By Kellyn Vuchetich
May 27, 2021
Last November around the time of the presidential election, the folks at local nonprofit Stand in for Nebraska came up with an idea to bring awareness to the needs of our community and educate on how to bring about positive change. Despite the freezing conditions at the time, they embarked on a journey through the Jamaican North Trail to walk, bike, and run for various causes and injustices. This Saturday, Stand in for Nebraska will be hosting the second bi-annual Journey For Justice event. This time around, the Spring weather will provide for a trail experience that is perhaps more comfortable, but equally meaningful.
Stand in for Nebraska is an organization that advocates for human rights and justice alongside multi-marginalized communities. Nature Medicine Song, co-Intersectional Justice Coordinator for the nonprofit, shares the significance of the trek through Lincoln’s trail system to the state capitol.
“The point of the trail was to find a way for us to be able to meet at the capitol no matter what direction one was on the journey from,” explains Nature. “This sets an example of what it looks like to come together in different walks of life and join together uplifting one another and each other’s causes we are advocating for.”
After participants take in the natural beauty of the trail while reflecting on their shared or individual causes, they’ll gather at the capitol building for a family-friendly, carnival-themed event.
“This year, we are doing a family fun event,” says Nature. “The goal of this is to bring the community in for fun and to catch our breath after the year we have had. We want to provide a fun and safe place to play, learn, and grow together while advocating what the needs of the community are and resources within.”
While the Journey for Justice event in November may have proven more challenging and individualized due to weather and public health concerns, the May festival will allow for participants to celebrate and gather with one another. The activities at the event will include games, prizes, music, food, dance, local artists, and speakers from the community. The evening will close with a ceremony and candlelight vigil in honor of George Floyd, just a few days after the anniversary of his death on May 25th.
Following the Journey For Justice Festival, Stand in for Nebraska will be working on a few different upcoming and ongoing projects and events. This includes the Indigenous Healing Gardens, which are currently being developed by students involved with the Youth Collective. The gardens are inspired by the Indian Center’s Healing Garden and utilize indigenous approaches to sustainable gardening while promoting racial healing in the community. Stand in for Nebraska will also be hosting a Roots to Rise summer camp, which will focus on self-identity and mental wellness in BIPOC youth.
The Journey for Justice Festival will take place Saturday, May 29th at the Indian Center from noon to 10 p.m. For more information, visit standinfornebraska.org.
“We have had such an embrace from the community that it is truly filling,” says Nature. “May the community leave feeling empowered, inspired, motivated and educated.”
Kellyn Vuchetich is a journalism intern with KZUM.