Inclusive Communities
Humanitarian Brunch Situation 2020

COVID-19 has prevented us from gathering in-person for the Humanitarian Brunch this year, but it hasn’t stopped our work, it hasn’t dampened our spirit, and it hasn’t broken down our commitment to the community. Nor has it stopped the important work of our honorees. They have continued to create brave spaces for those who need it. They have continued to lift up individuals and communities who need support.

That’s why this year, we’re using the circumstances of this pandemic — which has pushed so much of our socializing online — to reach a wider audience by taking the Humanitarian Brunch virtual. We want to ensure that you know about our awardees and their community work. And we want you to know that we’re still on this path towards a more inclusive society. We have seen a lot of ugly words and deeds transpire in the past weeks, but we’ve also seen how that has been met with love, with understanding, with unity and with action. We’re here for it. And this is the perfect time in history to embrace diversity and strengthen community. We are Inclusive Communities. And this is the Humanitarian Brunch Situation.

Precious Brady-Davis

2020 Featured Speaker
Precious Brady-Davis

Precious Brady-Davis is a highly lauded international public speaker and panelist whose mission is to create critical intersectional dialogue, foster empowerment and create solidarity that leads to positive self and social awareness. She is originally from Omaha, Nebraska and now lives in Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago with her husband Myles Brady and their daughter.

According to Precious Brady-Davis, Inclusive Communities planted the seed of inclusion, equity, and diversity work in her mind. Growing up in Omaha, adopted into a biracial Christian family, she felt a sense of community in her church and through the power of music. But, while she found places to express herself as an orator, lover of music, and Christian, she struggled to find a place that accepted all intersections of her identity. She was very conscious of the concepts of difference from an early age, mainly through the lens of race, as her grandparents were different races. She deeply understood that an interracial relationship was still very taboo in the 1990s. And she came to understand, in that environment and time, difference was something that was not accepted.

When she became a teenager and started questioning her sexuality and gender identity, she fought against the notion in the church that she needed to be “fixed,” that the person she was becoming was not the person God intended her to be. She found it difficult to conform to the accepted cis-gender, heteronormative, masculine qualities that she was being pushed towards.

Today Precious is an award winning diversity advocate, communications professional, and public speaker. She currently serves as the Communications Manager for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. She’s an inspirational orator who has been featured at various universities across the country. And she’s served as the Youth Outreach Coordinator for the largest LGBT Community Center in the Midwest - Center on Halsted.

However as a junior in highschool, Precious says she was overlooked for the recommended college visits that other students were doing. Despite being socially popular, she was an average student so she felt as though she missed many of those college prep opportunities. Her guidance counselor instead encouraged her to attend Anytown, the camp for young people hosted by the National Conference for Community and Justice. This earlier incarnation of IncluCity changed her life. For the first time Precious found people who looked like her. She found a home. Being in a space where they set the tone of true acceptance and community made her feel safe to lean into her queerness without having to masculinize herself. She could wear a scarf in her hair, a rainbow t-shirt she’d bought from Hot Topic. She could feel safe.

As a high school student, talking about religion, celebrating difference, and learning about the violence against different bodies at Anytown, she felt that she had the right to question her sense of self, and the right to be celebrated alongside all identities. It created a lane for her to be who she was. This powerful experience inspired her and kept bringing her back as a camp counselor. It set the course for her life. But Precious still did not find a queer conclave in Omaha and eventually moved to Chicago where she felt that she could be herself continuously without fearing for her safety, find resources, and connect with others who were like her. She had been raised in Omaha to be a minister. And even though she still felt the calling to serve, guide and uplift people, she was compelled to carry the torch of diversity, inclusion, intersectionality, ability, faith, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It was the start of being able to plug into another facet of herself that she felt others in her life had been trying to remove.

She still carries those lessons from camp saying that it helped her to create a compass to challenge her own biases. Camp was an intervention for people becoming consciously aware of a higher state of understanding. It was a place to acknowledge that we each have bias, that we continuously need to unpack and peel back our layers to create a more just society and a more just world. She also recognizes the importance for youth to have a space where they can see themselves reflected. Precious still has many friends made at that first camp she attended - one even being the maid of honor at her wedding. She also remembers the then Administrative Assistant Diane Perry being a great source of comfort and guidance for her.

In her work with LGBT youth in Chicago, Precious incorporates the foundation from her Anytown experience. She continues to interrogate the concepts of how we organize and mobilize around difference to create more inclusive, brave spaces for young people. Becoming a mother has also further expanded her worldview, particularly her understanding of selflessness. She describes it as a transformative and fulfilling experience in her life like nothing she’s previously encountered. While she felt as though she’d done all kinds of mothering through her youth engagement work, this was a mothering in a totally new and different iteration.

Precious has a new memoir, “I Have Always Been Me,” that will be released next Summer by Topple Publishing. It is largely based on her experiences growing up in Omaha and she plans to make Omaha the first stop on her book tour. In the current moment people see a polished Precious - successful career woman, wife, mother. But many people don’t see what it took for her to get here. She acknowledges that there was a lot of struggle and hardship to reach this part of her life. The exercise of combing over her life to see how her past experiences have made her who she is today was a poignant and revealing part of her writing process.

When Precious attended her first Anytown, the Omaha chapter of the NCCJ didn’t have a strong gender component, and Precious was even asked not to wear a dress for the Humanitarian Dinner that she attended. It wasn’t until she moved away for college and attended the Anytown camp as a facilitator in St. Louis that she was able to comfortably “gender bend” as she worked through that facet of her identity.

In 2010, we changed our name from the NCCJ Midlands Chapter to Inclusive Communities. The gender conversation was not one that the organization was having when Precious needed us, but we continuously work on doing better. In as much as Precious found her lane at our Anytown camp, we also learned from her, like we learn from all our camp attendees so that we can constantly evolve and be more representative of all identities in future camps, and through all our activities.

Precious acknowledges that diversity, equity and inclusion is constant work and left us with this message: “Be You. Don’t listen to what people say. Carry on. Continue.”

2020 Award Honorees

Humanitarian of the year
Bobby Brumfield

Bobby Brumfield is one of a kind. He is a former Omaha Police Detective, Federal Bureau of Investigations Safe Streets Task Force member, and member of the US Marine Corps. We have seen firsthand how Bobby promotes inclusive societies and women’s empowerment as the Co-Founder of the Men Against Domestic Violence Action Coalition (MADVAC). He also owns his own security consulting firm. Bobby’s personal motto is that “human connection is the most sustainable security strategy.” His pivotal work at MADVAC is focused on providing boys, men, and private and public agencies with the education resources, and support to protect against domestic and sexual violence in our communities.

We first met Bobby at our “Take a Knee” Omaha Table Talk when he gave us the benefit of his times, experience and perspective. He was open about his military service and his time on the police force. He talked with us about true inclusion and equity and what that means on the ground in tense situations. And he has transformed his life experience into influencing those around him in a positive and uplifting way.

Bobby worked with us again as the moderator for our “Me Too on the Margins” Omaha Table Talk. Again his understanding of our work and how it overlaps with his own work is really an indicator of the way that Bobby creates linkages and opportunities within our communities. He draws people in with his compassion and his willingness to give of himself with purpose and intention.

In Bobby we see a man who is out there giving selflessly to those around him without thinking about or searching for praise and recognition. But we see him, we see the impact of his efforts, and for this reason we have chosen to make him the Inclusive Communities Humanitarian of the Year.

Volunteer of the year
Haji Weliyo

Haji is our Volunteer of the Year. He has been a volunteer at our IncluCity camp longer than any of the current staff members of Inclusive Communities have been on board. This should tell you something about his level of commitment. In many ways, we have come to rely on Haji for that sense of continuity at camp. He has been a huge part of the great sustainability we’ve experienced with IncluCity. He also helps us continuously improve and evolve our camps so that we are always bringing in new perspectives, new ideas, and new forms of inclusivity.

Haji consistently shows up, brings his smile, brings his compassionate way of connecting with and comforting young people at our camp. At IncluCity, we have fun, and we also unpack some heavy topics for teenagers who are going through the regular struggles of making sense of who they are and how they fit into the world around them. Haji really meets them at those crucial junctures and makes them feel seen.

He first came to camp as a delegate in 2014, when he was in high school. He admittedly “wasn’t a person who talked about things,” back then. But he said that the way he was impacted by IncluCity drew him out of that habit of bottling things up. His own experience is what made him want to come back as a camp volunteer to help others in their journeys. So far he’s volunteered at 24 camps. That’s almost 2,000 hours of service to Inclusive Communities and we really can’t stress its value.

When you have someone who shows up every single time, that’s the true indicator of character. And Haji is that person. He’s not showing up for himself or even for Inclusive Communities. He’s not showing up for his friends. He’s showing up for the new students. He’s showing up for young people he’s never met before, so he can support them in the way that only he does. We’ve seen how he creates space for others. Right now we see the world getting torn down in a lot of different ways, but InlcuCity has always been a space for people to show up and be their bravest selves. This is something we’ve tried to replicate on many levels through our community and business programming. Haji is one of the people out there who are making this happen everyday, and that’s why he’s our Volunteer of the Year.

Otto Swanson Award
Omaha Public Power District

The Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) is the recipient of our Otto Swanson Award for being our Community Partner of the Year. We really couldn’t have forged this wonderful partnership with OPPD without the work of Joyce Cooper, Director of Diversity & Inclusion at OPPD, who saw the opportunity and the need for the LeadDIVERSITY. Joyce originally came from Ohio, where one of our national affiliate members originated the LeadDIVERSITY program. She understood the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion upskilling in our business community and had the faith that Inclusive Communities would be the vessel that could create a cultural shift through this program in partnership with OPPD, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Ethics Alliance. She is also truly supported from the top in leadership with Mart Sedky, Vice President Human Capital, and Tim Burke, CEO and President.

OPPD became the lead sponsor of LeadDIVERSITY which paved the way for other sponsors. The organization has committed to three years of funding for the program, and it is as much their program as it is ours. In coming together with OPPD, hearing their intent, and witnessing the impact that they were already making in our community, there wasn’t a doubt that this partnership would be one marked with success. OPPD is one of the organizations we have collaborated with that really understood the concept of our individual identities being intersectional. And we already saw how they acknowledged this in their organizational culture.

For us, the decision to honor them this year isn’t just about LeadDIVERSITY, but a recognition that they’ve really done the work internally, and are truly invested externally. From their commitment to examining and acknowledging privilege, to their honoring the uniqueness of experiences and backgrounds of their employees, to the opportunities that they create in their work with INROADS, there really was no question that their ideals were in alignment with our own.

Otto Swanson was committed to the cause of creating human understanding. He was a distinguished member of the business community as the owner of the Nebraska Clothing Company. And he was one of the founding members of the Midlands Chapter of the National Conference for Christians and Jews (NCCJ), which is the name we went by in 1938. We see his foundational ideals mirrored in the work of OPPD. This is why we began the LeadDIVERSITY journey with them, and why they’re our Partner of the Year and recipient of our Otto Swanson Spirit of Service Award

Past Honorees

Humanitarian Award

This award recognizes individuals and couples for their outstanding service, contributions of time, effort and resources to the community and dedication to the goals, values and mission of Inclusive Communities.

  • 1955 W.O. Swanson
  • 1956 John Rosenblatt
  • 1960 Gerald T. Bergan
  • 1961 Morris E. Jacobs
  • 1962 Milton S. Livingston
  • 1963 Ralph Svoboda
    V.J. Skutt
  • 1964 Richard Walker
    Gen. Thomas Power
  • 1965 Dr. Abe Greenberg
  • 1966 Leo A. Daly
  • 1967 Peter Kiewit
  • 1968 W.A. Strauss
    Einer Juel
  • 1969 Fr. H.W. Linn
    Rev. Carl Reinert
  • 1970 A.F. Jacobson
  • 1971 Morris F. Miller
  • 1972 Dr. A.B. Pittman
  • 1973 J.D. Anderson & Eugene Leahy
  • 1974 General John Meyer
  • 1975 Sam Greenberg
    Helen Cherniack
  • 1976 Ben Morris
    Archbishop Daniel Sheehan
  • 1977 Milton R. Abrahams
    Dr. Ronald Roskens
  • 1978 Dale Te Kolste
    William Hinckley
  • 1979 John D. Diesing
    Eugene Skinner
  • 1980 Fr. Robert P. Hupp
    James Paxson
  • 1981 Rabbi Sidney Brooks
    Dr. Claude Organ
  • 1982 John Kenefick
    Tom Osborne
  • 1983 Charles A. Monasee
    Thomas Nurnberger
  • 1984 Robert Daugherty
    Lloyd Skinner
  • 1985 General Bennie Davis
    Mike Harper
  • 1986 Walter Scott, Jr.
    Dr. D.B. “Woody” Varner
  • 1987 Marge & Charles Durham
  • 1988 Bernie Simon
    Dr. Del Weber
  • 1989 General John T. Chain
    Rev. Michael G. Morrison, SJ
  • 1990 Eugene A. Conley
    Ike Friedman
  • 1991 Thomas R. Burke
    Robert M. Spire
  • 1992 Thomas J. Skutt
    Roy A. Smith
  • 1993 Marian & Harold Andersen
  • 1994 Herman Cain
  • 1995 Carmen & John Gottschalk
    Howard J. Kaslow
  • 1996 Barbara & Bill Fitzgerald
    Donald A. Yale
  • 1997 Liz & Dave Karnes
    Alan Simon, Fred Simon, & Steve Simon
  • 1998 Kimball & Bruce Lauritzen
    Stanley Slosburg
  • 1999 Phillip G. Schrager
    Harley D. Schrager
    Ann & Ken Stinson
  • 2000 Jean & Bob Bell
    Cookie & Jerry Hoberman
  • 2001 Cindy & Mogens Bay
    Nancy & Harlan Noddle
  • 2002 Judy & Bob Bates
    Debbie & Lew Trowbridge
  • 2003 Mary & Dick Holland
    Susie Buffett
  • 2004 Judy & Jack Baker
    Carol & G. Richard Russell
  • 2005 Ann & John Nelson
    Maxine & Joseph Kirschenbaum
  • 2006 Rhonda & Howard Hawks
    Gail & Michael Yanney
  • 2007 Lin & Michael Simmonds
    The Late Karen & George Rozmarin
  • 2008 Ivel & John Reed
    Cindy & Wayne Sensor
  • 2009 Henry A. Davis
    Shirley & Dr. Michael Sorrell
  • 2010 Mary Joy & Tal Anderson
    Sharon & Dick Davis
  • 2011 The Late Dr. Rubens Pamies
    Martha & David Slosburg
  • 2012 Susan & Michael Lebens
    Dorothy & Dr. Stanley Truhlsen
  • 2013 Stephanie & Jack Koraleski
    Betiana & Todd Simon
    Stacy & Bruce Simon
  • 2014 Ramona & Deryl Hamann
    Annette & Paul Smith
  • 2016 Marian Ivers (in memoriam)
  • 2017 Tri Faith Initiative
  • 2018 Urban League Nebraska Young Professionals
  • 2019 Marta Nieves

Volunteer of the Year

This award is presented to one of Inclusive Communities’ committed volunteers who dedicate their time, energy, sweat, and passion to support our programming, advocacy, and mission.

  • 2008 Mike Honeyman
  • 2009 Hillary Nather-Detisch
  • 2010 Christine French
  • 2011 Emilio Herrera
  • 2012 Ronald Moore
  • 2013 Ebony Banks
  • 2014 Kevin Custard
  • 2016 Carrie Healy
  • 2017 Nate Johnson
  • 2018 Corny Rhone
  • 2019 Emily Schirmbeck

Otto Swanson Spirit of Service

This award is named after one of Inclusive Communities’ early founders and honors individuals and groups whose lives or chosen field of work exemplifies the mission of Inclusive Communities.

  • 1987 Kathleen Severens
  • 1988 Project Homeless
  • 1989 Bob Armstrong
  • 1990 Rev. James P. Scholz
  • 1991 Shirley Goldstein
  • 1992 Mary Dean Harvey
  • 1993 Rabbi Aryeh Azriel
  • 1994 Denny Holland
  • 1995 Joe Edmonson
  • 1996 William E. Ramsey
  • 1997 Truman Clare
  • 1998 Frank Hayes
  • 1999 Brenda J. Council
  • 2000 Alcurtis Robinson
  • 2001 Ben Gray
  • 2002 Alberto Gonzalez
    Steve Hogan
    Bob Wolfson
  • 2003 Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J.
  • 2004 James A. “Jim” Swoopes
  • 2005 Cecil L. Hicks, Jr.
    Omaha Community Foundation
  • 2006 Fr. Thomas M. Fangman, Jr.
    Dr. Magda Peck
    Rev. L.C. Menyweather-Woods
  • 2007 Brad Ashford
    Rabbi Myer Kripke
    Retired Sergeant Teresa B. Negron
  • 2008 Carol Woods Harris
    Charles Drew Health Center
    Fred Schott
  • 2009 Empowerment Network
    Institute for Holocaust Education
  • 2010 Katherine Fletcher
  • 2011 Evelyn “Evie” Zysman
  • 2012 Susan & Michael Lebens
    Dorothy & Dr. Stanley Truhlsen
  • 2013 OneWorld Community Health Center
  • 2014 Marcia Bredar
  • 2016 Carol Joy Holling Center
  • 2017 Gene Haynes
  • 2018 Lakeisha Bonam
  • 2019 Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center

Humanitarian Event Chairs

Humanitarian Chairs have long been selected for their generosity to Inclusive Communities and leadership in the community. Many have been (or go on to be) honored at the same event with the Humanitarian Award. *Indicates they have already been honored.

  • 1960 Morris E. Jacobs*
  • 1961 E.F. Pettis
  • 1962 Frank Fogarty
  • 1963 Charles D. Peebler, Jr.
  • 1964 Leo A. Daly*
  • 1966 J.D. Anderson*
  • 1967 V.J. Skutt*
    Morris E. Jacobs*
  • 1968 Charles Peebler, Jr.
  • 1969 Bruce G. Schwartz
  • 1970 Paul C. McGrath
  • 1971 W.A. Strauss*
  • 1972 Thomas S. Numberger*
  • 1973 Morris F. Miller*
  • 1974 V.J. Skutt*
  • 1975 J.D. Anderson*
    Robert Runice
  • 1976 Leo A. Daly*
  • 1977 John D. Diesing*
  • 1979 Thomas H. Allen
  • 1980 Charles D. Peepler, Jr.
  • 1981 W.A. Strauss*
  • 1982 C.M. “Mike” Harper
  • 1983 Richard D. McCormick
  • 1984 Sam F. Segnar
  • 1985 Thomas J. Skutt*
  • 1986 John D. Woods
  • 1987 Joseph L. Pfeister
  • 1988 Janice D. Stoney
  • 1989 Michael Walsh
  • 1990 Robert D. Bates*
  • 1991 John Cochran
  • 1992 William F. Welsh
  • 1993 Sue & Walter Scott, Jr.*
  • 1994 Dr. Del Weber*
  • 1995 Kimball & Bruce Lauritzen*
  • 1997 Anne & John Nelson*
  • 1998 Gloria & Herman Cain*
  • 1999 Judy & Jack Baker*
  • 2000 John Gottschalk*
    Lew Trowbridge*
  • 2001 Mary & Mickey Landen
    Diny & Jim Landen
  • 2002 Beverly & Dr. Harold Maurer
  • 2003 Ivel & John Reed*
  • 2004 Susan Jacques & Gene Dunn
  • 2005 Connie & Rick Spellman
  • 2006 Sharon & Dick Davis*
  • 2007 Betiana & Todd Simon*
  • 2008 Ann & Ken Stinson*
  • 2009 Carol & Rick Russell*
  • 2010 Susan & Michael Lebens*
  • 2011 Annette & Paul Smith *
  • 2012 Ann & Brad Ashford*
  • 2013 Emily & Craig Moody
    Laura & Michael Alley
  • 2014 Andrew Rouillard & Brent Thomsen
    Robin & Aaron Shaddy
  • 2016 Mike Fahey
  • 2017 Andy Holland
  • 2018 Jane D. & Thompson H. Rogers
  • 2019 Mart & Sherif Sedky
Rieko Ikeda-Hayes and Alex Hayes with their daughter Rena.

Honorary chairs
Rieko Ikeda-Hayes and Alex Hayes

This year we’re recognizing our Honorary Chairs Rieko Ikeda-Hayes and Alex Hayes for their incredible generosity to Inclusive Communities and their leadership in the community. Every year we ask two people to serve as honorary chairs for our Humanitarian Brunch because of their distinguished record of service.

We met Rieko and her husband Alex through Alex’s sister, Teresa Negron who previously served on our board and recommended Rieko to join the board. With Rieko’s background as a project manager and also living in this community as an immigrant for the past 25 plus years, she has a unique perspective to offer. Alex is the former Chief of Police for the City of Omaha and the current Vice President of Physical Security and Business Continuity at Mutual of Omaha. For a long time we have seen how Rieko and Alex’s interests and community presence has aligned with Inclusive Communities values. In 2019 we asked them to be the honorary chairs of our 2020 Brunch.

We have been truly fortunate to have the benefit of Rieko and Alex’s involvement in Inclusive Communities. They have opened doors for us that we didn’t even know that we wanted to walk through. Part of this comes from their own lived experiences that bring completely unique perspectives to our organization. As a Japanese woman who has moved across the ocean for an education leading to settle and make a life and raise a family here in Nebraska, Rieko has that plurality and intersectionality that really espouses what we want to reflect. She is also a Programs and Planning Manager at OPPD, who we are recognizing as our Partner of the Year. Rieko’s presence on our board has really helped strengthen and continue this partnership.

At Inclusive Communities we want everyone to see themselves represented. When we reach out to young people, to community members, to business people, we want them to feel comfortable and accepted in joining in our efforts. Rieko and Alex contribute to the authenticity of this work through their passion for sharing their talent and perspectives with us, and with the broader community. Our gratitude to their family is profound and we are honored by their service.

Thank you to our Event and Operational Sponsors

  • CHI Health
  • OPPD
  • Valmont
  • Clark Creative Group
  • Holland Foundation
  • Childrens Hospital & Medical Center
  • Fraser Stryker
  • Streck
  • Carol Joy Holling Camp
  • Union Pacific
  • North End Teleservices
  • Lozier
  • Visiting Nurses Association
  • Scoular
  • Melissa Kopplin
  • FNBO
  • University of Nebraska Omaha
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • TD Ameritrade
  • McGrath North Attorneys
  • Surreal Media Lab
  • APMA
  • Jack and Stephanie Koraleski
  • Sue Behr
  • Annette and Paul Smith
  • Senator Sara Howard and Doug Schroder
  • Tulani and Othello Meadows
  • Kristine Hull and Eric Williams
  • Mike and Susan Lebens
  • Rieko Ikeda-Hayes and Alex Hayes
  • Senator Machaela Cavanaugh
  • Congressman Brad and Ann Ashford
  • Gloria and Howard Kaslow
  • Hillary Nather-Detisch and John Detisch
  • William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation

And thank you to our ticket holders

Senator John and Deb McCollister, Gina Ponce, Janet Goodman, Liz Kerrigan, Orlyn Wingert, Thompson H. Rogers/Affiliated Companies, Julie Dierberger and Jesi DeWitt, Jodi Ross/Home for Boys, John Atherton and Marti Rosen-Atherton, Miah Sommer/The Bike Union, Debra J. Romberger, Carol Bloch, Craig and Emily Moody, Janece Mollhoff, Del Toebben, Don & Andi Goldstein, Mary Balluff, Deryl and Ramona Hamann

About Inclusive Communities

(Left to right) Maggie Wood, Executive Director; Krysty Becker, Communications Manager; Colin McGrew, Program Partner; Molly Welsh, Operations & Projects Manager; Tena Hahn Rodriguez, Business Development Manager; Cammy Watkins, Deputy Director; Robbie Q. Summers, Continuity & Sustainability Manager; Katherine MacHolmes, Program Partner of Community Engagement.

Inclusive Communities was established in 1938 as the Midlands Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (now the National Conference for Community and Justice). In that historical context, the conversation centered on “Who is an American?” particularly in response to overt anti-Semitism and heinous acts committed by the Ku Klux Klan. From the very beginning, we have been engaged in mobilizing against divisive forces of violence, ignorance and exclusion, as we seek to embrace diversity and build strong communities.

In 1938, Otto Swanson, owner of the Nebraska Clothing Company, was appalled by the entreaty of another Omaha businessman to conduct a secret boycott of Jewish-owned businesses, touted as a benefit to him since his business was “Christian-owned.” Swanson is later quoted as saying, “I couldn’t believe anything like that could happen, not in the United States and certainly not in Omaha.” He was committed to working toward human understanding. Along with W. Dale Clark, banker; Milton Livingston, businessman; and Ralph Svoboda, attorney, he joined with other leading citizens and thus Inclusive Communities was born (albeit as the NCCJ Midlands Chapter).

Right away our activities were focused on engaging the wider community in discussion - on race in the 1940s; struggles faced by Native American communities, youth, and rural populations in the 1950s; and sexuality and substance abuse in the 1960s. Early on, our organization tackled subjects that were under-discussed, hidden on the margins, whispered as if taboo. We took to task having those conversations that bring discomfort to the surface, because from very early on, our predecessors recognized the need for those growing pains in order to advance as a society.

In the 1960s discussions continued on how best to listen to children, interfaith and inter-racial relationships, and the integration of public schools. In the 70s and 80s discussions expanded into organized lectures and workshops, professional intervention and community mediation, taking on topics such as police and minority relations, racial isolation in public schools, and the meaning of the Holocaust for Christians and Jews. Human relations programs were developed for schools, police departments, correctional institutions, government agencies, and private industries.

In the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s we engaged in dialogues about Muslim and Christian relations, Equal Employment Opportunities and Affirmative Action, and understanding the diversity of faith. We also introduced Teen Summits and the Green Circle Program for the elementary level as a way of encouraging early socialization processes rooted in diversity and inclusion. In 2000, we held the first Anytown, with the purpose of transforming young people into passionate and compassionate leaders.

As we evolved into our current incarnation, Anytown has now become our beloved IncluCity camp. We have a range of programming available for private industries and government agencies - the newest being LeadDIVERSITY.

From the beginning, gratitude has been a foundational element of our actions. The Humanitarian Brunch, started as a Humanitarian Dinner and Award Ceremony, then for a number of years forayed into a day-long conference in various parts of Nebraska (Grand Island one year, Norfolk another...), before we settled into the current energy-filled, mimosa-fueled, feel good celebration that we know today. We have honored Nebraska names that everyone knows - Peter Kiewit, Margre and Charles Durham, Dick Holland, Susie Buffett and so many more. And we have also undertaken to lift up names that you might not know as well, but whose impact in our communities has been undeniable - this year, Bobby Brumfield, last year South Omaha leader Martha Nieves, and previously the Urban League of Nebraska Young Professionals.