Celebrate endings – for they precede new beginnings.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie
As focus turns to 2021, Civic Nebraska is readying for a big year in creating a more modern and robust democracy for all Nebraskans. Our core values of community, learning, innovation, power, and optimism will guide our way in our service to our state, as they did all through an extraordinary 2020. And we’re so glad you will be joining us on the journey in the New Year.
Here is some (but not all!) of what we have planned.
Our Voting Rights Initiatives team will …
– Lead opposition to anti-voter policies, such as voter ID, at the statehouse. Truly representative democracy does not make it more difficult for eligible voters to cast their ballots. Civic Nebraska has led the opposition to such disenfranchising proposals for the past decade, and will continue to organize to defeat any bills or measures that make it harder for people to vote. In addition, we will be advocating for a number of pro-voter policies during the 2021 session of the Nebraska Legislature. We’ll be sharing all of our 2021 legislative priorities in early January.
– Expand and fortify our statewide network of volunteer Voting Rights Advocates. Voting Rights Advocates, or VRAs, are our advocacy superstars. They’re the committed volunteers who devote time each month to building relationships in their communities and with their elected officials to advance pro-voter policies. VRAs have access to special policy news and updates, along with exclusive training, resources, and information to help build relationships with legislators and staff. Sign up to become a VRA and we will connect you with your nearest Civic Nebraska Voting Rights Advocate chapter or help you start your own.
– Continue our constitutional challenge of the appointment of election commissioners. The pandemic slowed the process on the ongoing legal question of whether it is constitutional for large counties in Nebraska to appoint their election commissioners, rather than electing them. In 2021, we will continue our push for clarity on this important legal question.
Our Youth Civic Leadership team will …
– Build stronger ties with families and neighborhoods by all means necessary. The pandemic’s disruption of scholastic activities forced our school-based programs to adjust rapidly, including the launch of virtual resources such as CIVIC U.
But our work to keep communities engaged, informed, and safe didn’t end there. Throughout the pandemic, our Youth Civic Leadership staff has dropped off books and activities at students’ homes, set up and coordinated virtual clubs, paid out mini-grants for neighborhood projects, supported hundreds of families with free COVID-19 protection kits, and tightened the relationship between our schools and their communities in dozens of other ways. And we’re just getting started.
Our Civic Health team will …
– Drive investments in Civic Health programs and workshops across the state using the 2020 Civic Health Index. On Jan. 25, we’ll be releasing the latest Index, the definitive measure of civic life in Nebraska. The Civic Health Index is an important roadmap for governments, organizations, volunteers, and everyday Nebraskans to improve in areas such as social connections, political involvement, building faith in institutions, and community engagement. You’ll be hearing a lot about the Index – and how you can get involved in implementing its goals – in 2021.
– Expand civil discourse and media literacy training and Civic Saturdays. On the heels of a contentious 2020 election season, we will be redoubling our focus on how to talk with – and listen to – one another. In addition to a suite of educational resources and activities, we also will be continuing and growing Civic Saturdays, our regular celebrations of our shared civic spirit, throughout 2021. Check out our past Civic Saturdays to get an idea of how they go down and then mark your calendars for 11 a.m. Jan. 23 for Civic Saturday: A Transfer of Power. We hope to see you there.
– Build and support civic leadership capacity in Greater Nebraska. Civic Nebraska facilitates conversations for youth and adults across the state to identify civic assets and set a course for stronger local civic health. From Falls City to Scottsbluff, from South Sioux City to Benkelman, Civic Nebraska is there to help local governments, groups, and individuals fortify the fabric of civic life.
Thanks for everything in 2020, friends. We’re eager to turn the page and begin the next chapter in Civic Nebraska’s story. We’re grateful for your support and partnership!