The Civic Nebraska Writers Group is a collection of community advocates across our state who share their thoughts on topics related to civic life — government, civil discourse, media literacy, community engagement, voting rights, and even democracy in general. Look for new Civic Nebraska Writers Group columns on Friday at CivicNebraska.org and occasionally in local newspapers around Nebraska.
The Civic Nebraska Writers Group is:
Charlyne Berens, Lincoln. Charlyne, a retired professor and associate dean of the University of Nebraska College of Journalism and Mass Communications, is passionate about the First Amendment and freedom of expression. She also spent 14 years as editor and co-publisher of the Seward County Independent. She has published two books about the Nebraska Legislature and a biography of former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska). In addition, Charlyne is a member of the Civic Nebraska Board of Advisers.
2.22.19: Our unicameral was built with us in mind
6.14.19: The need for (and the eternal challenge of) separation of powers
8.9.19: Fake news: Much ado about nothing, and a problem for democracy
Jordan Martin, Crete. Jordan, a native of northeast Nebraska, teaches social studies to seventh- through twelfth-graders at Wilber-Clatonia Public Schools. Jordan also moonlights as an assistant one-act drama coach in the fall and a speech judge in the spring. In his spare time, he enjoys ping-pong, video games, and traveling. Jordan lives in Crete.
3.1.19: Happy Birthday, Nebraska – and thanks, George
5.24.19: Graduation is a declaration of independence, and hope
8.16.19: Optimism at the start of a new school year
Kevin Shinn, Lincoln. A chef, writer, and entrepreneur, Kevin was the owner and executive chef of bread & cup in the Lincoln Haymarket from 2007-17. He is a respected and innovative thought leader in Lincoln’s cultural, economic, and civic life. No matter the endeavor, Kevin finds he comes back to the same main pursuits: Setting the table, having important conversations, and seeing ideas become reality.
3.8.19: On the menu or in life, change takes listening, learning
Astrid Munn, Omaha. Astrid is the Child and Family Managing Attorney at Immigrant Legal Center in Omaha. A native of Scottsbluff, Astrid began her career as a journalist before earning her law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She previously practiced immigration law in the D.C./Baltimore area and personal injury law in Western Nebraska.
3.15.19: ‘Doing a Thing’ only requires you and your ideas
6.7.19: The civic effect of psychological safety
Andy Long, McCook. Andy, executive director of the McCook Economic Development Corp., leads community efforts to facilitate the formation, retention, attraction, and expansion of businesses in the McCook area. He served five years as vice president of McCook Community College, where he helped restart the Hormel Entrepreneurship Program and launch the McCook College Leadership Program. He also is the director of Cultivate Rural Leaders, a nonprofit organization providing rural communities and organizations with leadership education.
3.22.19: A devotional for democracy
5.17.19: Here’s how to supercharge civic education in Nebraska
9.6.19: Leadership beyond agendas and the status quo
Barry Thomas, Omaha. Barry, the director of equity and diversity for Omaha Public Schools, is a former teacher at both Omaha North High School and McMillan Magnet Center. He is immediate past-president of the Nebraska State Council for Social Studies, a member of the Nebraska Advisory Council for National Geographic Society, and board member of the National Social Studies Supervisor Association. He has served on the Great Plains Black History Museum board and Omaha African-American Male Achievement Collaboration. He also is on the advisory board for the New Leadership Council as well as the Empowerment Network. Barry is also an executive board member of the Omaha Branch of the NAACP.
3.29.19: What’s the message?
9.13.19: Everyday check-up
Mike Flood, Norfolk. Mike, the former speaker of the Nebraska Legislature who served as a state senator from 2005 to 2013, is a lawyer and owner of Flood Communications. Mike believes it is important for Nebraskans to connect with each other around what unites our communities rather than what divides them. Our success as a state, Mike says, depends on our ability to respect one another and to understand the issues affecting different parts of the state. He serves on several boards, including Invest Nebraska, TeamMates, and the Children’s Scholarship Fund of Omaha.
4.5.19: Navigating Nebraska’s future: grit, tenacity, and imagination
Rebecca Svec, Milligan. Rebecca, the marketing coordinator for Fortify Group of Shickley, Geneva, and North Platte, grew up on a dryland farm in Gage County and now enjoys life on a farm near Milligan. Her career in journalism, communications, and marketing has put her in the middle of interesting stories in communities around the state. Rebecca spent the first part of her career in newspapers, including the Hastings Tribune and Lincoln Journal Star. She then served as director of communications at Doane University before joining Fortify Group in 2013.
4.12.19: Civic service in the sharing of grief (and pie)
7.5.19: For this future, no DeLorean necessary
Tammy Day, Norfolk. Tammy and her husband Brandon own and operate Daycos Inc., which provides revenue management for transportation service providers across the country. Tammy’s work focuses on Daycos4Good, which uses the business as a force for good in the world. She is a member of the Norfolk Public Schools Board of Education and is active in the Connie Fund, Stand for Schools, and Women’s Network of Nebraska.
4.19.19: Create a culture of giving in your community
7.12.19: Build your social capital and build your community
Angie Remington, Omaha. Angie, deputy director for the Nebraska Civic Engagement Table, has 15 years of experience in nonprofit communications and issue advocacy. She believes deeply in helping communities build power to affect systemic change through organizing, leadership development, and collaboration. Angie also serves on the board of directors for Survivors Rising and Earth Day Omaha.
5.3.19: To sound out real change, get un-com-fort-a-ble