Community Engagement

Past Events

Hiding in Plain Sight: Mental Health Resources Across Nebraska

Online Discussion
Nov. 17, 2022

There is a nationwide shortage of mental health care providers, especially in rural areas. This online event will explore mental health resources across Nebraska, challenges that currently exist, and ways that individuals and organizations are working to close the access gap. This event was inspired by the recent documentary Ken Burns Presents Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness, A Film By Erik Ewers & Christopher Loren Ewers.


Hiding in Plain Sight: Home & School Connections for Youth Mental Health

Online Discussion
Oct. 18, 2022

Strengthening partnerships between schools, providers and families gives our youth better mental health support. This discussion explored how we can create these connections, inspired by the recent documentary Ken Burns Presents Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness, A Film By Erik Ewers & Christopher Loren Ewers.


Facing Suicide: Exploring Nebraska Resources

Online Discussion
Sept. 7, 2022

This online discussion about suicide prevention in Nebraska was inspired by the PBS documentary Facing Suicide. This event featured a live panel discussion and personal stories from Nebraskans impacted by suicide.


Celebrating Nebraska Pollinators Logo

Celebrating Nebraska Pollinators

May & June 2022

Nebraska Public Media partnered with Nebraska Game and Parks, the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bee Lab for programming inspired by My Garden of a Thousand Bees, the 40th-season-premiere episode of Nature on PBS.

Discover the many ways you can create native plant habitats that support bees and other pollinators right in your own backyard!


Try Harder! | Indie Lens Pop-Up
April 26, 2022

At Lowell High School, San Francisco’s academic pressure cooker, the kids are stressed out. With a majority Asian American student body, high-achieving seniors share their dreams and anxieties about getting into a top university. But is college worth the grind?

This event featured a live panel discussion about navigating the pressures of choosing a post-high school path with:

  • Nuria Lemus, Bilingual College Planning Specialist, EducationQuest Foundation
  • Shauntee Mims, second-year student at UNL, 2020 graduate of Omaha North Magnet High School, and NCPA scholar
  • Moises Padilla, Director, Nebraska College Preparatory Academy (moderator)
  • Nayla Torres Ruiz, first-year student UNL, 2021 graduate of Grand Island Senior High School, and NCPA scholar
  • Dr. Yan Ruth Xia, professor in the Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies in the UNL College of Education and Human Sciences. Her research interests include immigrant youth behavioral and mental health, parent-adolescent communication, and relationship strengths and stress among Asian immigrant families.

The Nebraska College Preparatory Academy (NCPA) is an innovative college access program that prepares academically-talented, first-generation, income eligible students for college and their future careers. EducationQuest Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve access to higher education in Nebraska, providing free college planning services, need-based scholarship programs, college access grants for high schools, college access resources for middle schools, and outreach services for community agencies.

Try Harder! premiered on Independent Lens on Monday, May 2 on PBS.org and on the PBS Video App.

Continue the conversation!

Here are a few additional resources to explore and learn more:

Film resources

Featured organizations

Mental Health Resources

In this WELL BEINGS online event, hear from students who are navigating mental health issues at school, as well as mental health professionals and educators who help at-risk students get the help they need.


Apart | Indie Lens Pop-Up
Feb. 15, 2022

This intimate portrait examines the impact of America’s war on drugs through three mothers attempting to rebuild lives derailed by drugs and prison. As Tomika, Lydia, and Amanda prepare to rejoin their families after years of incarceration, they enter an innovative prison program in Cleveland, Ohio where they lean on each other and mentors who have also been in prison. With the hope of redemption on the horizon, the women work to regain the trust of their children and combat stigmas associated with people who have been incarcerated. The screening was followed by a live conversation featuring:

  • Alana Alexander, Youth & Family Program Associate, RISE Prison Reentry Program
  • Leah Butler, Assistant Professor, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Nebraska Omaha (moderator)
  • Aubrey Mancuso, Executive Director, Voices for Children in Nebraska
  • Chantal Wentz, Volunteer Relations Manager, RISE Prison Reentry Program

Continue the conversation!

Here are a few additional resources to explore and learn more:

Screening resources

Film resources

Learn about the history of RISE, which started in 2016 affiliated with the Defy Ventures national organization, with these Nebraska Public Media resources:

Other related stories from Nebraska Public Media and Flatwater Free Press:

RISE Logo

Special thanks to RISE, our community partner for this event. Learn more about their programming that bridges incarceration to the community at SeeUsRise.org.


Cannabis in Nebraska

Cannabis in Nebraska: Medicine, Agriculture & the Law

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021

Nebraska Public Media and NOVA explored the science and data behind cannabis, featuring excerpts from the NOVA film, The Cannabis Question. Experts discussed its medical and agricultural possibilities and the history of cannabis laws and why they have disproportionately impacted communities of color.


Aging in Nebraska | Planning for Your Future

Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021
Rewatch our live event and explore resources below

If you could see your future, what steps would you take now to prepare for your next chapter? Join us for an online conversation on aging focused on caregiving and end-of-life planning, with information about all the resources available in Nebraska. This event featured clips from Fast Forward, a new PBS documentary that takes a proactive look at aging.

Our panelists are:

  • Michael Eric Hurtig, Director/Producer of Fast Forward
  • Susan Woodruff, Nurse and Caregiver featured in Fast Forward
  • Margaret Schaefer, Managing Attorney, Centralized Intake Unit, Legal Aid of Nebraska
  • Dr. Lakelyn Hogan, Gerontologist and Caregiver advocate, Home Instead (moderator)

Representatives from Nebraska’s eight Area Agencies on Aging will also be available in the chat during the event to share local resources and answer your questions.

Presented in partnership with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and the University of Nebraska Omaha's Department of Gerontology, with additional support from Nebraska's eight Area Agencies on Aging.

Continue the conversation: Learn more about aging resources in Nebraska

ElderAccessLine®

Legal Aid of Nebraska provides free legal advice and assistance to Nebraska residents 60 years of age and older through the ElderAccessLine®. They can help with:

  • Collections
  • Medicare/Medicaid
  • Consumer protection
  • Advanced directives/Living wills
  • Simple wills
  • Power of attorney
  • Homestead Exemption
  • Tenant issues
  • Other legal concerns

Palliative Care & Hospice Resources

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness, such as cancer or heart failure. Patients in palliative care may receive medical care for their symptoms, or palliative care, along with treatment intended to cure their serious illness. Palliative care is meant to enhance a person's current care by focusing on quality of life for them and their family.

What is hospice?

Hospice care focuses on the care, comfort, and quality of life of a person with a serious illness who is approaching the end of life. Like palliative care, hospice provides comprehensive comfort care as well as support for the family, but, in hospice, attempts to cure the person's illness are stopped. Hospice is provided for a person with a terminal illness whose doctor believes he or she has six months or less to live if the illness runs its natural course.

Learn more with these resources:

Try the Fast-Forward Experience

Live your own Fast-Forward experience by completing activities seen in the film! Remember music from your high school days, learn about "the conversation," develop a living will and more.


Philly D.A. | Indie Lens Pop-Up
April 13, 2021

In 2017, Philadelphia had one of the highest incarceration rates of any major city in the United States. And it’s become the epicenter of a historic experiment that could shape the future of prosecution in America for decades to come. When civil rights attorney Larry Krasner mounted a longshot campaign to become District Attorney—and won—he pledged to end mass incarceration by changing the culture of the criminal justice system from within. With unprecedented access to Krasner’s office, Philly D.A. explores over the course of eight episodes the most pressing social issues of our time—police brutality, the opioid crisis, gun violence, and mass incarceration—through the lens of one man attempting fundamental overhaul from within the system.

Watch our post-screening live discussion featuring

Philly D.A. premieres on Tuesday, April 20 at 8pm CT on Nebraska Public Media. You can also watch the series at PBS.org and on the PBS Video App.

Continue the conversation!

Here are a few additional resources to explore and learn more

Nebraska Public Media productions focused on the criminal justice system in Nebraska:

  • Small Town Cops This 2019 documentary considers the changing role of police work in Nebraska’s small towns and rural areas.
  • Nebraska Prison Reform- This 2016 news special examines prison reform in the state. 
  • ...until he is dead...- This 2013 documentary explores the history of the death penalty in Nebraska. 

Additional Nebraska resources:



Coded Bias | Indie Lens Pop-Up
March 25, 2021

When MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers that most facial-recognition software does not accurately identify darker-skinned faces, she delves into an investigation of widespread bias in algorithms. As it turns out, artificial intelligence (AI) is not neutral. From facial scanning used for policing and surveillance to automated HR systems that mirror and magnify workplace prejudices, these technologies are created with fundamentally biased building blocks. Emboldened by these troubling discoveries, Buolamwini joins a group of pioneering women to shed a light on the underlying biases in the technology that shapes our lives and threatens our democracy.

Watch our post-event live discussion featuring

Coded Bias is available to watch now through April 21 at PBS.org, and the PBS Video App. Check our schedule for more information about other airdates. 

Continue the conversation!

Here are a few additional resources to explore and learn more after watching this film
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Special thanks to Inclusive Communities, our community partner for this event. Learn more about their education and advocacy work related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at inclusive-communities.org


Finding Your Roots Season 7 Key Art

Is DNA Ancestry? Personal Genetics and Cultural Heritage
March 18, 2021

This event explored how ancestry testing works and discussed the differences between genetic ancestry and cultural heritage with

  • Dr. Carla Easter, Chief of the Education and Community Involvement Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
  • Dr. Kenneth Ramos, Executive Director, Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Texas A&M University System
  • Dr. Dennis Smith (Fort Peck Assiniboine), Associate Professor of History and Native American Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha
  • Robin Bowman, Professional Development Associate at the Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd) (moderator)

See the OVEE chat from this event

Watch past episodes of Finding Your Roots on the PBS website.


Genetic Medicine and You
March 9, 2021

A discussion on the latest developments in genetic medicine and research as seen in The Gene: An Intimate History, including therapies and personalized medicine. Panelists included:

  • Robin Bowman, Professional Development Associate at the Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd)
  • Chris Durrance, director of The Gene: An Intimate History
  • Dr. Maurice Godfrey, Professor at the Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (moderator)
  • Dr. Lois Starr, Clinical Geneticist and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center


The Black Church Watch Now Promotional Image with Stained Glass Window

The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song
Feb. 25, 2021

Nebraska Public Media held a virtual conversation about The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Songfeaturing clips from the series. The conversation explored the history of the Black Church nationally and in Omaha, as well as how it is still shaping the community today. Our panelists were: 

  • Pastor Kenneth Allen, Zion Baptist Church
  • Ra’Daniel Arvie, University of Nebraska-Lincoln student and Assistant Director of Choirs & Praise Team at Mount Nebo Missionary Baptist Church
  • Dr. Gloria Epps, Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and retired Omaha Public Schools teacher
  • Jade Rogers, Adjunct Professor at Metropolitan Community College and the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of The House of Afros, Capes, & Curls


Unladylike2020 Screening and Discussion
Feb. 18, 2021

Learn more about the unsung women who changed America, including groundbreaking Nebraskans Grace Abbott and Susan LaFlesche Picotte (Omaha Tribe of Nebraska), as well as film pioneer Anna May Wong. Unladylike2020 creators Charlotte Mangin and Sandra Rattley join Amy Helene Forss, chair of the history program at Metropolitan Community College, for a conversation about these fascinating women and the process of bringing their stories to the screen.

Continue the conversation!

Use these resources to learn more


Major funding for UNLADYLIKE2020 is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. Support is also provided by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Wyncote Foundation, California Humanities, HumanitiesDC, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Made in New York: Women Film, TV, & Theater Fund, the Harnisch Foundation, Humanities Nebraska, Humanities Montana, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with New York State Council on the Arts, South Dakota Humanities, Virginia Humanities, the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, Utah Humanities, Ohio Humanities, South Carolina Humanities, Humanities New York, JetBlue Foundation, Awesome Without Borders and IFP. Any views expressed in this series do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or other supporters. The views expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect the views of Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.


MR. SOUL! | Indie Lens Pop-Up
Feb. 9, 2021

Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Ellis Haizlip—Mr. SOUL! On the heels of the civil rights movement, the public television variety show SOUL!, offered an unfiltered, uncompromising celebration of Black literature, poetry, music, and politics—voices that had few other options for national television exposure. Guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, the series was among the first to provide expanded images of Black Americans on television and recognize the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. The film celebrates the groundbreaking PBS series against the backdrop of a swiftly changing political and social landscape, while profiling Haizlip, the charismatic man behind one of the most culturally significant and successful TV shows in U.S. history. With participants’ recollections and archival clips, Mr. SOUL! captures a critical moment in culture whose impact continues to resonate.

The event featured a panel discussion with:

  • Melissa Haizlip, producer/director of Mr. SOUL!
  • Jade Rogers, adjunct professor at Metropolitan Community College, Iowa Western Community College, and University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of the House of Afros, Capes, & Curls
  • Denise Chapman, Producing Artistic Director for Theatre at Omaha's Union for Contemporary Art
  • Deborah Bunting, arts consultant and Omaha Community Foundation board member

Mr. SOUL! premieres on Independent Lens Monday, February 22, 2021 at 10:00pm ET (check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org, and the PBS Video App. Check our schedule for more airtimes.

Continue the conversation!

Here are a few additional resources and organizations to explore after watching this film.


9to5: The Story of a Movement | Indie Lens Pop-Up
Jan. 21, 2021

When Dolly Parton sang “9 to 5,” she was doing more than just shining a light on the professional fate of American women. Parton was singing the autobiographical tale of a movement that started with 9to5, a group of Boston secretaries in the early 1970s. Their goals were simple—better pay, more advancement opportunities and an end to sexual harassment—but their unconventional approach attracted the press and shamed their bosses into change. Featuring interviews with 9to5’s founders, as well as actor and activist Jane Fonda, 9to5: The Story of a Movement is the previously untold story of the fight that inspired a hit and changed the American workplace.

The event featured a panel discussion with:

  • Mary Jung, a 9to5 organizer featured in the film
  • Sue Martin, President/Secretary-Treasurer of the Nebraska State AFL-CIO
  • Caroline Waldron, Associate Professor of History at the University of Dayton
  • John Kretzschmar, Director of the William Brennan Institute for Labor Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha

9to5: The Story of a Movement premiered on the PBS Video App and PBS.org, Monday Feb. 1 at 9pm CT.

Continue the conversation!

Community Engagement is a key component that sets Nebraska Public Media apart. We are committed to extending the reach of our television and radio broadcasts through collaborative activities and educational materials. These efforts are done in partnership with other community organizations and are designed to:

  • Connect viewers and listeners to statewide services and resources
  • Foster community participation and robust discussion
  • Raise awareness about issues that affect all Nebraskans

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Ideas? Questions? Engage with us!

About Indie Lens Pop-Up

Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. Featuring documentaries seen on PBS's Independent Lens, Indie Lens Pop-Up draws local residents, leaders and organizations to discuss what matters most, from newsworthy topics and social issues, to family and community relationships. Make friends, share stories, and join the conversation!