DSM SURJ News & Action, 12/13/2020

This time of year, we give thanks for you, dear reader; for all those working to bring about a better world; for all the little things we have done this year together–because they add up to a lot.

How do we not take the mic, but also speak up when we need to? Center people of color & listen deeply while also not expecting POC to do all the work or teach us?

Antiracist postures are complex and have to be learned and practiced. Let’s talk about how we show up in people of color-led spaces in ways that are accountable–supporting and amplifying the work people of color are doing for justice & empowerment.

Join us for an engaging dialogue with Matthew Gilbert and Jennifer Harvey co-facilitating. Matthew will also share about his work in Des Moines, related specifically to the Edna Griffin building downtown. He is going to offer this in a way to have us think about more collective forms of white accountability to history and Black empowerment.

To receive the Zoom information, you must register Sunday by 5PM. Register here:

We’d like to give a signal boost to an event about defunding happening Monday (12/14) which we hope you will attend. Like any social justice issue, there is a variety of opinions on if or how defunding should be undertaken in our community. Wherever you’re at, please check out this great article and the below message from SURJ Accountability Partner Iowa CCI

The people of Des Moines know what keeps us safe:

Breathable air and drinkable water. Free and accessible healthcare. A plan to address COVID-19. Paid time to recover when we get sick. The resources to make ends meet.

But the Des Moines City Council isn’t protecting our communities. In August, they voted to give $99,000 of ammunition to the police department, who spent the summer tear-gassing kids. 

The council is taking money that belongs to the people and using it to uphold police power. But our communities need care, not control. 

Ready to take action?

  • What does it really mean to defund the police? Monday, December 14 at 5:30 pm, join us for our Defund the Police webinar. Whether you are already down to defund or are genuinely interested in learning more, you’re welcome to join!
  • Then, join us on Tuesday, December 15 at 5:30pm for a meeting with council members to discuss the marijuana task force.

There is so much going on in the worlds of activism and organizing. It can be hard to know where and how one should engage–especially if one has not taken the time to step back and consider the bigger questions, such as “Why is this work important to me in the first place?”

Never fear: there is an education and leadership development program designed to help you with just that. The Anne Braden Program supports the vision, strategy, and organizing skills of white activists in becoming accountable, principled anti-racist organizers building multiracial movements for justice.

Applications are now open for the program, which will be structured around weekly three-hour live webinars, and will include important elements like one on one mentorship, grassroots fundraising training, engaging and challenging homework and readings, exciting guest speakers, transformational facilitation, and inspiring kick ass organizers from all over the country.

Apply Now! Applications are due December 31, 2020, and space is limited. Much more info online. Please help us spread the word to your contacts!

Lastly, please note an important message from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition:

Our friends at the family detention center in Pennsylvania are sounding the alarm about the imminent deportation of 28 children and their parents and are calling for support from the interfaith community across the nation.

These families have been detained for the entirety of the pandemic and were never given a fair chance to apply for asylum. Now, they are being threatened with deportation before the holidays—a decision that could mean their death. Many have also contracted COVID-19 inside the detention centers, threatening their safety in another way.

These deportations are illegal and immoral. Denying children and families the right to seek asylum violates our deepest-held faith values and responsibility to care for our neighbors.

Thankfully, on November 23, a court issued a temporary ten-day stay of removal to protect the families from deportation. However, they are still at risk of deportation when that stay runs out, so we must continue to take action.

Here’s what you can do:

Sign this Petition and share it on social media using the hashtags #28Children and #SafetyForThe28.

Contact ICE Director Simona Flores and urge her not to deport the families.

  • Phone: 214-918-4822
  • Email: Simona.L.Flores@ice.dhs.gov
  • Script: 23 families, with a total of 28 children, have been detained in family prisons during the entire pandemic and are now being fast -tracked for deportation during the holidays. They are being unfairly denied the right to seek asylum. This is illegal and immoral. Families need to be free and safe, not deported to the violence they fled. Do not deport these families. Instead, release them to relatives or sponsors.

Contact PA Governor Wolf. 

  • Call him at 717-787-2500
  • Sample Script: “I believe that families should be together, and children should be safe and cared for. As long as the Berks Detention Center remains open, Pennsylvania is not living up to these values. You can shut down this detention center by issuing an Emergency Removal Order on the Berks County Detention Center that will show your commitment to create a state where all children are valued and safe.”

Post on social media:

  • “Governor Wolf, deliver the gift of freedom and life for families in the Berks County Detention Center by issuing an Emergency Removal Order immediately.”
  • President Elect Biden, dismantle the deportation machine by ending family and all immigrant detention, ending family separation and stopping all deportations.”

#ShutDownBerks #EndFamilyDetention #EndFamilySeparation #FreeThemAll #not1moredepotation                

Forward this email to friends, family, and members of your faith community and encourage them to advocate.

Act today! Don’t let these children and their families be deported back to the life-threatening situations they’ve fled.

We have happily completed a refresh of the DSM SURJ website. Check it out, let us know what you think, enjoy fantastic photography from Joe Crimmings, and send great pics our way so we can keep it fresh!

Thank you for reading!

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

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