SPA’s Response to Current Events
Dear Friends, Family, and Loved Ones,
The conviction of Officer Chauvin is an acknowledgement of the ongoing threats to Black people in law enforcement custody in Minneapolis, in Omaha, and throughout the nation. Chauvin’s trial rekindled in us and our colleagues the experience of trauma that many of us felt when we first learned the names of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Ma’Khia Bryant and so many other lives taken from our American tapestry too soon and without legitimate justification. Here in Omaha, our long history of violence and fear threatening Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities goes back to the lynchings of Joe Coe and Will Brown and communities of Color in Omaha continue to feel trauma as the result of the killings of Zachery Bear Heels and Kenneth Jones.
Beyond those who lost their lives many more law-abiding People of Color feel nervous when approached by those whose job is to make them feel safe. As the UNO School of Public Administration we work to prepare public servants to meet their responsibilities equitably and well. That so many of our community are distrustful of law enforcement and other public servants is a sign of our institutional failure and a call to action for the School of Public Administration to do better. We pledge to continue our research and teaching on how to bring public servants, clients, and citizens together in the ongoing work of democracy in a diverse society. We will do this work even if it is hard and even after we make mistakes.
We encourage members of our community to reach out to mental health professionals who can help manage the trauma of violence against Black, Brown, Asian, and Indigenous friends, family, colleagues, and ourselves. Please take advantage of the UNO campus Counseling and Psychology Services (CAPS) or one of the many excellent nonprofit and government community behavioral health service providers, many of whom include professionals trained by CPACS and SPA. We also encourage all community members to find solidarity networks with communities who share and validate your experiences. Some of the many powerful Omaha solidarity groups include Culxr House, ProBLAC, BLM Omaha, and the Omaha Community Council for Racial Justice and Reconciliation. Please let your SPA community know if you need additional support and join us in condemning racist violence wherever and however it presents.
UNO SPA Faculty and Staff