Belonging: Tut’s Story

Nebraska is Home invites you to join others throughout our state and across the nation in the Belonging Begins with Us movement. Through individual actions and engaging your workplace, faith group or your whole town, we can play a part in creating welcoming and inclusive communities where everyone feels a sense of belonging. Learn more about belonging and how you can get involved at Nebraskaishome.org/belonging 

This is a guest blog post from Tut, Lincoln community member.

An item or belonging that is special:

Tut's mother's purse

When I think of my journey, I remember my mother’s purse. She has had it since we left the refugee camp. The purse is hand-woven and sturdy. It was a gift to my family. It reminds us of all the struggles, of what we can do, and it keeps us grounded. 

On feeling left out:

It seems very vivid. I came from San Diego to Nashville and was in English as a Second Language classes. I was the only African kid. Nobody wanted to be friends. They called me names. I didn’t feel welcomed. I felt alienated. 

But when some family moved near us, a cousin became a buddy who was more outgoing and could make friends. He brought me along with him and bridged that gap. 

On creating a community of belonging:

Now, I watch and can tell from people’s body language when someone is withdrawing from the conversation or when someone feels unaccepted or when they are not validated. I invite them in. I ask their opinion and for their input. Through my work, I get to help people buy their first homes and put down roots becoming vital members of their neighborhood.

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