OMAHA – What began as peaceful protests near 72nd and Dodge on Saturday, May 30, gave way to unrest and violence.
Early Sunday morning, volunteers emerged to clean up the remnants of the previous day's events, which occurred just blocks away from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) campus. These volunteers, armed with brushes, brooms, and other cleaning materials, showed the strength, resiliency, and optimism of the Omaha community.
Kaia Phelps, a UNO student, felt it was important to be part of a cleanup effort as a way to care for the city she calls home. Some of her fellow classmates joined her to step up and be part of the effort.
“I felt it was vital to establish a cleanup to change the narrative about Black Lives Matter protests,” Phelps said. “It has been portrayed throughout the media that blacks are the main perpetrators of riots and uprising. However, I wanted to ensure that Omaha was not left with this false interpretation.”
Volunteers cleaned graffiti from buildings and debris from streets and parking lots near Crossroads Mall and other area businesses. Jabin Moore, UNO Student Body President and Student Regent, was among the students who joined Phelps in cleaning up the aftermath.
“Students, like most people in this nation, are hurting and tired of seeing the perpetual display of innocent and unarmed black bodies being killed with no justice,” Moore said. “Many of those students are searching for answers and seeking ways to respond to these injustices.”
Moore said that students can find themselves confused, looking for ways to cope with what is happening in our nation. Cleaning up what was left behind is one way that that Maverick Spirit has shone through in the midst of unrest.
“Our students are so strong and resilient, and I know there is much hope for our city and our nation,” Moore continued. “As we have said before, we will get through this together if we continue to stay unified through this period of distress.”
Efforts by UNO students like Phelps and Moore were showcased in local media reports by KMTV’s Sydney Gray and KETV’s Quanecia Fraser. Links to the full reports can be found below.
Moore also issued a joint statement alongside Student Body Presidents and Regents from the other University of Nebraska campuses. Read the statement here.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.