DSM SURJ News & Action, 11/5/2020

We’ve (almost) made it through the election [deep exhale]. Give yourself a hug and take a rest. And then come on back and keep SURJing! 


Lots of things happened in October before the Election swamped our collective consciousness. One of those things was that a coalition led by Des Moines BLM issued a state of emergency to call attention to the assaults, disappearances and killings of Black people in Iowa in 2020.

Who killed Abdi Sharif? What happened to Breasia Terrell? Why wasn’t the horrific death of Michael Williams in Grinnell investigated as a hate crime? Months have passed in all these cases. If these questions concern you–and they should concern all of us–then please read the state of emergency above (and an accompanying SURJ post).


THANK YOU to all who showed up to work and/or donated to make the AFSC backpack supply drive a huge success on Oct 25. We received hundreds of donations and 55 backpacks, which we’ve already begun sending out to support those detained by ICE. There was also over $500 in cash donations!

Our sincere thanks to American Friends Service Committee-Iowa for allowing us to host the event at its office and for all of the staff support.

Shout out and special thank you to The Supply Hive for helping sort through the donations and for taking items that were useful, just not for the backpacks. We can’t thank them enough. If you don’t already, go support The Supply Hive – they are amazing!


Another THANK YOU: To the great SURJers who donated and made it possible for a whopping 27 students to attend the White Privilege Symposium, which is coming up in two short days. (Snag tickets for yourself at the link!) We exceeded our goal and were once again reminded of the strong generosity and engagement of DSM SURJ members like YOU.


Join us this Sunday, 11/8 at 6pm for a learning session on navigating difficult social justice conversations with friends and family.

Family gatherings may be smaller this holiday season, but Zoom probably won’t make it any easier to engage with your racist uncle. We hope this session helps us all learn some useful strategies.

Register here –> https://forms.gle/3GTzVfNiqRNreBV68


All right, so about that election. By the time you read this, it should be (finally) pretty wrapped up. Going through this major period in our history has involved a lot of emotions, and we hope you have been taking care of yourself and your loved ones during this challenging time.

When the dust settles for you, DSM SURJ is here to remind you that there is a tremendous amount of work to be done right here in the Des Moines area–regardless of whom occupies the White House.

Where should I start? How should I engage my personal interests and networks? Don’t I need permission from those in power? (No.)  

For help answering those questions and others, please take ~37 minutes to read an enlightening and nuanced piece by Joshua Barr of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission entitled “A Better Way: 50+ Action Items to Fight Against Racism In Your Community.” The piece makes clear that there is a place for everyone in our local movement for change, and there are so many ways to take action.

Tags: advocacy, organizing, social entrepreneurship, outreach, relationship-building, donating, showing up, workplace advocacy, voting, running for office

Here’s to finishing strong in 2020.


Thank you for reading!

Please stay in touch with us and reach out at any time to dsmsurj@gmail.com

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