UNO has a new student activism organization on campus called Justice & Liberation Coalition (JLC), whose mission is to organize students to work toward reimagining our communities and future through civic engagement work in criminal justice, health and the intersections of race, ability, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic statues, immigration status and religion.
JLC is led by faculty advisor Dr. Alecia Anderson, president and founder Clarice Dombeck and treasurer Hannah Michelle Bussa. Dombeck’s vision for starting the new student organization was inspired by work of other organizations from the past that she learned about at a museum a few years ago.
The organization was called “Black Women’s United Front,” an anti-racist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist group of primarily working-class women. Their mission was the “abolition of every possibility of oppression and exploitation.” Dombeck took what she learned and manifested an aligned mission for JLC at UNO.
“I saw a need for student activism on campus and in the community,” Dombeck said.
Bussa also felt a void in involvement and connection on campus with social issues.
“We want to activate students on campus to become more involved and to build connections across issues that impact our community,” Bussa said.
Since starting last month in January of 2021, JLC has 14 new members and counting. All community members over the age of 19 are eligible to join, including people that are not students at UNO. However, those members are not eligible to be on the board since it is a student-run organization. They will also be looking to fill leadership roles with underclassmen next semester. To sign up, visit the UNO website at unomaha.presence.io.
“We are excited to build this coalition of students and community members to be able to take on projects to improve our community,” Bussa said.
The organization meets every Tuesday at 5 p.m. via Zoom. Students and community members can expect many events taking place during the last week of February in honor of Black History Month. Mark your calendars for the following events: Black History Month Program called “Black Futures Month: Reimagining Thriving Black Futures,” “Art and Activism Night” and “Policy Hour: Activism and Policy Reform.” Dates and times will be announced on their social media platforms.
The Art and Activism Night event will be a night consisted of a small panel of Black artists at UNO, who will discuss the importance of art in activism work. There will also be opportunities to make post cards, zines and more during the event. A project is also in development to create a pen pal program to send letters and post cards to those incarcerated. Art supplies will be provided through a COVID-safe pick-up system in the Multicultural Affairs office before the event.
The Policy Hour event will focus on the state and local government policies to be supported or opposed in order to invest in Black communities in Nebraska. The speakers will talk about policies and allow for conversation and questions. For specific civic engagement events in the future, training will be offered prior to ensure members know how to speak to elected officials.
To further honor Black History Month, JLC will be showcasing Black activists and Black-led activist organizations every day on their social media platforms. To stay involved and show your support, follow them on Instagram @jlcuno and on Facebook at Justice & Liberation Coalition at UNO. Members may also join the email list and group chat on the app “Signal.” For any further questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.