I didn’t think I was big/worthy/important enough to change the world. After this experience, I realize how much light I have. I want to encourage others to recognize their light, too.
-Duchesne Academy Student
For over 75 years, Inclusive Communities has been strengthening our community – one success story at a time.
Through our powerful human relations work, we are providing education and advocacy related to the topics of diversity and inclusion. We work with schools, businesses and in the community. Our critical social justice work would not be possible without strong community partners, donors, advocates and an incredible group of committed volunteers.
In the 1930s, leaders from different faiths refused to be bystanders in the face of hatred, intolerance, bigotry, fear and deeply embedded prejudice. These leaders came together nationally in response to organized campaigns of hatred spreading throughout America.
The Ku Klux Klan was active in most areas across the country, directing vicious bigotry towards Catholics, Jews, blacks and “foreigners.” The rise of Hitler and Nazism spawned hate groups targeting Jews at a time when anti-Semitism was already overt and pervasive. Al Smith was subjected to hatemongering when he ran for President because he was Catholic. Acknowledging the need for action, leaders including Teddy Roosevelt, Benjamin Cardozo, Jane Addams, and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, created The National Conference for Christians and Jews – NCCJ. They mobilized citizens against the forces of violence, ignorance and exclusion, and contributed significantly to an expanded definition of “who is an American.”
In 1938 in Omaha, Nebraska, local leaders also refused to be bystanders. Otto Swanson, owner of the Nebraska Clothing Company, was visited in his office by a fellow businessman. He listened with growing disbelief and indignation while the man told him of the formation of an organization in Omaha which would promote a secret boycott of Jewish-owned businesses. The group would encourage patronage to the benefit of Swanson’s store because it was “Christian owned.”
After Swanson showed the visitor out, he sat back and considered what had just occurred. He is quoted as saying, “I couldn’t believe anything like that could happen, not in the United States and certainly not in Omaha.” Otto Swanson was committed to the cause of working toward human understanding…the element he knew would contribute to the end of religious and racial bigotry. Swanson, along with W. Dale Clark, banker; Milton Livingston, businessman; and Ralph Svoboda, attorney, joined with other leading citizens and established the Midlands NCCJ chapter, now known as Inclusive Communities.
Since 1938, this organization has served the Nebraska, Iowa and the region by directing our efforts in the areas of youth, community and workplace human relations, leadership programming to achieve our mission of creating inclusive communities.
Mission and Vision
Inclusive Communities is a human relations organization confronting prejudice, bigotry and discrimination through educational programs that raise awareness, foster leadership and encourage advocacy for a just and inclusive society.
Inclusive Communities envisions a society that is strengthened by diversity, inclusion, respect and justice for all people.
Gabriela (Gabby) Martinez, BSW
Gabriela (Gabby) Martinez, BSW
Gabby joined the team in 2015 as a Program Associate and now serves as our Program Manager. Gabby uses She/Her/Hers pronouns. Gabby first became involved with Inclusive Communities in 2008 by attending a local a one-day workshop with her high school, and then was a part of the first delegation to attend IncluCity from Millard North High School. After attending IncluCity, Gabby became an Inclusive Communities’ intern and was an intern for two years. After graduating from Millard North, Gabby attended Creighton University where she earned her Bachelor’s in Social Work, and then began working for Inclusive Communities part-time. Before accepting her position at Inclusive Communities, Gabby completed her practicum at Completely KIDS while still volunteering for various Inclusive Communities programming. To date, she has assisted with over 22 camps and 20 Omaha Table Talks. In her free time, Gabby likes to travel, cook, paint, run, and watch a good comedy.
Maggie Wood, BA
Maggie Wood, BA
Maggie Wood joined our team as Executive Director on September 21st, 2015. Maggie uses She/Her/Hers pronouns. Maggie moved to Omaha in 1997 with the Clark Construction Group, as part of the general contracting team for the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Courthouse and chose to stay in Omaha when the project was completed. In addition to her for-profit work, throughout her 20 year career, Maggie has worked successfully for some notable non-profits, including Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Film Streams, Opera Omaha and CFDC/CDI Head Start. She has managed budgets, solicited funds, empowered volunteers and has overseen the daily operations of various sized organizations.
Elizabeth Codina, BS
Elizabeth Codina, BS
Liz Codina joined the IC team on September 1, 2016 and now serves as the Associate Development Manager. Liz uses She/Her/Hers pronouns. Liz received her Bachelor of Science degree from UNO in 2013 with a major in Political Science Foreign and International Security Affairs and a second major in Latino/Latin American Studies with a minor in Spanish. Liz has served on several local and state-wide boards for grassroots advocacy groups and continues with her community involvement by serving on the board of directors for a non-profit in South Omaha. Liz has a strong background in business operations management and administration, community outreach, and public relations. In her spare time, Liz focuses on research for her work as a freelance journalist. Her articles focus on policy, politics and community issues at the local, state and national level. Some of Liz’s hobbies include hiking, traveling, and spending time with her pets.
Camellia “Cammy” Watkins is an Omaha native who graduated from Omaha South High School. She received a BA Degree from Cornell College in Psychology and Vocal Performance. Cammy has 15 years experience working with not-for-profit organizations ranging from environmental activism to performing arts administration. The opportunity to work with many different facets of the not-for-profit world have provided Cammy with vast insights into the business needs of organizations.
Cammy is fortunate to have had multiple mentors and managers of which have provided the opportunity to develop her talents and grow in her profession. Cammy most recently served as the Family Services Manager at Habitat for Humanity of Omaha where she was instrumental in revising the current Homeownership selection process to better serve the future homeowners of the Omaha area and ensure the organization was meeting the compliance requirements of the new Mortgage Lending regulations. In addition Cammy helped develop new programming for the families served through the organization as well as streamline employee processes for case management and implementation of programming.
In her spare time Cammy sings with the Opera Omaha chorus and other local churches and theaters. Cammy is the proud Tia of 3 of her 4 nieces and nephews, however, she is still on the fence about one of them! She also enjoys her “Treat Yourself” days with her Mother who is her inspiration for hard work, dedication, and mindfulness.
Cammy is overjoyed to be joining the team at Inclusive Communities as the Operations and Business Development Manager as it provides the perfect opportunity for her to combine her passions for promoting social justice and equality, community building and organizational development.
Board of Directors
- Jon P. Doyle,Chair
First National Bank
- Andrew Rouillard, 1st Chair
Mutual of Omaha
- Scott Winkler, Treasurer
City of Omaha
- Ralph Kellogg, Secretary
Centris Federal Credit Union
- John W. Ewing, Jr
- Kristine Hull
Heartland Family Service
- Howard J. Kaslow
Abrahams Kaslow & Cassman
- Emily Moody
Mutual of Omaha
- Teresa Negron
Retired Omaha Police Department
- Michele Jensen
Wells Fargo Bank
- Kathryn Goodman
- Cecil L. Hicks, Jr.
University of Nebraska at Omaha