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2015 Peace Conference to be held Saturday

2015 Peace Conference to be held Saturday

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The 2015 annual Peace Conference will be from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Trinity United Methodist Church, Fifth and Elm streets, in Grand Island.

State Coordinator Tim Rinne noted that Nebraskans for Peace has more than 1,000 household members throughout the state. Rinne said more than 100 people are registered for the conference already, and others will walk in on the day of the conference.

He said it is too late to register for the meal, which will be a Mexican buffet, so people who want to attend for the entire day will either “need to brown bag it or dash out for something to eat.” Although the peace conference is a membership meeting, Rinne said, members of the general public “not only are welcome to attend, they are encouraged to attend.”

He said the general public can stay for the entire day, or they can stay for just those portions that are of interest to them.

The organization’s mission statement says, “Nebraskans for Peace is a statewide grassroots advocacy organization working nonviolently for peace with justice through community building, education and political action.”

The featured panel discussion will be called “Peace and Justice for All: Securing Justice for Nebraska’s Diverse Communities.” Panelists will be Amy Miller, legal director, American Civil Liberties Union Nebraska, Lincoln; Yolanda Nuncio, immigration specialist, Lutheran Family Services, Grand Island; Dr. Daniel J. Leonard-Biber, pediatrics, Hastings; and Dana Jelinek, executive director, Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity.

The discussion will begin at 9:45 a.m., with the public having an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists beginning at 11:15 a.m.

The conference will feature a number of individual workshops. The first workshops will run from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., with the second round of workshops running from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. The workshops:

— “Latinos in Nebraska: Our Past and Our Future:,” Juan Gallegos, a Latino activist and Nebraskans for Peace state board member; and Yolanda Nuncio, immigration specialist and community outreach coordinator, Lutheran Family Services.

— “Community Policing and How We Can Engage,” A’Jamal Byndon, community consultant, Nebraska Families Diverse Communities Collaborative and Nebraskans for Peace state board; and Paul Olson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor emeritus and Nebraskans for Peace state board president emeritus.

— “Stopping the Reinstatement of the Death Penalty,” Matt Maly, coordinator for Nebraska Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty.

— “Equality in the Heartland,” Brian Whitecalf, Nebraskans for Peace state board liaison to the LGBT community.

— “Insure the ‘Good Life’: Taking Action to Pass Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska,” Nebraska Appleseed.

— “Everyone Is Bienvenidos: Establishing a Garden Community,” Erin Schoenberg, project organizer, Latino Farmer Project, Center for Rural Affairs.

— “Getting to Know Our Muslim Neighbors,” Ragda Mukbel, Palestinian-American activist from Omaha, originally from East Jerusalem.

The Peace Conference is presented by the University of Nebraska at Omaha Grace Abbott School of Social Work and Nebraskans for Peace.

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I have covered local education issues for The Independent since January 1990 and have worked for The independent since 1978.

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