Our Board

A diverse group who help mobilize and guide Six Active Community Organizing Circles.

The Board of Directors is an esteemed advisory group reflecting long term careers in fields aligning with and adding value to Stand in for Nebraska’s mission and growth needs.

The purpose of this group is to…..

  • Serve as SIFN advisers and ambassadors
  • Review and offer feedback on COC (community organizing circle) micro grant applications
  • Help support SIFN’s major programs through in-kind donations and/or financial advocacy.

Within the early stages of our organization, having as much wisdom, guidance, direct involvement in our programs, and financial advocacy as possible is deeply valued.

Dr. Belinda Acosta

Dr. Belinda Acosta

Mi nombre es Belinda Acosta. Nací en Lincoln, Nebraska. Soy la orgullosa hija de un inmigrante mexicano y una Tejana, pero mis primeros antepasados ​​son los huicholes de lo que ahora se conoce como la sierra central de México.

My name is Belinda Acosta. I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. I am the proud daughter of a Mexican immigrant and a Tejana, but my first-people ancestors are the Huichol from what is now known as the central highlands of Mexico.

I lived for many years in Austin, Texas, where I gained a full understanding of my Chicana identity–meaning that I am a U.S. born, Mexican American who embraces indigenous roots that run deep throughout Mexico. This has been an enlightening journey, as many U.S. born Latinos are taught to be ashamed of their indigeneity and to deny it even exists. Unlike the first nation people of what is now the U.S., the indigenous of Mexico do not have any treaty agreements with the U.S. or Mexico. This further distorts and effaces the history of the hundreds, if not thousands of indigenous cultures throughout Mexico, Central and South America, many of which survive into the present.

Since my return to Lincoln in 2012, I have been fortunate to meet members of Lincoln’s American Indian community, many of whom recognized my indigeneity and saw me as a sister rather than an outsider, though with a very distinct history. It is with sincere pleasure and a profound honor that I join the SIFN board of directors in 2023. I will do my best to contribute to and learn from this community of progressive thinkers.

Phyllis Stone

Phyllis Stone

A Lakota woman, Phyllis is proudest of her many contributions to education—starting with raising three remarkable children. Her passion for community education grew over time, where she taught the Lakota language, served as a Sinte Gleska University adjunct professor in mental health, and became a Lecturer and presenter of Plains Indian History through Humanities Nebraska.Embracing her magic as an elder, Phyllis also participated in a grandparent program for foster children where she taught children to read.

Her love of education and teaching excellence manifested new opportunities for community leadership and matriarchal innovation. As Founder, Director, and Coordinator of the Women of Color Organization, Phyllis became an influential community catalyst when society forcefully dissuaded women from leading in these ways.

As a Sundancer of 28 years—perhaps her proudest achievement—Phyllis was meant to rise and dance, and in doing so, invited others to do the same.

Understanding and practicing women supporting women, Phyllis invested in the power of women linking arms and leading. By extension, she served on the Mari Sandoz Society Board and the Lincoln Indian Center’s Board of Directors.

Among her finest achievements, Phyllis raised productive disrupters and change agents! All were raised to be proud of and educated about their Lakota identities while paving exceptional leadership paths. Her eldest son became the only Indian person to be nominated to West Point, then the Air Force Academy. Her second son became a member of the Army Rangers. Phyllis’s daughter leads as a consultant in Indian Education and is a legal assistant and activist for Indian people in Denver, Colorado. An adored grandmother, her granddaughter stands on her grandmother’s shoulders as a powerful journalistic voice across Tribal Nations.

While Phyllis has achieved such broad and deeply reverberating influences across her lifetime, I sense oNe of her greatest gifts shines in the magnified human moment. If you’ve been lucky enough to sit on a soft chair in her living room, you know the power of her affirming gaze, the glowing orb she spins when she drops into a story, the energy that comes from practicing gentle and strong all her life.

Rochelle Golliday

Rochelle Golliday

Rochelle is working to complete her law degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln while serving as Senator Terrell McKinney’s Chief of Staff.  Formerly, she served as an aide to Senator Machaela Cavanaugh at the Nebraska State Legislature. In this position, Rochelle works closely with the senators, legislative aides, other senators, and their aides providing administrative assistance. She serves as the primary contact for constituents, stakeholders, external offices, interest groups, and community advocacy organizations. She provides technical and logistical support on special research projects for legislation in committees such as Health and Human Services and Transportation & Telecommunications. Rochelle assists with the coordination of various activities, meetings, conferences, and town halls.

Rochelle joined the Nebraska Legislature in 2019. Prior to her position at the legislature, she served as an organizer for Vice President Kamala Harris during her presidential campaign in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Previous to that, she spent 3 years in China as a British Parliamentary Debate Teacher and beforehand served as a fellow for Hillary for Iowa. Rochelle spent several months serving the community of Kansas City, Missouri with the Women’s Equality Coalition where she contributed to the coordination of KCMO’s annual Women’s Equality Week and other various projects benefiting local KCMO women. Her grand entry to politics began when she was awarded The White House Internship for the Obama Administration back in 2014.

Schmeeka Grayer Simpson

Schmeeka Grayer Simpson

Schmeeka Grayer Simpson is a lifelong community activist and organizer, a Creighton University Graduate with Bachelor degrees in Health Administration, and a tour guide at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation. In 2022, Schmeeka’s leadership within the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation helped finally secure his rightful position in the Nebraska Hall of Fame, bring his story to Opera Omaha, and celebrate the Malcolm X’s legend within a celebration dinner in which Stand in for Nebraska served as co-sponsor. During Black History month, reinforcing his story through book supplies at Stand in for Nebraska’s book festival in partnership with the Malone Center in Lincoln is another invaluable partnership Schmeeka has helped secure.

In addition to the numerous professional and community leadership roles Schmeeka plays, she also manages to provide homeschooling for her three children.

We are thrilled to share Schmeeka also will be representing Stand in for Nebraska at this year’s (April of 2023) Freedom Rising Conference in New York City! We can think of no better representative than Schmeeka to advance our work at the national level while also building relationships and learning alongside other national community organizers, activists, and non-profit leaders.

When asked why she committed to continuing SIFN service–now a second year on our 2023 Board of Directors team–she shared: “I serve with and support SIFN because I respect their mission, the tireless work the agency performs, and the desire to impact change holistically.. spiritually, mentally and environmentally in the communities they serve.”