DSM SURJ Newsletter, 3/9/19

This week: Write letters and postcards to City Council Officials

At our last meeting Joshua Barr, Director of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission, joined us to request that our membership write the Des Moines Mayor, City Manager, and City Council in support of the Bridging the Gap recommendations.  You don’t have to be a resident to support these recommendations.  Mr. Barr encouraged letters and postcards but emails will also suffice.  The mailing address for all letter is Name, City Hall, 400 Robert Ray Dr, Des Moines, IA, 50309.  Email addresses and phone numbers can be found here.  Please get your letters sent by March 22nd.  The council will begin voting on these at the March 25th City Council meeting.

Related post – 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.

Anti-Racial Profiling–City of Des Moines

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.


Upcoming SURJ Meetings

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 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.


Local Racial Justice Events

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.

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