DSM SURJ Newsletter, 3/2/19

Take urgent action against racial profiling, eat dinner provided by SURJ Leadership tomorrow night, attend NAACP Day on the Hill, give your feedback with the SURJ survey.

Urgent action to bring forward anti-racial profiling bill in Iowa

Support our accountability partner, the Iowa NAACP. Join the push to ask the Iowa Senate to move forward on the SSB1038 anti-racial profiling bill. Please take this urgent action to call on Monday. It’s easy – the script is below.

SSB1038  made it through sub-committee, but as of now isn’t on the Judiciary Committee agenda. Itneeds get on that agenda soon if it is to be voted on in time to make it through the first funnel (March 8th) and onto the legislative agenda for this season. PLEASE take the time to call and show our reps that Iowans beyond the NAACP also care about this important bill.

THIS IS ONE OF THE MOMENTS where your five minutes can make a real difference. This bill made it through subcommittee, so we know there is support (including among some Republicans) these are phone calls WORTH making.

Who to call:

Dan Dawson (Vice Chair of Judiciary Committee)

Brad Zaun (Chair of the Judiciary Committee)

Sample Script:

“Chairman Zaun/Vice Chairman Dawson: I’m calling to urge you to put SSB 1038 on the agenda for a vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I am part of Des Moines SURJ and we support this bill the NAACP has worked hard to move forward.

This legislation is important for our state. Protecting Iowans against racial profiling and providing police officers the training they need is consistent with Iowa values. We want a state in which all are treated with equity and fairness and where relationships can be built between police departments and the communities they serve. It’s good for everyone, including police, when we can all trust that there safeguards against racial profiling.

This bill has broad support and deserves a vote.”


Attendees from a broad coalition met on February 16 to prepare for upcoming dialogues with city officials to advocate for passing the anti-racial profiling ordinance presented to City Council in November 2018. If you have questions about the ordinance or want to be actively engaged in this work please contact Harvey Harrison by email:  harvey@dwx.com or submit this Iowa CCI Racial Justice Team Volunteer Form. Learn more here.

This week’s action: Anti-Racial Profiling bill, SSB1038, has passed out of subcommittee and will be voted on in the Judiciary Committee probably next week.  Please contact the leadership of the committee and your Senator to urge them to move the bill on.

Join us for dinner (NOT a potluck) TOMORROW at SURJ Meeting

Newcomers, returnees and longtime participants always welcome. DSM SURJ meetings are the first and third Sundays of each month, 6-8 pm at Drake University.  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.

Sunday, March 3rd: This is SURJ! The SURJ Leadership Core wants to see you and we will even feed you!!  If you don’t want to cook – GREAT! You’re welcomed.  If you want to bring a dish to share, THANKS!   Join us to connect for the first time or deepen your connection to DSM SURJ’s 2019 initiatives. We’ll share food, introduce the working principles of SURJ and determine together the larger initiatives that will shape our local SURJ work in 2019. Don’t miss this chance to fellowship together and shape SURJ’s focus for this new year. Childcare will be available.

Sunday, March 17th: Working Groups night, come help map the upcoming campaign to challenge discrimination in education and support asylum seekers in Des Moines. Taking Action Together on Education (We continue to build our 2019 action plan to resist discrimination in education in Des Moines. We’re engaging and responding to demands and needs identified by C.O.R.E. and Al Exito and we need all of us to pitch and help!)

Sunday, April 7th: Op-Ed writing workshop with Craig Owens.You have an important voice to build an anti-racist city and nation.  We ask for a bit of prep before Sunday night.  Brainstorm for Sunday:

1) some ideas about topics you might want to see an op-ed about;
2) the large point you want the op-ed to make (the “takeaway”);
3) a couple of specific actions you want readers to take action on about the takeaway large point

At the meeting, Drake University English Professor Craig Owens will lead us through a group process of talking about what we’ll write about.  Then, we will draft our letters together. Change the public narrative around racial justice. Don’t miss this special event.

If you have access to a laptop computer please bring it! As always, parking is available in the Olmsted Center Parking Lot located at 2875 University Avenue.

Sunday, April 21st: No formal meeting (Easter); working groups may decide to meet informally with those who can still attend.

NAACP Accountability Partner Event Tuesday
Tuesday, March 5. 12:30pm-4:00pm. Iowa NAACP Day on the Hill. Iowa State Capitol. Event details on Facebook at this link.

12:30 PM GOVERNOR KIM REYNOLDS – Welcome & Legislative Issue Support
1:15 PM PRESS CONFERENCE: Iowa at the Cross Roads. Is Hope on the Horizon? – NAACP Legislative Agenda
1:40 PM LOBBY PROCESS TRAINING – Learn how do advocate for change.
2:00 PM IOWA NAACP & ADVOCACY LEGISLATIVE ISSUE PANEL – Hear about pending legislation and how you can support.
2:30 PM ADVOCATE FOR REAL ACTION: LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS – Visit your legislators and attend legislative meetings.
3:15 PM ICE CREAM SOCIAL – LEGISLATIVE ROUND TABLE – Enjoy ice cream while engaging lawmakers around bills that matter

DSMSURJ Leadership Core Wants to Hear from You!  

Whether you’ve been active with our group recently or never before participated, we want to hear from you. As we move forward into 2019, we want to deepen our commitment to the community and engage more folks in this critical work.  Please take a few moments to complete and turn in this survey.  We appreciate your time and honest feedback.  Survey responses will be collected until March 10, 2019. 


Local Racial Justice Events

Wednesday, March 6. 8:00am-11:30 am. Understanding Cultural and Racial Trauma. Science Center of Iowa. Explore the basis of historical and cultural trauma. Learn how it impacts the willingness of ethnic communities and people of color to seek help for a variety of mental health challenges. Keisha Ross, PhD, will engage participants in a session outlining coping mechanisms and cultural considerations for serving communities impacted by trauma. This session will build connections and grow alliances for mental health access and advocacy, with a focus on bridging faith and mental health circles. Tickets and details here.

Tuesday, March 19. 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Documentary Showing: The Feminist on Cellblock Y. At the State Historical Society of Iowa.  In the documentary, a convicted felon builds a feminist movement from behind bars at an all-male prison in Soledad, California. The star of the film, Richard Edmond Vargas–the keynote speaker of the 2019 Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Symposium on March 20–will answer questions after the showing. Hosted by OpportUNITY DSM, Central Iowa Works, and Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission. Details at this facebook event.

Get Informed and Take Action: A Deep Dive into Des Moines’ Bridging the Gap Campaign

The campaign to build momentum to address racial disparity in Des Moines needs you!  Identified priorities include “Stable Housing – Stable Communities”; “Ladder Up – Create Economic Opportunities”; and “Mandatory Training for First Responders”.  The Des Moines Civic & Human Rights Commission drafted specific recommendations which the Mayor and City Council supported. The City Manager was directed to report back at the March 25, 2019 city council meeting. Learn details at this link. (Thanks to Jean ODonnell for providing these important details and course of action!)

If you are a resident of Des Moines we encourage you to attend these City Council meetings to hold our elected officials accountable. Attend the Commission’s annual Human Rights Symposium on March 20th.  The amazing high school students from C.O.R.E. for Advancement are leading the Future Progress track, for-youth-by-youth sessions that explore the current ways our youth are leading the charge to a better future.  Click on the link for all the details.

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