Thanks to everyone who made it out to House of Loom Friday night for Omaha’s You’re Welcome kick-off event! The evening started off with DJ Brent Crampton mixing some tunes as early arrivers viewed vibrant, original screen-prints and art created by Omaha artists. Christa Yoakum, coordinator of You’re Welcome and Nebraska is Home, welcomed the diverse crowd, encouraging them to mingle and enjoy the festivities. It wasn’t long before the venue was filled with people from all over the city as well as from numerous community organizations who co-sponsored the event.
Felicia Webster roused an emphatic response from the crowd with her spoken word poetry, which included themes such as community, togetherness, and change.
Conversations abounded, and people congregated around delicious food catered by Itzel Lopez of Taqueria El Palenque / Maria Bonita and by Marlon Okereke and his family of Sholiz African Restaurant.
Designer Justin Kemerling brought together graphic designers and other artists for a visual display of what makes Omaha a welcoming and inclusive community, with screen prints by Megan Bergman, Nicholas Burroughs, Tyson Reeder, and Joe Sparano, and other mixed-media art by Sally Deskins, Shane Bainbridge, Wendy Jane Bantam, John Henry Muller, John Hobbs, Rachel Boshart, Carrie Ratcliff, Jester Thakolo, and Justin and Katie Kemerling. As they enjoyed the art and music, guests also created their own welcoming messages.
And it wasn’t only art, food, and conversation that made the event. People got out on the floor for gypsy jazz trio Manouche Moustache. The party was well underway by then. Following Manouche Moustache, Portland/Kansas City DJ duo TACTIC turned out beats late into the evening, and the dance floor was full.
At the conclusion of the night, more than 200-300 guests had met new people and learned more about their Omaha neighbors. The one question repeatedly asked was, “How can we be involved in the next steps?” To get involved, contact Christa Yoakum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about You’re Welcome:
You’re Welcome — part of Nebraska is Home — is an locally-led initiative founded on the idea that immigrants settling into a community have a far better chance of integrating if the others in that community are receptive to welcoming their new neighbors.
Nebraska Is Home is affiliated with Welcoming America, a national grassroots-driven collaborative to promote mutual respect and cooperation among foreign-born and U.S.-born Americans.