DSM SURJ News and Action, 6/6/2020

Welcome to all SURJ newcomers. We’re glad you’re here to show up for racial justice.

Actions to take this day and ongoing.

Today! Drive up. Sign the letter. Hold DMPD accountable.

Saturday, June 6. Start time depends on location (see below)  New location added! Two social distance locations, one location at important March site. Go to any of three locations to meet SURJ to sign pre-printed letters. We need 300 people to help make an impact with the Des Moines City Manager and City Councilors.

New Location: 12:30 – 1:00 pm. Our Generation’s March on Selma at Wells Fargo Arena (730 3rd St). Swing by early to sign a letter and of course, stay for the march!! PPE will be worn by the SURJ leaders and you’re welcome to bring your own pen for writing! Please wear a mask. *Open to Des Moines residents and metro allies.

Drive-up locations 1:00-4:00 pm:

Location 1 – 24th and Ingersoll
Location 2 – Beaverdale Price Chopper, 1819 Beaver Ave

Both locations have the same letter and a mailbox for premium selfies!

PPE will be worn by the SURJ leaders and you’re welcome to bring your own pen for writing! Please wear a mask. Two teams of SURJ leaders will meet you with pre-printed letters! Any time during that three hour window, you’ll drive up, sign your name, take a selfie with your letter and a mailbox, post to your social media and drive away! All under 5 minutes! *Open to Des Moines residents and metro allies.

We’ve written a letter with 3 asks for the City to hold the Des Moines Police Department accountable for. The impact of the City Manager receiving 300 letters in the mail will be huge! Help us make it happen.

1) Focus on diversifying ALL the ranks of DMPD through innovative, intentional strategies whose methods, success metrics and results are transparent. Did you know 80% of the sworn protective services in Des Moines is white male, with 10% white female. Fully 100% of the non-sworn services is white (meaning the chiefs and supervisors, etc).
2) Police officers should be required to give citizens their business cards at each and every stop.
3) In the case of a complaint against an officer, we ask that all evidence related to the complaint be shared verbatim with the City Manager, the City Attorney, and the Human Rights Director.

Important correction: City Council needs to pass a strong anti-racial profiling bill

Monday June 8 4:30 PM. Please note that there are concerns with the anti-racial profiling bill. Please join the Zoom call Monday to demand that City Council Does Better. .Attend the meeting from home via zoom at this link: https://zoom.us/j/85018958836?pwd=c3lQSmJoRitFcGwyYlJmUTVFajJidz09
(Meeting ID: 850 1895 8836 Password: 000960) You can also dial in: 833 548 0282 US Toll-free 888 475 4499 US Toll-free Meeting ID: 850 1895 8836 See agenda and more detailed information here.

Demand a strong anti-racial profiling bill. The City Manager is planning to bring the issue of a ban on racial profiling before the City Council, The plan he submitted is a draft from March that was NOT acceptable to the Alliance of organizations that have been working on this issue. Show up to demand the more robust plan be approved. Learn more with this graphic.

GoFundMe #BlackLivesMatter Organizer in Des Moines

Donate here:   SURJ DSM supports the GoFundMe campaign of local #BlackLivesMatter organizer Matthew Bruce. He writes:

“My name is Matthew Bruce, I am from the Eastside of Des Moines, and I have been organizing in the #BlackLivesMatter movement for 6 years. Watching my brothers, sisters, friends and community members struggle to fight through police violence, scattered riots, and ideological divisions was just too painful for me to bear. This inspired me to come home from Chicago, where I was protesting, to help lead organization efforts in Des Moines and offer whatever value I could as far as my experience in and understanding of this movement.”

$1500/month goes to Matthew, the remainder will go to Minneapolis organizers seeking to end police brutality after the murder of George Floyd.

Zoom intro party with SURJ

Saturday, June 13 1:00 pm -2:00 pm. To attend this event, you must register here. Only the first 100 attendees will be able to join. Space is still available. We will email you a link to join the meeting. We’re going to learn about the basics of SURJ, grow our relationships with one another, and learn about the larger strategies behind focusing on antiracism with white folks. This is a great first meeting for anyone interested in better understanding DSM SURJ!

Please don’t stop at following us on Facebook. Newcomers and long-time members, white folks and people of color, are invited to this introduction. You can RSVP and track this event on Facebook here.

Support Latinx families during the COVID crisis

Undocumented Iowans are not eligible for stimulus payment and other crisis assistance. Help your neighbors by donating to Al Exito, a Latino youth-development and leadership organization that is stepping up to help. Donate here: paypal.me/AlExitoINC or our website: https://www.alexitoiowa.org/donation

Al Éxito continues to deliver free groceries weekly to 21 families around the Des Moines metro who are food insecure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many families have lost their jobs and have limited access to support due to status. We are thankful to everyone who has donated to Al Éxito recently to help us further our mission and support marginalized communities in Iowa during this frightening time!

Al Éxito is conducting a needs assessment statewide of all our families and we are expecting to hear from more families that are in need.

SURJ in-person meetings on hold – take action through these educational resources

Currently, SURJ is not meeting in person because of the need for bodily distancing. Keep social solidarity going by taking another step in your journey to better understand the immigrant detention system in the US. Then, take action!  During times of systemic shock like our current circumstances, corporate interests will use the opportunity to strengthen their power and profits. But we have an opportunity to work and advocate for systemic change in the immigration and incarceration systems.

Below is a list of things you can do. SURJ is working with the American Friends Service Committee, Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) and Iowans for Immigrant Freedom (IFIF), an organization based in eastern Iowa that has been working on visitations at the Linn and Hardin county jails. These groups organize to support people detained by ICE in the Polk County jail visitation program for persons detained by ICE. Will you support this work by educating yourself and taking action?

Education resources – choose one or more:

    1. Watch Brave New Films Immigrant Prison Series.
    2. Visit the immigrant rights page at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) website.
    3. Visit the Freedom for Immigrants website to learn about their work.  IFIF and DSM SURJ agree to their values and they provide resources to jail visitation programs and persons detained.
    4. Subscribe to IMM-Print, a publication by and for persons affected by immigrant detention.
    5. Read Detention-101 from the Detention Watch Network.
    6. Read the ACLU-Iowa letter to state agencies regarding the coronavirus crisis and it’s impact on prison populations including persons detained by ICE.
    7. Watch this segment from Democracy Now! On mutual aid to consider new ways of building resilient communities.
    8. Watch this segment from Common Dreams on how powerful interests such as corporations will use this pandemic to increase their power and how we can frame an alternative narrative.

Financial Support – local organizations need our support

    1. Support any of the organizations listed above by going to their donation link.
    2. Support local organizations provided support to persons detained and their families.

Advocacy: Take action

    1. Become part of ACLU-Iowa’s Rapid Response Team to get updates on state legislation related to immigrant rights that you can use to contact legislators.
    2. Freedom for Immigrants, Detention Watch Network, and AFSC all have national campaigns you can participate in.  Find these on their websites.  They provide drafts of letters and talking points.
    3. Reach out to your state legislators to advocate for immigrants in detention, particularly, as it relates to the issues outlined in the ACLU-Iowa letter.

Direct Action

    1. Join the DSM SURJ Immigrant Rights or Education working groups.  Contact dsmsurj@gmail.com for more information.
    2. Contact dsmsurj@gmail.com if you might be interested in being involved in the Jail Visitation program either as a visitor volunteer or as a member of our steering committee.
    3. Volunteer with Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a Des Moines based mutual aid group run by the Central Iowa Democratic Socialists.
    4. Volunteer with Community Support Des Moines, a bi-lingual (Spanish-English) mutual aid group.

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