The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s National Council of Negro Women wants its community to know it has them covered – in more ways than one.
UNO’s NCNW – a nonprofit organization with a mission to enhance the opportunities and lives of African American women – hosted a sex education exposé Friday in the Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom from 6 – 9 p.m.
The event was open to students, faculty, staff and outside community members. Admission was $5 and free for students who received a confidential sexually transmitted disease screening from the Douglas County Health Department. The exposé sought to educate the public about the importance of safe sex.
The ballroom comprised of several local organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, OneWorld, UNO’s Health Department, UNO’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center to provide educational information for attendees.
Each organization arranged its own booth with pamphlets, brochures and a plethora of free contraceptives available to anyone and everyone. Clear, glass boxes filled to the brim with complimentary condoms decorated nearly every table in the room.
“Since it’s close to Valentine’s Day – and that’s a love holiday – we wanted to do something to educate UNO students and the Omaha community about what they’re getting into,” UNO senior and NCNW member Jenaya Westbrook said.
With inspiration to help promote safe sex, the NCNW did just that.
“We thought it was a good time for people to get tested prior to Valentine’s Day activities,” UNO senior and NCNW member Jonnisha McCleod said.
Various models of birth control including intrauterine devices, the implant, the pill and emergency contraceptives were available to study at multiple booths. Experts readily answered questions.
A number of students paraded through the hallways of the Stu-dent Center’s second floor with brown bags in hand, ready to test for STDs with the Douglas County Health Department. Results will be returned within five to seven business days from Douglas County Health.
Others simply wandered through the ballroom taking in all there was to see, absorbing as much information as possible, including UNO freshman Maddisen Mohnsen and Metro freshman Miah Pluta.
Pluta, accompanied by Mohnsen, decided to attend the event be-cause one of her professors was rewarding extra credit for attendance. Having never attended an event similar to this one, both Pluta and Mohnsen were intrigued by the facts and expert advice.
“My favorite was the Charles Drew Health Center booth because they asked you questions and gave prizes,” Mohnsen said.
While the first part of the exposé was dedicated to sharing tips and information on safe sex, the remaining time was devoted to a Black Out question and answer panel.
The panel consisted of Dr. Jay Irwin, Dr. Sherri Nared-Brooks, Andrew Aleman, Amber Barcel and Alyssa Watts. Westbrook said a few women from the NCNW used their connections to recruit medical personnel for the Q&A session to conclude the event.