HHC’s Upstander of the Week

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Through the CINCY UPSTANDER PROJECT, the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center will highlight upstanders making a difference in our community and the world.

Upstanders are individuals who stand up for others and their rights. They fight against injustice and unfairness, and they use their character strengths to inspire action and become the best of humanity today.

Today, we’re highlighting Nikki Buskirk, Director of Middle Grade Ministry of Hilliard United Methodist Church, as HHC’s Upstander of the Week. Nikki was NOMINATED by teacher Anthony Coy-Gonzalez, who said:

“Nikki embodies what it means to be an upstander. She advocates for the rights of all by speaking up, by marching, by using her voice on social media, and leadership in community groups to end hate. She teaches and models the values of love for all in her teaching of children at Hilliard United Methodist Church, in her interactions with families, and her open sharing of her life experience. She leads others to new understanding of bias, history, and anti-racist work. Most recently she spoke up about a curriculum we use in children’s ministry that showed bias in representation of People of Color. She met with the creators and advocated for change. This directly led to changes in the curriculum almost immediately. She is an upstander in every way, personally, professionally, and powerfully!”

Nikki said love, especially for her three sons, drives her to be an upstander. She said she looks at her three sons and thinks of other children who have similar struggles, and she wants better for them all.

“I know I can’t change the world, but if I can help change even just the smallest thing that helps their lives, then the difficult days are worth it,” she said. “I remind myself, even when I lose hope and want to give up, that these kids deserve so much better. ”

Her advice for others who want to make a difference? Start small, and find your reason. 

“I’ve always been told to dream big, but I’ve learned over the years that it takes a lot of small dreams to make that big dream happen,” she said. “Those small dreams are worth just as much, maybe even more, than the big dreams. Finding your reason is what helps you when things get tough. Having a reason helps you get back up every time.”


Through generous funding from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation and creative support from the AGAR agency, the CINCY #UPSTANDERPROJECT aims to inspire our community to become upstanders through a city-wide art campaign, monthly programs, museum tours, giveaways, and training opportunities.