Small Towns News

Staff spotlight: Carlos helps bring communities together

After migrating from Mexico to the United States in 1994, Carlos Barcenas discovered that, though the landscape may change, rural living still encompasses the same ideals.

“Rural brings a sense of agriculture, families, connection, and opportunity no matter where you’re at,” said Barcenas. “Rural America is important to me, because, throughout U.S. history, it has played a significant role in all areas of the country, and is the backbone of what the country stands for today.”

Government program helps preserve communities; serves as example for other states

Driving down main streets in many Nebraska communities offers a similar view – old, brick buildings line the street, interspersed among newer, modern facades. Some are well maintained while others are falling into disrepair – which some local residents are rallying to save.  

Years ago, these structures housed the offices of doctors, lawyers, and dentists on the second floor; while the main floor was home to hardware stores, clothing shops, bakeries, drug stores, and more. Every square inch was dedicated to continuing a thriving town economy.

Overcoming three types of biases

When attempting to overcome bias, like anything else, knowing is half the battle. While many of us are familiar with the concept of bias, having a deeper understanding of what it is and how it manifests is often the first step in circumventing the negative ramifications. Bias can limit the potential for growth, innovation, and success on both an individual and community wide level. It can affect who we trust, what we value, and limit the scope of possibilities.

Are we biased?

Are we biased? The short answer is yes – everyone is, like it or not. Our brains categorize people based on what we’ve learned from our family, community, television, social media, and other sources.

Our brains, in part, function like a filing cabinet where we store “information” – accurate or not.

For example, when I was a kid, I was certain the only way ice water would be cold was if it was stirred with a fork. Yeah, I know, not rational. But my dad always stirred his ice water with a fork, so it had to be true.

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