NewsLocal News


Local mentoring organization allows students to showcase social justice through art

Each student made their own section of a mural
Posted at 6:22 PM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 19:22:15-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Partnership 4 Kids, a local mentoring organization, believes it's important to be a safe space for kids to express their thoughts and feelings. Last year, they allowed student-led discussions regarding diversity, equity and inclusion.

"They were concerned with what was happening when all the social justice around George Floyd and even here locally in our community. So they wanted to express their opinion about how it affected them and their community. They wanted to have something to say about that and what can I do to make change," said Deb Shaw, Diversity, Inclusion and Recruitment Leader for Partnership 4 Kids.

Students say those discussions allowed them to explore their differences and understand each other better.

"We talked about differences, everyone has different stories and backgrounds and because of their different identities, they have different experiences that not all of us understand. And out of the conversations we were honest and open and understanding of those differences and it’s a good way of realizing how different we are so know how to respect each other and be kind," said Kim Salas, a student with Partnership 4 Kids.

After those discussions, they brainstormed how to take action. They partnered with community artist Dave Koenig and the Peregrine Hotel to create an art project.

"I like the concept of, we each get our own painting and we get to put ourselves into it, and you put individuality and express it but then it all comes together as one united painting and the great part of it is we don’t know how it’s going to look once it’s all together, but that’s the excitement of it," Koenig said.

The mural will be displayed in the lobby of the Peregrine Hotel in downtown Omaha. Hotel representatives say the art project fits perfectly with their mission.

"When someone comes to town, they’ve got somewhere to stay and we want them to feel welcome no matter what their background is, their race, their color, their religion — they’re accepted, they’re a part of us, they’re part of our Peregrine nation and the kids go through the same mindset. How do they fit into this world, what’s their tribe, what's their community? So, we want them to feel just as welcome as any traveler who comes to Omaha. They’re a part of Omaha, so they’re part of what makes us who we are," David Scott, General Manager of the Peregrine Hotel said.

The mural will be put up in the hotel by the end of the month.