This week: Meeting tomorrow and support November featured non-white owned businesses. Help get out the vote with the NAACP.
This month: speak up against racial profiling and support Iowa DACA and asylum seekers.
DSM SURJ November meetings are at our regular location. Meetings the first and third Sundays of each month, 6-8 pm at Drake University. Newcomers welcome at all meetings! Childcare provided. All meetings held at Medbury Honors Lounge at Drake University at 6:00 pm. Park in the Olmsted Center Parking Lot located at 2875 University Avenue. November meeting dates: November 4 & November 18.
November 4, TOMORROW SUNDAY: Navigating white fragility. Conversations around race often lead to discomfort for white folks that manifest in a variety of ways: tears, anger, defensiveness, and leaving the conversation. Join us to discuss ways to navigate white fragility in order to keep our commitments to racial justice growing.
Next meeting November 18.
November featured non-white owned businesses. DSM SURJ has an ongoing project to feature metro area businesses owned by people of color. We use our large network (that’s YOU) to thoughtfully support non-white owned businesses in Des Moines. This strategy has been used in many cities to redirect resources to build economic equity and combat the barriers businesses face due to racism. The Local Racial Justice group of DSM SURJ highlights 4 businesses each month. If you have a business you would like to nominate for the spotlight, please forward the information.
Please make efforts to support these businesses! A SURJ member has had direct communication with each of these businesses owners and they are excited to be highlighted by the Des Moines chapter.
Owners: Keith McKay and Bill Kearby
Location: 122 South Ankeny Boulevard, Ankeny, IA 50023
Phone: Call (515) 963-9522
Ankeny Dry Cleaners
Ankeny Dry Cleaners has been in business for more than 20 years and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Ankeny Cleaners provides not only regular laundry and dry cleaning services, but also tailoring and leather cleaning. This full-service dry cleaner offers free pickup and delivery.
Original modern Africanfashionn
Owners: Claire and Webster Kranto
Location: Southridge Mall (1111 East Army Post Road, inside the mall on the northwest side next to H&R Block)
Phone: Call (515) 360-7840
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Open by appointment (Call or text 515-360-7840)
Ark-Vayo aims to be the face of modern African fashion. Co-owner Claire Kranto, who studied fashion design at Iowa State University, designs the shop’s bold and colorful suit jackets, dresses, pants, shirts and other items for women, men and children. Everyone can wear this trendy, fashion-forward clothing that is very modern. Many of the items are handmade in Ghana and Malawi from 100 percent cotton. The tailors are paid wages that help them send their children to school and grow their businesses. At its core, the company is focused on sustainability, buying ethically and locally, and giving special attention to the impact of each purchase. Three percent of all sales are donated to Liberia and U.S. charities.
Opportunities to support Iowa Sanctuary Movement
The Iowa Sanctuary Movement (ISM), is sponsoring two families in Des Moines currently seeking asylum. The two mothers and their children will need assistance with rent, utilities, food, clothing, and all living expenses. They are not yet allowed to apply for a work permit. There will be many ways to help these families, but financial support is paramount. For more information, contact Lynne Howard, email@example.com .
Donations for the families by check should be made out to: First Unitarian Church, with ISM asylum support in the memo line. (Send to First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, 1800 Bell Ave, Des Moines, IA 50315). Donations can also be made electronically on the church website. Link here.
Defend DACA. American Friends Service Committee Iowa now has a fund to support DACA recipients who need to renew their status and work permit. You can donate via check made out to First Unitarian with “DACA support” in the memo line, or online link here.
DACA recipients must pay $495 to renew their DACA status and work permits every two years. AFSC often gets calls from DACA clients who need to renew, but don’t have the money to do so. Many other states have scholarship programs to help cover this cost, but until now, Iowa has not had any such program or fund available. Contact Jody Mashek, AFSC Iowa Legal Services Director, with any questions: 515-274-4851.
Call to action: City council resolution against racial profiling.
Join the campaign this month to ask Des Moines City Council to pass an Anti-Racial Profiling Ordinance. This ordinance is being drafted by CCI and will be submitted for discussion at their November 19th meeting. Can you commit to one of the following?
Phone call or email: Contact the Mayor, your City Council member and both At-Large members to ask for their support for the ordinance and/or your concerns about racial profiling by the DMPD. The Iowa CCI Racial Justice team has created a set of talking points to use for calls/emails and for your convenience.
Invite your network to do the same. Share this call to action on social media. In order for this ordinance to pass the council needs to know this has broad support within the community, especially white folks. If you know any “influencers” in the Des Moines community, please ask them to reach out to the Des Moines City Council.
Write a letter to the editor in support of the ordinance or about the problem of racial profiling in our communities. Here’s where to send it. Here are talking points from CCI for letters to the editor. Also, the notes from our October 7th meeting on writing LTEs and Op-ed’s are available. These are a great resource and would also provide helpful tips if you plan to write an email to the city council.
Atend the November 19th city council meeting to show your support. Please let DSMSURJ@gmail.com know before November 15 if you are committed to attending the Nov 19th city council meeting or if you have questions about emails or letters to the editor.
While the final draft of the ordinance is not complete, it would include provisions such as: banning racial profiling and pretextual stops; mandating annual and publicly available data on stops; creating a citizen review board of the DMPD; mandating implicit bias and de-escalation training; removing the felony charge from possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Stay tuned for updates regarding this ongoing work.
Accountability partner events:
November 3 & 4: SURJ is assisting the NAACP of Des Moines in helping people of color exercise their right to vote. Here’s info from the DM Register article posted on this page 10.14.18: “Volunteers can sign up for shifts on Oct. 13, Nov. 3 and Nov. 4. More information and sign-ups can be found here: https://form.jotform.com/82685382179167.”
SUNDAY, November 4 12:30 pm. SPECIAL FILM SHOWING on Peace and Justice Summit by Rev. Dr. William Barber. Sponsored by Des Moines ARC. Location: First Unitarian Church Des Moines. This is a video and discussion of Reverend Dr. William Barber’s talk at the Peace and Justice Summit in Montgomery, AL in April. Rev. Barber identifies our current moral crises as policy violence against black, brown, and white Americans. He ties our current crises to the past and to each other as interlocking injustices. This is the voice, wisdom, and insight we do not hear from either political party. Come hear Rev. Barber name the issues and lead us into “a movement of people coming together to change the narrative of the nation.” Discussion follows the film. *ARC is the Anti-Racism Collaborative of Des Moines.
WEDNESDAY, November 14, 11am-1pm. 2nd Annual Al Éxito Mary Campos Scholarship Luncheon. Location: Christ the King Catholic Church (location map). Prepare to be inspired with amazing stories. Join Al Éxito at this fundraiser for scholarships for Latinx youth. Undocumented youth are not eligible for state or federal financial aid. This scholarship fills the gap and supports the next generation of Iowa leaders. Learn more about their stories here. Purchase ticket here or by mail ($50; checks can be written to Al Éxito MEC Scholarship. PO Box 93531, Des Moines, IA 50393). Can’t make the banquet? Donate directly here.
Keeping our SURJ meetings accessible for all families means making sure we have volunteers who will watch and play with young ones during meetings. Can you volunteer for an evening? (You don’t have to be a parent and we’ll provide the coloring books!). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with an upcoming meeting that you’re willing to volunteer at or be an on-call sub.