Causes Across Nebraska

Stopping Modern Day Slavery in Nebraska

Writing about the Underground Railroad on this blog last week was so much easier.  Partly because I want to stick my head in the sand and pretend that nothing so horrible as enslaving others is still going on today.  While the shackled may no longer be working the cotton, many are still forced into a lifestyle that is NOT of their own choosing.  This is even true in Nebraska.  (Thanks, Jen, for forcing me to recognize this fact even though I still really want to pretend that it does not exist!)

Sex Trafficking Haunts Nebraska Events

This compelling article from NET tells a story that I do not really want to read.  As the two game elimination series happens at the College World Series tonight, for me it is all about a great baseball game.  For others, it is not.  Big profile events perpetuate crime opportunities.   Even small towns can still hide evil.

File:Springview, Nebraska street signs.JPG

Image from Wikimedia Commons

On my Sacred Line blog this morning, I wrote a bit about my own personal reflections and what I hope to do about this issue.  Being only one small voice, I now want to point out organizations that are working so hard in our community to stop the horrific spread of modern day slavery.  How we can make the biggest impact is by coming alongside others who are already aware of exactly what is going on and are taking the stops to stop the injustice.  (A big thank you to Colleen for letting me know of several more groups that are making a difference!)

I’ve Got a Name This is the best site to learn about how this issue is impacting the Nebraska area.  They have resources to help you get informed and then ways that you can get involved in fighting this issue that does affect us here at home.

Tiny Hands International (Headquartered in Lincoln – they fight slavery here and across the world)

Restore Innocence (While this group may be located in Colorado, they do provide support to victims in Nebraska)

Innocence Lost: Ending Child Prostitution (FBI site) – their office out of Omaha is working directly on cases that may happen in Nebraska

Nebraska University Students Against Modern-Day Slavery (NUSAMS)

“Freedom Change” (A smaller group of students also trying to make a difference)

International Justice Mission on Facebook an international organization that is making a difference around the world!

Love 146 While this organization is based out of Connecticut, I appreciate the work and education that they seem to be providing here and around the world.  The below quote by their founder is the reason why I wrote this uncomfortable blog post and is why this issue is so important!

“Child trafficking isn’t just a cause full of mind-numbing stats.  It’s about somebody’s son or daughter.”  Rob Morris, Love 146 co-founder and president.


Categories: Causes Across Nebraska, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Underground Railroad in Nebraska

Upon examining slavery in Nebraska, one would naturally conclude that this issue did not have an impact.  After all, the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves happened on January 1, 1863.  The Civil War officially ended in April 1865.  Nebraska became a state March 1, 1867.  With statehood not even happening until after the slavery issue had been resolved (at least on paper although possibly not in practice), what difference did slavery really make in the 37th state?  More than one would realize.  Especially when you factor in that Nebraska had been an official territory since 1854.

Dividing the land was directly determined by slavery arguments.  Hoping for possible political  and personal gain and to end the perpetual debating, Senator Stephen Douglas proposed that territories being annexed into the United States should determine their slave status.  Thus the Kansas-Nebraska Act was formed.  Pro-slavery citizens and Abolitionists  descended upon the territories, resulting in  heated arguments and a new nickname, “Bloody Kansas.”  These new sections of land were cause for debate for everything from railroad routes (free soil or slave land) to immigration of citizens from Eastern states.  This so-called compromise had further pushed a divided nation toward war.  You can read more about all of this on the excellent site, Civil War on the Western Front, where I did compile much of this information that I could no longer personally remember from my own study of U.S. History and from my tour that is mentioned below!

How does all of this specifically affect Nebraska?  Well, being further south, most Kansas adapted the bent toward slavery.  Except for on the fringes, much of Nebraska was against slavery.  A few of these Nebraska territory settlers had brought along slaves.  Of the 15 slaves found in Nebraska during the 1860 census, ten of them lived in Nebraska City.  To be involved with fighting against slavery, one had to be a bit discreet.  After all, Southern sympathizers were obviously a part of the community.  Why was far off Nebraska Territory even a part of this issue?  Fifteen slaves is not exactly very many.  Yet the Underground Railroad did come this far West because of the neighboring state of Missouri.

Mayhew Cabin Lane Trail map

In 1820, the state of Missouri had entered the Union as a slave state, with Maine being free.  Due to their Southern and Northern locations. this made sense.  When thinking about the need for slaves, often only cotton states come to mind.  Yet at the time of the 1854 Compromise, Missouri had had 24 years of welcoming slave owners.

The Nebraska Territory shared a part of its Southeast border with Missouri.  An escaping slave could follow the Missouri River up past the Nebraska towns of Little Nemaha and Camp Creek.  Once arriving at Nebraska City, the fugitive could cross into the free state of Iowa, then gradually head to Chicago and blend in there a bit easier before fleeing to Canada.  Exactly how many slaves used this route is impossible to determine.  Observing the map, one can see that this escape route must have been used by groups of Underground Railroad passengers.

While the math may initially not add up, slavery did affect Nebraska.  I am grateful to Bill and to the Mayhew Cabin for enlightening me on this issue.  If you click on the link, you can learn more about this location’s part in the fight against slavery.  Even better, please go visit the Mayhew Cabin in Nebraska City in person.  The admission cost is low, and the self-guided tour will impact even little visitors.  All four of my children LOVED exploring the site!  In fact, I plan on writing my next post about the impact this visit had on our own personal understanding of the Underground Railroad.



Categories: Causes Across Nebraska, Pioneer Country, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stopping Slavery in Nebraska: Nebraska City and the Mayhew Cabin

Mayhew Cabin Exterior

Built with stacked logs, the snug cabin is certainly not much to look at.

Mayhew Cabin Collage

Looking at the interior, comfortably housing one person almost seems like a stretch, much less the four people who stayed here.  After relocating from Ohio, the Mayhew family called this log cabin near the Missouri River home.

Nebraska City, part of then Nebraska Territory, was just starting to grow. Because of being located near Missouri,  the town had one feature that set them apart from the other area locations.  Slaves.  Ten of them were noted on the census.  This did not set well with Mrs. Mayhew.  Or especially with her brother, John Kagi, who dwelt with them for several months.

About this time, Kagi became a companion of John Brown.  You may recognize him as the one who eventually led a raid Harper’s Ferry to make a statement against slavery.  This event was a precursor that helped to catapult our nation into a Civil War.   Before all this, Kagi was an active abolitionist and was doing what he could to help end slavery, including using his sister’s cabin as at least a temporary Underground Railroad Station.  This is where his association with Brown causes history to be a bit fuzzy.

Some newspaper clippings tell of Brown visiting this site himself.  Others imply that only Kagi was acting as the Underground Railroad Conductor.   The name game does come into play here, and possibly the wrong man was given the credit.  Rather than being called Kagi cave in honor of the man who definitely found himself at home there, the more notorious man gets the name of the cave.  Was Brown ever even in Nebraska?  No one is completely sure.  Why?  Being involved with the Underground Railroad was not exactly something a person would announce at the town square.  Even after the Civil War, Southern Sympathizers were still around and many just wanted to move past the heartache.  Either way, proof does exist that a group of at least one dozen slaves passed through the cabin at one point, at least long enough to eat breakfast.

Mayhew Cabin John Brown's Cave Monument

The exact details of what all happened are definitely sketchy.  Yet I still feel that my knowledge of the underground railroad increased by visiting the Mayhew Cabin and John Brown’s Cave.  Understanding the impact that Nebraska had on this network is also interesting.  Tomorrow I plan on telling a bit more about this place, and the lessons that I learned.

Why is this timing of this post significant?  I mentioned in my post yesterday that June 19th happens to be an important holiday.  Especially for the ancestors of slaves in this country.  Juneteenth is the celebration of the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas.  This celebration of freedom has caught on and spread to other states.  Including Nebraska who hosted one event in Omaha earlier this week and will have celebrations in Lincoln and in Nebraska City tomorrow.  The latter is the place where I will “take you” again tomorrow, exploring anew the part that Nebraska played in the Underground Railroad.


Categories: Annual Events, Causes Across Nebraska, Nebraska History, Pioneer Country, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Gaming Can Negatively Affect All Nebraskans: Watch “Growing Up Gambling” On Nebraska NET tonight

What do “Candy Crush,” “Playstation,” “Fantasy Football,” and “March Madness” have in common?  They are all subtle ways that your child can grow up to become addicted to gambling.  NOW WAIT JUST A MINUTE … before you go and throw out your video box OR before you stop reading, STOP and let me tell you where I am getting this from.

This morning I previewed a show that is premiering tonight on NET (Nebraska’s public television).  Before watching, I was a bit skeptical that this could ever be an issue for my family.   After all, my husband and I are not gamblers at all.  We do not play KENO.  Nor do we even buy lottery tickets.  For many grown-ups, these activities can be no big deal.

Yet after watching the show, I began to recognize several activities that we do that COULD create problem someday if we are not proactive with our choices.  Our family plans our homeschool schedule around March Madness.  Sad, but true.  This is because of me, not my husband.  I am a rather big fan of college basketball.  Our family does brackets for fun, but I do have one child that gets a bit obsessed with them.  Really with all sports throughout the year.  And this could be an issue for him someday.

Gambling has changed definitions – now many people refer to it as “gaming.”  Less of a stigma.  Our family likes games, and they like to win.  For kids who grow up playing too many video games, this can move beyond having fun to needing more of an adrenaline rush.  The need to play.  Yes gambling can be just as addictive as anything else.


What kid would not enjoy spinning a big wheel and playing with lots of fun colored chips?

So, I am very glad I watched the special, “Growing Up Gambling.”  I was completely unaware as to just how accessible gambling has become.  This is yet another area that I want to help our kids to see the potential dangers of letting a fun activity go quickly out of control.  One fact I learned – many of the video games are designed in the same format as gambling games.  And many games now have memory references – such as a Beach Boys slot machine or Avatar.  If you are into the theme, you could get subtly get into a gambling habit.

I would highly recommend this show for adults and for teenagers.  Note: a few of the games briefly shown are a bit graphic, so this is not a family show!  Here is the official description directly from NET.

Program Description:   “Growing Up Gambling” takes viewers inside the brain of an online gamer and online gambler, telling the story of a student’s downward spiral into addictive online sports betting. During the half-hour program, Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky of the International Center for Youth Gambling Problems explains that 18 to 25 year old individuals have the highest prevalence for problem gambling among the entire adult population. Blurred lines divide child’s play gaming from gambling. “Growing up Gambling” illustrates how advancement of technology makes it easy to engage in high-stakes gambling. Easy access via mobile gambling puts a tech-savvy generation at greater risk than prior generations.

·         Preview:

  Air Times:

o   NET-1: Friday, May 9, at 7 p.m. CT on NET1, Sunday, May 11, at 9:30 p.m. CT and Friday, May 16, at 6 p.m. CT

o   NET2 World: Sunday, May 11, at 5 p.m. CT; Monday, May 12, at 7 p.m. CT; Wednesday, May 21, at 6 p.m. CT; Saturday, May 24, at 1:30 p.m. CT; and Sunday, May 25, at 5 p.m. CT.

Categories: Causes Across Nebraska | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shining Stars at the Lincoln Children’s Museum Tonight (April 14th)

When a child’s immune systems is compromised, he/she is limited on attending places that are public.   This not only affects the ill child but also all family members.  Bringing home a cold is not just inconvenient, the consequences can be quite dire.  Getting to enjoy a family outing is rare.

The Lincoln Children’s Museum is changing that for tonight.  They will be open only to those who fit into the immune challenged category.  And they can bring along their families.  The museum is closed all day today to disinfect and prepare for this special crowd of people.  Here is the official description from the press release.

This event is closed to the public to ensure children with compromised systems have complete access to more than 30 hands-on exhibits on all three levels of the Museum. For some, Shining Star represents a rare opportunity to meet and interact with others facing similar struggles and presents the chance to build memories of play outside of the home or hospital. For many, this will be the first family outing in more than a year.

This event is taking place from 4:30 to 7:30 tonight (April 14th).  If you know someone who qualifies, please send them to the Museum.  I am hoping that they have a full house complete with excited children who are finally getting to be kids.

Not from the Lincoln area but in need of such an event?  Check with your area museum.  I believe that the Omaha Children’s Museum recently completed their own “Shining Stars” event.  So, there may be one near you, or possibly you can be the catalyst to get such an event going!

Categories: Causes Across Nebraska, Family Outings, Lincoln, Metro | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nebraska Friday Fun: Swing Your Partner

Today is known as the 45th day of the year in our household.  Thankfully I did not grow up with dreams of romantic Valentine getaways because they aint happenin’ ’round here! 🙂  Really I think it is funny now.  As I mentioned earlier, we celebrate our anniversary  in January, so as long as my husband remembers that, he’s good! Anyway, I know for many people, today is a big deal.

Perhaps you have been debating on what to do to celebrate tonight with your sweetie.  Well, I have two great options that would help you to have a lively Valentine’s Day. One could involve a get away, and one just might save someone’s life.


The dinner for this event happens to be sold out, but you can still go for the dessert and the dance.  Two complimentary drinks are included with purchase.  The getaway part?  The SAC museum just happens to be next door to Mahoney State Park and lodging packages are available.  Here is a description of the event from The Strategic Air & Space Museum website.

The 2014 Hangar Dance Swing Under the Wings will be held on February 14.  Swing Under the Wings will be in the style of a 1940s USO party complete with a full 17-piece big band.  We invite you to dress in your best vintage clothing or costumes to relive memories of a bygone era where music and dance provided a welcome distraction to the stresses of World War II.

I would think even just going to see all of the costumes and the swing dancing would be fun by itself!   As far as saving someone’s life …

An organization that I have featured several times on this blog is Tiny Hands International.  Rescuing women and children from a life of slave trade is such an important mission.  Tonight you can support their work with a fun event that could even be more your whole family.

Dance for Freedom is happening tonight from 7 to 11 p.m. at Lincoln’s Union Station.  Appetizers, dance contests and fun people: what a great way to celebrate a day dedicated to love.  Loving those who cannot love in return is a meaningful calling!  The best part about this for some of you?  No date required.  This is a fundraiser for Tiny Hands, so per person admission does cost $50.  While the tickets may seem a bit much, really if you had a full evening of flowers, dinner, dessert and a movie, could not the tab for two run well over $100?  Why not have your money go toward a great cause and still have a fun evening?

You can read a Journal Star “Dance for Freedom” article to learn more.

Or you can also watch a couple of clips:

KLKN story on “Dance for Freedom”

You officially have no excuse not to dance the night away!

Categories: Causes Across Nebraska, Lincoln, Metro, Region or City | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday Traveling: From Nebraska to Nepal

This month I had the privilege of writing an article for the L Magazine entitled, VOTA’s Recording for Change. Focused on how a local Nebraska rock band is donating their album proceeds for a specific cause,  I enjoyed hearing the behind the scenes details of how the Love Found Me project came to be.

Tiny Hands 1

Photo courtesy Tiny Hands International

An interesting opportunity has resulted from this campaign …

Come to Nepal with VOTA

A year ago, VOTA & Tiny Hands International launched the Love Found Me campaign with the goal to raise $150,000 to support and staff five border monitoring stations along the Nepal/India border to help stop human trafficking.

We Did It!

We are thrilled to say that in just 10 months God has blessed this campaign and we have surpassed our initial fundraising goal… and we are still going! To celebrate, we are offering the opportunity for one Love Found Me campaign supporter an expense paid trip to Nepal with VOTA this fall courtesy of Taylor University. To be eligible for the Nepal trip, simply download our album here before February 1st. A winner will be chosen and notified by 2/15/14.

So not only have Nebraskans chosen to make a difference a half a world away in Nepal, but now a VOTA listener will have the opportunity to see first hand what a difference Tiny Hands is making in Nepal.

To learn more about this amazing project, please read my online article.  And to learn even more behind the scenes information about my personal connections to the project, please read my Sacred Line blog!


Categories: Causes Across Nebraska | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas with a Cause: City Impact’s “Gifts of Love” in Lincoln, NE

Since 1997, City Impact has been making a difference in the lives of youth and families in urban Lincoln.  This organization has always been dear to my heart, partially since it is run by my dear high school friend, Carma and her husband, Brad.  But also because I love the work that they do there on behalf of those who need support guidance to go the right direction.  They are involved in ministry throughout the year, but one of the ways they make the biggest difference is through their annual “Gifts of Love” Christmas store.

City Impact Gifts 1

(Picture used with permission from City Impact)

I realize that there are many, many places that do a great work and that help out those in need.  But I really appreciate City Impact’s approach.  Families are not just given items – they are required to spend a bit of their own money on gifts.  This allows them to personalizes their giving.

Here is an excerpt from their website explaining more …

“Gifts of Love”™ is a community Christmas store open to low-income families with children who qualify for free or reduced school lunches. New gift items are donated and marked down 70% off retail value, which allows families to shop for their loved ones with dignity.  Children in City Impact’s weekly programs earn vouchers to shop for their adult loved ones as well

Last year, with the help of over 950 volunteers, over $100,000 of new items (toys, electronics, clothing, financial investments and other holiday gift items) were donated to support more than 1,600 children and their families.

Is this just not amazing!  Love how they go about providing for the needs of others.  Providing Christmas with dignity.

This year they are asking for additional help from the community.  The need seems to be greater than ever.  They are anticipating making even more of an impact this Christmas.  If you live in the Lincoln area, you can go out shopping yourself using the list of gift suggestions.  (A great way to have your kids pick out presents for someone other than themselves!)  Or you can simply donate online.  You can help make this a Christmas that struggling families will never forget!

City Impact Gifts 2

(Picture used with permission from City Impact)

Categories: Causes Across Nebraska, Lincoln, Metro, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas with a Cause: Purposeful Shopping @ Tiny Hands International in Lincoln, NE

One of my very favorite organizations makes a huge impact  halfway around the world despite being based in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Tiny Hands International is helping make a difference in the lives of women and children in Nepal, India, Bangladesh  and beyond.   I  happen to know many of the people directly involved in this ministry, and I am grateful to see all that they do to make a positive difference.

For the next three days, you have the opportunity to support their efforts AND to get some of your Christmas shopping done.  Here is a paragraph directly from their Facebook page explaining “Products with a Purpose.”

Hey Everybody! We’re having an Open House this weekend and we want you to come!

WHEN: December 5 from 4:00-8:00pm and, December 6-7 from 9:00am-2:00pm
WHERE: 3901 Normal Blvd. Suite 201, Lincoln, NE (recently relocated)

Lots of new Freedom Products to choose from which make great Christmas gifts. You will have an opportunity to Buy Once, Give Twice when you purchase a Freedom Product and donate it to City Impact‘s Gifts of Love store.

(To learn more about City Impact and their wonderful ministry, please click on their above link.  I will be posting more about them next week!)

Anyway, here is picture of just a few items that will be for sale today!

Photo: Getting ready for the Tiny Hands product sale today. Lots of great products for Christmas gifts!  We even have. 75 percent off room!  Check it out today beginning at 4:00 and then again tomorrow and Saturday at 9:00!

Photo Credit: Doug Dworak

They also have jewelry and beautiful scarves.  Many of these products are actually made in Nepal.  If you will not be in Lincoln at all during the next few days, you can also order online.  To learn more about all that Tiny Hands International is a part of, please click here.

Categories: Causes Across Nebraska, Lincoln, Local Business, Metro, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: