SURJ Newsletter, 10/13/18

We won’t be meeting at Drake next Sunday.  Instead, join us at the candidate’s forum.

Sunday, October 21.  Candidate forum. 6:00-8:00 pm at Trinity Las Americas (map here).  Sponsored by Des Moines Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund (CCI Action), and Trinity Las Americas United Methodist Church.  Learn more about candidates’ positions and commitments about racial equality and social justice. The following candidates have agreed to attend: Claire Celsi, Michael Boal, and Bruce Hunter.   We would like to have a strong SURJ presence at the event to hold our political candidates accountable. Facebook event here.

Support youth from our accountability partner Al Éxito:  2nd Annual Mary Campos Scholarship Luncheon.  November 14 at noon at Christ the King Catholic Church (location map). Join Al Éxito at this fundraiser for scholarships for Latinx youth.  Undocumented youth are not eligible for state or federal financial aid.  This scholarship fills the gap and supports the next generation of Iowa leaders.  Learn more about their stories here.  Can’t make the banquet?  Donate directly here.

Hear the first person story from Des Moines Civil Rights Pioneer Mary Campos in this podcast episode from the Drake University Community Research Summer Scholar Program.   Mary Campos is a civil rights activist and 2017 inductee into the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame. CRSSP scholar Juan Carlos talks with her about three experiences of racism the civil rights activist witnessed as a young person. Her teachers at McKinley Elementary School discouraged Spanish speaking among her siblings. She graduated in 1947 from Dowling High School (then called “The Academy”). On her graduation trip to California, she felt rage at racist bus segregation. On return to Iowa, she found job discrimination by employers who told her that their staff was only used to working with white people but eventually found a job through her church. The final minutes describe the founding of the Black and Brown forum, an important event in the Iowa Caucus process, and her award for helping immigrants found businesses in Des Moines. 6:40 minutes. (Check out the full interview in a bonus episode.)  We need volunteers for childcare. Keeping our SURJ meetings accessible for all families means making sure we have volunteers who will watch and play with young ones during meetings. Can you volunteer for an evening? (You don’t have to be a parent and we’ll provide the coloring books!). Please email with an upcoming meeting that you’re willing to volunteer at or be an on-call sub.

Upcoming Racial Justice Events

Learning session on voting rights by Interfaith Alliance Iowa.  Friday, October 19 11:45 am – 1:00 pm Plymouth Congregational Church Waveland Hall (4126 Ingersoll Ave). Daniel Zeno, Policy Director, ACLU of Iowa will speak. Voting matters. Ensuring that every vote counts matters. Over the past two years, a lot has changed about voting rights in Iowa. Attendees will learn about the new Iowa Voter ID law, including updates on ongoing Voter ID lawsuit and voting rights for people with felony convictions. Attendees will also learn about efforts to protect voting rights in Iowa.  RSVP by October 16: or 515.279.8715. The $10 fee is payable at the door and includes lunch.

Thank you to everyone that has purchased a Racial Justice Now t-shirt this summer! We’ve raised over $500 for one of our accountability partners which will be donated later this fall. If you ordered a shirt and haven’t picked it up, please reach out to us at We will have the t-shirts for pick up at our regular meetings. If you haven’t grabbed a shirt yet, there’s still time. Please fill out this form and we will be in touch. Each shirt cost $18 and we are able to donate $10 of each sale to our accountability partners.

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