DSM SURJ Newsletter, 12/9/18

Act from home today or tomorrow: Join Local Activists Sonia Reyes-Snider and  Erica Johnson to speak out against phony proposed “public charge” screen of immigrants.  Learn more about this anti-immigrant policy and take anti-racist action by submitting your public comment.  Learn more at this link here  and this link here.

Miss last week’s SURJ meeting but want to support students of color in Des Moines metro schools?   Community of Racial Equity for Advancement is elevating student voices and educating the community. This is a grassroots organization started here in Des Moines.  Learn more about CORE and how to support at this link here. 

Ready to SURJ in 2019?  Important stuff ahead:

Friday January 25 9-noon.  Iowa State Capitol.  2019 Latino Day on the Hill.  Stand in solidarity with DSM SURJ Accountability Partner, Iowa Commission on Latino Affairs.  The Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs invites you to the second Latino Day on the Hill! This is a free event and open to the public. The Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs is planning this event with the goal of providing a space for Latinx to learn about the legislative process so they can feel empowered to return to the Capitol when the community needs to advocate. See Facebook invite here.

Saturday, January 26, 10:00 am.  Ritual Cafe. SURJ Winter Book Club is announced!  Read the book I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown.  Join SURJ facilitators to discuss. a “powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.” From the book’s web page, found here.   

Accountability Partners Make a Difference

Iowa CCI Racial Justice Team presented at the November 19th Des Moines City Council meeting about the anti-racial profiling ordinance.  SURJ supports them in this effort and their presentation to the council was very well done.  More than 150 people showed up to fill the City Council chambers and the hallway outside.  It sent a clear message to the City Council that there is broad support for this measure.  Council members Josh Mandelbaum and Connie Boesen made strong statements that action must be taken and to ensure this they made a motion to instruct the City Manager Scott Sanders to come back to the Council with a detailed report by late January or early February at the latest about each of the six proposals presented. The motion passed unanimously.

Read the Des Moines Register article here.

The six components of the anti-racial profiling ordinance presented were:

  1. Banning racial profiling
  2. Banning pretextual stops – which is when a police officer stops a driver for a minor traffic violation to allow the officer to then investigate a separate and unrelated suspected criminal offense
  3. Mandating annual data collection on arrests and a data collection release to the public
  4. Creating a citizen review board
  5. Mandating annual implicit bias and de-escalation training; as well as training on the racial profiling ordinance
  6. Making marijuana possession the lowest level of enforcement

The Iowa CCI Racial Justice team will be reconvening in January to discuss their next steps. In the meantime two action steps you can take right now are:

  • Write a letter to the editor or op-ed piece in support of the ordinance.  The Iowa CCI Racial Justice team has created a set of talking points to use for calls/emails and letters to the editor for your convenience.  Also, the notes from our October 7th meeting on writing LTEs and Op-ed’s with Craig Owens are available.
  • If you are a Des Moines resident, email or call the Mayor, your City Council member and both At-Large members to voice your support directly to them.  Thank them for supporting this initial step but let them know you support the proposed ordinance. Commit to showing up to Iowa CCI Racial Justice team community meetings on this work. Iowa CCI organizers on the Racial Justice team are Bridget Fagan-Reidburn (bridget@iowacci.org) and Sharon Zanders-Ackiss (sharon@iowacci.org). The SURJ will post these events on our Facebook page as they become available.

Opportunities to support Iowa Sanctuary Movement

The Iowa Sanctuary Movement (ISM), is sponsoring two families in Des Moines currently seeking asylum. The two mothers and their children will need assistance with rent, utilities, food, clothing, and all living expenses. They are not yet allowed to apply for a work permit. There will be many ways to help these families, but financial support is paramount. For more information, contact Lynne Howard, billlynne5@gmail.com .

Donations for the families by check should be made out to: First Unitarian Church, with ISM asylum support in the memo line. (Send to First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, 1800 Bell Ave, Des Moines, IA 50315). Donations can also be made electronically on the church website. Link here.

Defend DACA.  American Friends Service Committee Iowa now has a fund to support DACA recipients who need to renew their status and work permit. You can donate via check made out to First Unitarian with “DACA support” in the memo line, or online link here.

DACA recipients must pay $495 to renew their DACA status and work permits every two years. AFSC often gets calls from DACA clients who need to renew, but don’t have the money to do so. Many other states have scholarship programs to help cover this cost, but until now, Iowa has not had any such program or fund available. Contact Jody Mashek, AFSC Iowa Legal Services Director, with any questions: 515-274-4851.

DSM SURJ meetings are 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. Upcoming meetings:

  • December 16th:  RESISTING DISCRIMINATION IN EDUCATION: Join us in learning more about resisting discrimination in our local schools and supporting students of color to succeed in their educational journeys.  FB event here.
  • January meetings 1/6, 1/20

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 dsmsurj@gmail.com with an upcoming meeting that you’re willing to volunteer at or be an on-call sub.

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