DSM SURJ News & Action, 6/20/2020

Welcome to all! If you are new to the mailing list or have been reading a long time, we’re glad you’re here. Ready to plan how you will be showing up for racial justice? Let’s go!

Upcoming DSM SURJ Sunday Meetings

As DSM SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) continues to adapt to conditions of COVID-19, we will keep you updated in the newsletter and Facebook on how to register for these topics. Here are the planned upcoming meetings. DSM SURJ meetings are the first Sundays of each month, 6-8 pm

Upcoming meeting topics:

July 12:            Reimagining Community Safety

August 2:         Voting in Iowa – from Registration to Election Day

DSM SURJ working groups – get involved!

Working groups focus on specific areas of racial justice work. Email us if you are interested in joining one of these three groups:

1. Changing local school district practices: Education equity working group I. Many educators cite “parent pushback” as a reason they are nervous to work for anti-racism in schools. This is often code for powerful white parents whose opposition educators fear may cost them their jobs. We as white parents want to flip the script and push for anti-racism in schools. We want educators to know that we fully expect and demand an anti-racist education—for children of all racialized identities. In addition to creating space to support each other in raising white children to be anti-racist, our goal is to leverage our white privilege to push for explicitly anti-racist policies, curriculum, funding, hiring practices, representation, and other structural changes in Des Moines area public schools. We do this in alignment with and allegiance to communities of color who we know have been lobbying for these changes for generations. 

2. Changing state level policy: Education equity working group 2. SURJ accountability partners have asked for our support in approval of recommendations that they’ve made to the State Board of Education. CORE and Al Éxito, both accountability partners, are preparing a presentation to the Board of Educational Examiners to reach objectives related to teacher training curriculum that supports pre-service and current teachers around equity, cultural responsive methods, and narrowing the achievement gap. Join this SURJ working group to support them in these efforts.

3. Immigration justice working group: Our accountability partner, American Friends Service Committee has asked us to help coordinate a visitor volunteer program for people detained by ICE at the Polk County Jail. We are working in collaboration with Iowans for Immigrant Freedom, based out of Iowa City, as they are already visiting folks being detained by ICE in Hardin and Linn County jails. The organization, Freedom for Immigrants, is the overarching organization that has provided tools and resources around this work.  As needs arise, this group will also support other asks from our accountability partners as capacity allows. 

Listen and Learn from Home: Important articles and webinars

Discussion with Alex Vitale and Nelsie Yang, author of The End of Policing. Watch at this video link. Discussion about the political and cultural barriers to reimagining public safety, the interconnections among so many of the issues we see and care about, and some practical ideas for next steps as we reimagine public safety. Created by TakeActionMinnesota.

The Genius of Black Women Webinar. Friday June 12, 2020, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota hosted a webinar on Black women’s vision and leadership from the front lines of Minneapolis. Highly recommended by your humble newsletter editor. Featuring Lulete Mola (Women’s Foundation of MN), Kandace Montgomery (Black Visions Collective), Lissa Jones (‘Urban Agenda’ Radio Host), and Leslie E. Redmond (Minneapolis NAACP). Access via this Facebook Post.

What does it mean to defund or abolish the police? A conversation (YouTube link here) about the Black Lives matter movement, the call to defund the police, and alternatives. Hosted by Trevor Noah, “The daily Social Distancing Show.”

Re-imagining community safety. Article on how to create humane alternatives to policing that truly keep our communities safe.

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.

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.

Read with SURJ this summer: Book club

On June 27, we’ll be discussing Ibram Kendi’s part-memoir, part-instructional bestsellerHow to Be An Antiracist. In July, we’ll be reading Kendi’s collaboration with Jason Reynolds to remix Stamped from the Beginninginto a young adult “not a history book”  Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. Then we’ll finish out the summer with James Baldwin’s personal, provocative, and sadly still relevantThe Fire Next Time. Learn about all titles at the Book Club website.

Currently, space in the book club is filled. We invite you to read these books on your own or with family or friends. We will send out an updated announcement when space opens up.

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