Each year, Civic Nebraska’s Strengthening Democracy Awards recognize Nebraskans whose work embodies the spirit of more modern and robust democracy. Among our 2022 honorees are educators, administrators, students, and everyday Nebraskans. We’ll officially honor the winners on June 9, but before then, here’s a chance to learn a bit more about what makes them special.
Civic Nebraska honors Brooklyn Terrill of Lincoln with the Young Civic Leader Award for her advocacy and activism to pass a new law that protects victims of sexual assault.
In 2020, Brooklyn took part in a Capitol Experience Day with Civic Nebraska with her University of Nebraska classmates. Capitol Experience Day is designed to give young Nebraskans an immersive look at state government and show them how they can interact with it – which is exactly what Brooklyn did.
While at the Capitol, she spoke with Civic Nebraska Executive Director Adam Morfeld in his capacity as a state senator for Legislative District 46, which includes the Nebraska U. campus. Soon after, she reached out to Sen. Morfeld with a proposed bill – The Sexual Assault Good Samaritan Law. Brooklyn was moved to act when learning of a friend who did not report an assault after her attacker threatened that doing so would put her at risk of punishment for being under the influence at the time.
Undaunted, Brooklyn researched the legislation, created fact sheets for legislators, and worked with senate staff to draft the bill. During committee hearings and debates, she organized her peers and mentors to testify and talk to senators on the behalf of the bill. In 2022, LB519 overwhelmingly passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts.
Empathy is a vital ingredient in a modern and robust democracy. Brooklyn became involved in the community while attending the university, volunteering for a local sexual assault crisis line, serving on ASUN Government Liaison Committee, and fundraising for good causes through her sorority. She plans to seek a law degree at Nebraska Law.
“All of this meaningful change started with a collegiate visit to the Nebraska State Capitol through Capitol Experience Day,” said Rachael Shah, a Nebraska U. professor who nominated Brooklyn.
“Not only was Brooklyn a story of impact, but her peers were also engaged in the process, in addition to protecting the vulnerable for years to come.”
Join us as we celebrate Brooklyn and her fellow Strengthening Democracy honorees on Thursday, June 9, at DelRay 817 in Lincoln. Save your spot today!