Diversity on the ground, diversity at the top

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April 20th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – The population of people of color is on the rise, with Latinos leading the way. And, some locals hope the leadership in the city will start to change to reflect that growth.

Omaha is seeing significant growth in the Latino population. In fact, over a ten year period this group’s population grew to 24,000 plus, now making all identified people of color including Blacks, Asians, and American Indians, account for one third of the overall population.

Jerry Deichert is the director at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Center for Public Affairs Research. He says the census counts everyone including documented and undocumented immigrants, people in prison, as well as those without permanent addresses. Deichert said the new numbers will be used to form new legislative districts for the county, city, and state: a process the Nebraska Legislature is still making its way through.

A'Jamal-Rashad Byndon, Executive Director of Omaha Table Talk, discussed the knew meanings for Omaha's growing Latino population Tuesday at a forum organized by the Black-Brown Coalition.

“Some districts are going to become a majority either Latino or African American where they may not have been before,” Deichert said. And that could translate to more people of color representing those districts.

Deichert addressed a little over a handful of people, who gathered Tuesday morning to hear what the 2010 census numbers show about the growth of minority groups. A’Jamal-Rashad Byndon attended the discussion. He is the Executive Director of Omaha Table Talk, a non-profit group that promotes diversity in the metro.

“Hopefully we’ll wake some people up to be much more involved in addressing the issues of diversity,” he said. “And also to make sure the institutions represent our population, and that we provide services to all the diverse groups in our society.”

Byndon added, “I also think this … is for people to see that they are not alone, that when you represent groups that can come together as coalitions, then you can help make transformations in our city.”

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