for being "found out" in the military. It turned out to be a great day for student canvassing before the panel that night.
In April, about a week before Arizona put racial profiling into law, we screened the relevant documentary "9500 Liberty" and discussed immigration issues and reform led by Norman Pflanz from Nebraska Appleseed.
Over the semester, we volunteered at the People’s City Mission and worked with the Matt Talbot Kitchen. It was eye opening to meet with both the individuals in need of these facilities as well as the dedicated people who are the backbone of these organizations. Professor Hank van den Berg came to one of our meetings to speak on economic justice. We also had Chris Webster, Lincoln Public Schools’ homeless outreach specialist, come in and share with us about his job experience and the situations of the kids he works with to ensure that they have easy and ongoing access to public education. We compiled a short film documentary of interviews from four individuals who frequent the Matt Talbot Kitchen in an effort to learn more and educate others about homelessness in Lincoln.
At our annual Peace and Justice Banquet at the end of the semester, we raised over 1,000 dollars for the Center for People in Need. We ended the semester with a food drive in the dorms and brought boxes of food to the Matt Talbot Kitchen.