Rainbow Skate hosts inaugural fundraising event for Omaha organizations

Published: Jul. 25, 2021 at 5:53 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A new local fundraising organization is hosting their inaugural event Sunday night, hoping to raise money and awareness for Omaha groups that support the LGBTQ+ community.

Rainbow Skate Fundraising is co-founded by Buddy Sims, who is also a co-owner of the VIBE Salon & Day Spa, as well as an internationally ranked nail artist. Sims is also a self-proclaimed skating enthusiast.

“Truthfully how it all came into play was that we just wanted to rent the roller skating rink for fun, but once we did that we decided that we wanted this to be about more than just us,” Sims tells 6 News.

“We’re a fundraising organization that acts as a funnel to get funds to charities that we deem are worthy,” he says. “We’re an LGBTQ+ organization and we’re just trying to raise funds for charities that support the gay community as well.”

Sunday night will mark the first event for the group, and 50% of ticket sales will go to support local organizations. One of them is the Omaha Roller Derby.

“Oh, it made us feel amazing, we were ‘like they want to help us?’ Little old Omaha Roller Derby, you know?” says Emma Hauenstein, who has been part of the Omaha Roller Derby for around eight years.

Sims says as an LGBTQ+ ally, and with the recent loss of their event space, it was easy to choose the group to support.

“When we heard Buddy talk about how we made them feel at pride events, it made us just feel so much better about ourselves like, okay, we really are making a community impact,” Hauenstein says.

As a dual-gender sport, the Omaha Roller Derby also hopes to recruit new members at the Rainbow Skate.

The other organization benefitting from Sunday’s event is Black and Pink, a national organization that seeks to abolish the prison system, support LGBTQ+ youth and those living with HIV/AIDs.

Black and Pink’s goal is to open a school on their new Omaha campus to help provide education to youth who have been in and out of correctional facilities.

“B&P helps get these youths back on track, and out of the system, but doesn’t ignore the problems with the system. The LGBT+ Community and the police have a difficult past, with systemic discrimination within the legal system. Their organization not only tries to fix those issues, but further educates those they assist, and the community about the problems they overcome in their organization,” Rainbow Skate says in a recent press release.

Sims says the response leading up to Sunday night’s event has been larger than expected - a good problem to have.

“Our goal is just to raise as much money as we can and bring awareness to these organizations that are such an excellent fixture in the community, they offer safe spaces for people, they’re welcoming and open to everyone from every background and that’s what we’ve kind of built our event around,” he says.

“We hope the event goes well enough, we can do it again, and even better,” says co-founder Waylon Kearney in their recent press release.

The event is from 6:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Skate City in Bellevue on Sunday, July 25.

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