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It’s time to come together! That was the theme in December of 2006. Come together. Work together. Pray together. Stay together. Don’t Just Talk About It, Be About It!
Earlier that year, beginning in June 2006, the Empowerment Network hosted meetings, summits and focus groups with residents and leaders to identify key issues and solutions. The first large leadership meeting was held in September 2006 when 70 leaders convened and agreed to work together. The first State of African-Americans and North Omaha was held in December of 2006. The initial meetings started with three and grew to over 300.
The Network also hosted youth summits and small group meetings with teens, successful students, gang members, ex‐offenders, single mothers, parents, and grandparents. The primary purpose was to gain resident and stakeholder input on issues, solutions, and priorities. This strategy continues today. The Empowerment Network made a commitment to hold monthly meetings with the community to provide updates, answer questions, provide opportunities for engagement, and periodically assess priorities and make adjustments to strategies.
Since the original meetings and launch of Empower Omaha in April 2007, the Network and North Omaha community have made significant progress on a covenant (agreement) and strategic plan (action plan) to help address issues identified by the community. George Fraser, author of Success Runs in our Race and Click was the keynote speaker at the public launch of the Empowerment Network. At the core of the Network are key themes that Fraser emphasizes, including African‐Americans “Connecting the Dots” and “Rebuilding the Urban Village.”
Initially designed and launched by African‐Americans and North Omaha residents, the Empowerment Network Collaboration now includes people of all races across the city, county, region and nation. Over 500 organizations and thousands of individuals have participated. The Network model is now recognized regionally and nationally. National groups are traveling to Omaha to learn more about how they can implement similar work in their own cities.