Cultural Programs Building Bridges: Rebecca’s Story

Rebecca (JueYeZi) Reinhardt has been part of the Asian Center team for 10 years, serving as Cultural Program Coordinator and Chinese Community Advocate. She came from China to Nebraska in 1999 with more than a decade of experience in Chinese radio and a great curiosity about American culture.

Learning English was a challenge that Rebecca attacked head-on by immersing herself in American media and keeping a notebook of words and pronunciations.

“I had to be fearless using English with people. It was hard, but people were so patient with me,” says Rebecca.

As she began to meet people, Rebecca discovered that her new friends were curious about her story and culture. She delighted in the opportunity to share about Chinese traditions and foods. Looking for more ways to connect with friends in Lincoln, Rebecca quickly realized that football was a shared love for many people.

“I decided to learn everything I could about football. And then, I realized that I really liked it! Football is something that everyone can get excited about, so it helps me connect with many people,” says Rebecca.

Before long, Rebecca put her leadership skills to work, serving as the president of the Lincoln Chinese Cultural Association for several years. She helped the UNL Chinese student group plan their annual Lunar New Year celebration for many years.

In 2014, she was asked to join the Asian Center’s team to run and grow our cultural programs. Rebecca also serves as a Chinese Community Advocate, providing essential services to new Nebraskans from China. She became a community breastfeeding educator, community health worker, domestic violence advocate, and peer support specialist.

“It’s important to me to stay connected to the Chinese community and to help newcomers who need support. I want to show new immigrants that they can be successful here, learn English, find work, and be part of the community,” says Rebecca.

Under Rebecca’s leadership, cultural programs have grown significantly to include two major community events, dozens of smaller cultural presentations each year, and artistic performance groups.

“I love cultural event planning! I get to connect with so many people in the community. We bring in performers, food, and activities for the whole family,” says Rebecca.

In 2023, Rebecca was honored at the 45th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards for her excellence in leading and growing the Asian Center’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration and Harvest Moon Festival.

Rebecca is passionate about the value of cultural programs.

“I always tell people the Asian Center is the bridge. On one side are immigrant and refugee newcomers, and on the other side are long-time residents. We are the bridge that brings both sides together.

“Newcomers get to celebrate their traditional roots, sharing with the next generation. Long-time residents are invited to experience new cultures and learn about other traditions. Being the bridge builds connection and acceptance between newcomers and long-time residents. I see more and more people participating every year, families from all backgrounds throughout our city. I love it!” says Rebecca.