Jami Anders-Kemp is the Director of Omaha 360, an initiative of the Empowerment Network, focused on the mission of reducing gun and gang violence and bringing peace and prosperity to every neighborhood in the city. Anders-Kemp has hit the ground running since joining the staff of the Empowerment Network in April 2013. With the support and partnership of the community, City of Omaha, Office of Violence Prevention and others, Kemp is working to make the mission a reality.
The Omaha 360 Collaborative evolved out of the Empowerment Network’s Crime Prevention Team and has grown from an initial group of seven individuals to well over 200 organizations and over 300 active participants. Thousands of residents have attended and joined in the movement through neighborhood and community-wide outreach strategies, activities and events. Kemp facilitates, coordinates and organizes the collaborative which includes participants from many sectors such as the faith community, police department, community-based organizations, youth development agencies, schools, neighborhood groups, businesses, governmental institutions, enforcement agencies, probation departments, reentry specialists, and residents.
Kemp has worked hard to expand the initiative throughout the city. Actively forming partnerships in North, South and West Omaha, she excels at gathering the input of many stakeholders and integrating the recommendations, thoughts and ideas into a workable plan of action. Beyond Omaha 360, Kemp is actively engaged in other Network initiatives and partnerships including Step-Up Omaha, Pastors and Faith Leaders Covenant, North Omaha Cradle to Career Collaborative, Omaha African-American Male Achievement Collaborative, the City of Omaha’s RISE program and strategic summits, conferences and planning meetings. She is also a key member of the South Omaha Violence Intervention and Prevention Team.
Kemp is constantly pushing the Omaha 360 Collaborative to evolve and reinvent itself. This past summer, in partnership with Pastor Bruce Williams and Pastor Dave Gehrls, Kemp reinvigorated the group’s pre-emptive prayer walks and peace rallies. The targeted effort focuses on neighborhoods that have experienced violence, but the group doesn’t wait until a homicide occurs. They go door-to-door talking with residents about preventing and solving crime and violence, identifying priorities and concerns in each neighborhood, and encouraging residents to get involved with 360 and their neighborhood association. As needs are identified, Kemp and the 360 partners develop localized strategies. For example, during a prayer walk residents in the 42nd and Bedford area strongly expressed the need for jobs. Kemp and others formed a team and created the Omaha 360 Mobile Job and Resource Fair and went back to the neighborhood with employers. Seven individuals walked away from the first event with new jobs.
Periodically, especially when the city experiences a spike in violence, people will ask if any of this makes a difference? Absolutely. Based on the most up-to-date statistics from the Omaha Police Department, gun violence in Omaha has been reduced by 38% city wide since 2007. In the Northeast Precinct, gun violence is down 55% and there has been a 63% reduction during the months of May, June and July. In the neighborhoods where residents have stayed most active, the reductions have been as much as 60% and 70%. Kemp is quick to point out that Omaha 360 plays a role, but would be nothing without the partners that make things happen in the areas of prevention, intervention, enforcement, reentry and support services. She also reminds participants that the meeting that happens once a week on Wednesday afternoon is just one part of the 360 work. It’s a time for updates, strategy, cross sector dialogue, partner presentations and networking, but the real work is done before and after the meeting.
One shooting or homicide is one too many as far as Omaha 360 is concerned. One shooting is tragic for all involved. While progress is being made, the work will not be finished until the number reaches 0. Focused, determined and organized, Kemp is using her unique style of leadership and collaboration to push towards the mission.
Previous to joining the Empowerment Network, Kemp worked at Heartland Workforce Solutions as Workforce Partnership Project Manager. Her responsibilities included reaching out to businesses to form innovative partnerships in an effort to address unemployment and underemployment in the city. Kemp’s extensive background in facilitation, organizational development, marketing and communications was also developed and enhanced through employment at Alegent Health and national training responsibilities at the Boys and Girls Club.
A native of North Omaha, Kemp graduated from Burke High School and earned her Business Leadership Degree from the College of St. Mary. She continues her education and development by attending category specific workshops and classes. Kemp is active with her neighborhood association and leadership activities and spends her “spare” time attending her children’s sports activities and sewing.
Kemp has been married to her husband Jeff for 14 years. They have four talented children.