SURJ Newsletter, 10/27/18

If you were planning to prioritize one week for action for racial justice, this is it!  Help get out the vote with the NAACP, speak up against racial profiling, vote for DSM Civil Rights priorities, and buy tickets for Latinx youth scholarships this week!

Call to action: City council resolution against racial profiling.

Join the campaign this month to ask Des Moines City Council to pass an Anti-Racial Profiling Ordinance.  This ordinance is being drafted by CCI and will be submitted for discussion at their November 19th meeting.  Can you commit to one of the following?

Phone call or email:  Contact the Mayor, your City Council member and both At-Large members to ask for their support for the ordinance and/or your concerns about racial profiling by the DMPD. The Iowa CCI Racial Justice team has created a set of talking points to use for calls/emails and for your convenience.

Invite your network to do the same.  Share this call to action on social media. In order for this ordinance to pass the council needs to know this has broad support within the community, especially white folks.  If you know any “influencers” in the Des Moines community, please ask them to reach out to the Des Moines City Council.

Write a letter to the editor in support of the ordinance or about the problem of racial profiling in our communities.  Here’s where to send it.  Here are talking points from CCI for letters to the editor.  Also, the notes from our October 7th meeting on writing LTEs and Op-ed’s are available. These are a great resource and would also provide helpful tips if you plan to write an email to the city council.

Atend the November 19th city council meeting to show your support.  Please let  know before November 15 if you are committed to attending the Nov 19th city council meeting or if you have questions about emails or letters to the editor.

While the final draft of the ordinance is not complete, it would include provisions such as: banning racial profiling and pretextual stops; mandating annual and publicly available data on stops; creating a citizen review board of the DMPD; mandating implicit bias and de-escalation training; removing the felony charge from possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Stay tuned for updates regarding this ongoing work.  

Accountability partner events:

November 3 & 4: SURJ is assisting the NAACP of Des Moines in helping people of color exercise their right to vote. Here’s info from the DM Register article posted on this page 10.14.18: “Volunteers can sign up for shifts on Oct. 13, Nov. 3 and Nov. 4. More information and sign-ups can be found here:”

WEDNESDAY, November 14, 11am-1pm2nd Annual Al Éxito Mary Campos Scholarship Luncheon. Location: Christ the King Catholic Church (location map). Prepare to be inspired with amazing stories. 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 herePurchase ticket here or by mail  ($50; checks can be written to Al Éxito MEC Scholarship. PO Box 93531, Des Moines, IA 50393). Can’t make the banquet?  Donate directly here.

Meeting Schedule:  November meetings are at our regular location.  Meetings the first and third Sundays of each month, 6-8 pm at Drake University.  Newcomers welcome at all meetings! Childcare provided. All meetings held at Medbury Honors Lounge at Drake University at 6:00 pm. Park in the Olmsted Center Parking Lot located at 2875 University Avenue. November meeting dates: November 4 & November 18.

Des Moines Racial Justice Events:

FRIDAY, November 2, drop in any time between 6PM-8PM.  Set priorities for Des Moines Human Rights with DSM Civil & Human Rights Department.  Location: John R. Grubb YMCA.  Vote for top priorities for Civil & Human rights department and enjoy appetizers.  Join Civil & Human Rights Department & DSM Police Department in this second free gallery-style event, where we will display the options created by the community along with potential avenues to move forward. Come learn more about what your ideas could look like, share your thoughts, and most importantly, VOTE for your favorites. Facebook event details here.

FRIDAY, November 2, 10:15 am and 1:30 pmAngie Thomas, author of summer SURJ reading selection The Hate U Give will be speaking. Location: HyVee Hall (Iowa Events Center).  Sponsored by DMACC.  All session are free and open to the public. Groups, please contact

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.

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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