The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has launched a project to celebrate the work of Huskers who acknowledge and demonstrate actions intended to eradicate systematic racism, injustice and inequality.
Announced during the CEO Action Community Conversation on Sept. 29, My Husker Action allows students, faculty, staff, alumni or the public to go online and share actions they’ve taken to address inequity and empower others.
Stories submitted will be featured on the My Husker Action website and shared with Huskers through campus social media channels and Nebraska Today.
“My Husker Action is a very simple idea that allows individuals to tell others that they are doing something to eradicate systemic racism, injustice and inequality,” said Karen Kassebaum, assistant vice chancellor of inclusive leadership and learning with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “It is also a way to celebrate those actions and empower others to invoke greater change.”
The idea took root in the emotional days after the death of George Floyd and the national protests that followed. As Nebraska students, faculty and staff reacted individually and as units, Kassebaum contemplated the need for a greater response.
She asked Nkenge Friday, assistant vice chancellor in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, about what the university’s action should be. The one-on-one conversation led to the need to highlight the individual responses of others across the university into a single, inspirational resource.
“It spawned from the fact that people wanted to do something, but no one knew exactly what the right response should be,” Kassebaum said. “So, we launched My Husker Action to serve as a place to share what individuals are doing — from organizing large rallies to simply placing a sign in your yard — and inspire others to act.”
At its launch, the My Husker Action website highlighted actions taken by Vicki Highstreet, associate director for recreation programming at Campus Recreation, and Kara Viesca, associate professor of teaching, learning and teacher education. The actions included Highstreet’s service on an equity, diversity and inclusion panel; and Viesca’s work in launching an online book club that provides anti-racist/racial justice resources to educators.
The website will be updated with new actions as they are submitted by Huskers.
“This is an opportunity for individuals to speak up and speak out,” Kassebaum said. “If we want to eradicate injustice, racism and inequality, it’s going to take all of us.
Individually, we can make some dents. But, if we can do it as a collective and show that we are all working toward the same goal, it will speed up the process and — maybe — breakthrough and generate greater change.”
My Husker Action is part of the university’s larger CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, the largest CEO- and president-driven initiative of its kind in the United States. The initiative calls for a specific set of actions that participating organizations will take to cultivate a trusting environment where all ideas are welcome and employees feel empowered to discuss diversity and inclusion.
Chancellor Ronnie Green signed the CEO Action commitment in 2018, marking the University of Nebraska–Lincoln as the first institution of higher learning in the state to join the movement.