Back on April 11, this SURJ event drew an engaged audience for an important discussion. Thank you if you were among them! Special thanks to our panelists, William Frey, Gene McCracken, Michael McGuire, and Kristopher Rollins.
There were many takeaways, so we’ll just share a few that still resonate strongly several weeks later:
1) Social movements need men (especially white men) to step up and do their part–this is a coalition and everyone has a role to play. If you aren’t sure what your role is, ask others for advice, reflect, and figure out an answer to the question that makes sense for you.
2) While men are lacking in the ranks of social justice-related causes, they volunteer at a rate that is not significantly different from women overall. This means they can be activated IF…
3) …they are asked. That’s right. A lot of men might assume they have no role to play, or don’t know enough, or might offend someone, or might take someone else’s turn to speak. So they don’t show up. But if they are invited by someone they know and trust, some of those concerns can be dispelled.
4) Self-reflection is key. A man must reflect on his racial identity, his upbringing, memorable moments involving race he has experienced, and biases of which he may be aware. Self-reflection can lower mental barriers to participation by helping a person better define the limits of what they know and don’t know/understand. To that extent, the more we can help others engage in self-reflection, the better.
The end of this legislative session is just days away, and it has not gone well. We’re not going to rehash all of that here, as Kathie Obradovich has already done a fine job of it. Instead, at this moment we offer two things to refocus ourselves as we look out on the rest of 2021.
1) Rep. Ras Smith has been traveling the state and spoke strongly about the “huge disconnect” he sees between average Iowans and the agenda on Capitol Hill. As we have seen racial justice efforts stymied on the hill, so many other pressing issues have been ignored as well. There is reason for optimism that this disconnect can be a harbinger of electoral change. Stay positive and stay engaged!
2) As Sen. Sarah Trone-Garriott pointed out today, the high school students of CORE (Community of Racial Equity) are simply inspiring. They are standing up for equity, leading fearlessly and speaking eloquently on racial justice issues at their various schools and showing older folks what the future holds. Check out this write-up to learn more about CORE and SURJ’s own Petra Lange.
Friends, it’s basically May–yet another new month. You know what that means: a new featured Black-owned business for you to support!
Natasha Ratliff Real Estate
Owner: Natasha Ratliff, CRS, SRS, SFR
Address: 140 S. 68th St. # 1105, West Des Moines, IA 50266
Phones: Office (515) 489-4252, Cell (515) 943-0219
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Natasha Ratliff has been a licensed realtor serving the Des Moines Area real estate market for many years. A customer driven realtor dedicated to achieving results and providing exceptional service, Natasha specializes in representing her clients in the purchase and sale of multi-family and single-family residences, and income properties within. Whether you’re in the market to buy or sell a home, Natasha will put her many years of real estate expertise to work for you! She has worked with numerous buyers and sellers to fulfill their dream of home ownership. Regardless if you’re buying a $100,000 home or a $1,000,000 home, she’ll find a home you’ll LOVE!
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