Everything is always changing, as far as learning about who we all are as a community. Being open minded about that sort of change is only the first step. Guiding youth to find that place of open mindedness is an even bigger step. Finding a place where all people can live freely and learn about each other with dignity and respect and enjoy a peaceful acceptance with one another can be a challenge. Camp Inclucity created by Inclusive Communities is that place.
For over 80 years, Inclusive Communities has worked with Omaha communities to create a more inclusive neighborhood for everyone. With an engaged staff and volunteer force, year after year they have grown to tackle bigotry and discrimination thru safe and respectful environments. The contributions of so many different individuals needed to be acknowledged so the Inclusivity Awards were created. Every year it’s a moment to shine the spotlight on the people and places making the difference.
And Surreal Media gets to be that spotlight.
Previously, we showcased last year’s winners, which you can read about here. This year we had the opportunity to see the recipients in action at their work. It’s one thing to hear about what goes on, but it’s an entirely different feeling to be there experiencing it as it happens all around you.
Volunteer award recipient Haji, has attended over 20 Camp Inclu-City events as a mentor in the past 5 years, ever since he attended it as a teenager and found it was an experience that changed his life completely. Passing along that change to the students that attend have made him a stand out to everyone he works with, who see nothing but bright futures ahead for him, and reaching that point where a youth breaks down their barriers and finally feels like themselves is the moment he lives for.
“It’s worth it,” he says.
Being there with our cameras, and seeing the students engaging with each other and listening to each groups story and sharing their thoughts in an open, judgement free forum was amazing. Working together with Inclusive Communities is eye opening to what’s true inclusion and equity looks like and what’s possible.
We think it’s worth it too.
Photo Credits: Andre Sessions Jr.
Next Time: We look at how being trained in military and business security led to finding advocacy in empowering women, and children in at risk homes.