DSM SURJ News & Action, 12/29/2020

DSM SURJ wishes you happy holidays and a wonderful 2021.

Join us for our next Zoom meeting! January 10, 6-8pm
One of DSM SURJ’s primary goals is to help its members learn how to intentionally disrupt systems of white supremacy in our communities and our state.  A very important way of doing this is through effective citizen advocacy. 

At this meeting we will learn about state-level advocacy for the upcoming Iowa Legislative session, as well as ongoing advocacy at the Des Moines City Council.  A more detailed description with speaker information will be included in the Facebook event.

January 2021 DSM SURJ Zoom Meeting

Topic: Effective Advocacy for Racial Justice

Date/Time: Sunday, January 10, 6-8pm

Pre-register by Sunday, January 10th at 3pm to receive the Zoom login information:


DSM SURJ supports economic equity by using its large network to thoughtfully support people-of-color-owned businesses and enterprises in the Des Moines area. This strategy has been used in many cities to redirect resources in the name of equity.

Please support these entities and spread the word in your network. Word of mouth is still the most important way for small businesses to gain new customers.

Are you interested in learning more about your family history but don’t know how to get started? Do you have some experience but you’re too short on time to do the research?

Meet Ricki King, a professional genealogist and founder of Roots to Branches Genealogy. Ricki can assist you whether you’re a beginner or an experienced researcher. She has extensive training and experience, so she’s well qualified to do the research and provide you with a written report of her findings. She can help with a research plan, retrieve Iowa documents, find or follow up on clues when you’ve hit a brick wall in your own research, help with logs, organize your records, and more. She’ll visit with you regarding how much time you want her to work, so you can keep the cost within your budget. Ricki is passionate about helping people on their genealogy journey, which can be complicated and sometimes overwhelming.

Learn more on the website or contact below. Ricki would love to assist you!

Roots To Branches on Facebook


So much happened in 2020.

A world of work remains, but before moving on let’s take stock of where we’ve been and think about what it all means for next year.

The big push for the Restoration of felon voting rights started in January and was amplified throughout the spring and summer by many groups including SURJ until the governor finally signed an executive order. Accountability Partners seemed to hold events with amazing and increasing frequency throughout the year. DSM SURJ often helped publicize and attend, and sometimes execute. DSM SURJ expanded its Leadership Core to meet the moment in 2020. DSM SURJ educated folks on race and racism; racism in education; the abuses of ICE; the immigration system, and more. This started early in the year and increased dramatically with the national racial justice uprising in the spring and summer. DSM SURJ helped remind folks that these issues aren’t new, but have been part of Des Moines’ history going back to redlining and beyond. DSM SURJ monitored legislative sessions and the progress of bills at the Iowa Capitol and informed the community about how to be astute observers of the legislative process, holding our elected officials accountable at every turn. DSM SURJ used social media to get the word out, urge folks to contact reps to enact or defend progressive change on many issues including ban the box and defending trans identity.

DSM SURJ’s last in-person meeting was March 1 and then it went virtual–but momentum only increased from there. DSM SURJ monitored City Council meetings and supported the passage of an anti-racial profiling ordinance. DSM SURJ promoted and donated to COVID-19 mutual aid groups. DSM SURJ protested, donated, and amplified Accountability Partner calls for justice for Ahmaud, Breonna, and George. DSM SURJ called on white residents to get off the couch and into the streets and be part of some of the biggest protests in Des Moines history at the Capitol, Sculpture Park, and Terrace Hill. DSM SURJ showed up to support Darquan Jones and his family after a racially-motivated assault, called out the racist “Zoom bomb” attacks on Des Moines City Council meetings, and supported local bail funds to assist protesters who were arrested and held at Polk County Jail. DSM SURJ led a letter-writing campaign to City Council, calling for police reform, transparency, and accountability end to racial disparities in arrests. DSM SURJ cheered the creation of Des Moines BLM and the Supply Hive and supported their daily work with donations and people power. DSM SURJ hosted a candidate forum to educate the public on candidate stances, beliefs on racial justice in central Iowa, and educated the public on the 2020 election and how to vote absentee. DSM SURJ volunteers supported donation drives for school children, people being deported, local families, and other groups in need. DSM SURJ Book Club met monthly to delve into texts dealing with racial justice.  

Thank you for being a part of our work during this tumultuous and difficult year, when shrinking back and giving up would have been easy. See you in 2021!

DSM SURJ Leadership Core
Alyssa Clayden
Kinsey Coppock
Cameron Gale
Carrie Gosnell
Janee Harvey
Petra Lange
Amy Luebbert
Chris Noth
Jean O’Donnell
Noah Beacom
Jane Robinette
Kathy Ferguson

Thank you for reading!

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

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