DSM SURJ Newsletter and Action Alert, 6/4/2020

Welcome to all SURJ newcomers. We’re glad you’re here to show up for racial justice.

Actions to take this week and beyond

Drive up. Sign the letter. Hold DMPD accountable

Saturday, June 6. 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Drive to one of two locations to meet SURJ to sign pre-printed letters. We need 200 people to help make an impact with the Des Moines City Manager and City Councilors. Two teams of SURJ leaders will meet you with pre-printed letters! Any time during that three hour window, you’ll drive up, sign your name, take a selfie with your letter and a mailbox, post to your social media and drive away! All under 5 minutes!
*Open to Des Moines residents and metro allies.

Both locations have the same letter and a mailbox for premium selfies!

Location 1 – 24th and Ingersoll
Location 2 – Beaverdale Price Chopper, 1819 Beaver Ave (location may change, check here for details)

PPE will be worn by the SURJ leaders and you’re welcome to bring your own pen for writing! Please wear a mask.

We’ve written a letter with 3 asks for the City to hold the Des Moines Police Department accountable for. The impact of the City Manager receiving 200 letters in the mail will be huge! Help us make it happen.

1) Focus on diversifying ALL the ranks of DMPD through innovative, intentional strategies whose methods, success metrics and results are transparent. Did you know 80% of the sworn protective services in Des Moines is white male, with 10% white female. Fully 100% of the non-sworn services is white (meaning the chiefs and supervisors, etc).
2) Police officers should be required to give citizens their business cards at each and every stop.
3) In the case of a complaint against an officer, we ask that all evidence related to the complaint be shared verbatim with the City Manager, the City Attorney, and the Human Rights Director.


Today (Thursday 6/4): Write or call to restore voting rights to felons

1 in 13 adult Black Iowans are banned for life from voting due to convictions in a racist criminal justice system. Friday, the Iowa Senate will vote on HJR14, the constitutional amendment to restore the voting rights of people who have a past felony. The Judiciary Committee must pass HJR14 and then the full Senate must pass it in order for this amendment to move forward (it passed the House last year).

Who to contact:
Leadership of Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Brad Zaun
Senate Leadership Sen. Jack Whitver Sen. Charles Schneider
Your Senator, particularly if they are on the Judiciary Committee

These links will have an email template, but you are also encouraged to use your own words and stories. In all communications with legislators, please: Be brief. Use your own words. Be civil.

What to say:

Your own words on why everyone deserves the right to vote after they have paid their debt to society. But here’s some talking points:

Iowans take voting seriously and every citizen deserves to exercise the right to vote. A change in our state’s Constitution would allow more than 60,000 Iowans with past felonies to vote, just like everyone else can vote.

Voting Restoration would mean thousands of Iowans will more successfully reintegrate into society and become active citizens and invested participants in our communities and our state, which will also keep our communities safer.

77% of Iowans, including 70% of Republicans, support the restoration of voting rights for people with past felonies.

Iowa disenfranchisement law is unforgiving and provides no mercy. Iowans from all walks of life believe in second chances and our Constitution should reflect that.


Ask City Council to pass an anti-racial profiling bill

Monday June 8 4:30 PM. We fully support the anti-racial profiling ordinance sitting with the City Council and encourage all SURJ’rs to attend the Monday June 8th Council Meeting. https://www.dsm.city/government/council_meetings_and_agendas/index.php


Zoom intro party with SURJ

Saturday, June 13 1:00 pm -2:00 pm. To attend this event, you must register here. We will email you a link to join the meeting. We’re going to learn about the basics of SURJ, grow our relationships with one another, and learn about the larger strategies behind focusing on antiracism with white folks. This is a great first meeting for anyone interested in better understanding DSM SURJ!

Please don’t stop at following us on Facebook. Newcomers and long-time members, white folks and people of color, are invited to this introduction. You can RSVP and track this event on Facebook here.


Support Latinx families during the COVID crisis

Undocumented Iowans are not eligible for stimulus payment and other crisis assistance. Help your neighbors by donating to Al Exito, a Latino youth-development and leadership organization that is stepping up to help. Donate here: paypal.me/AlExitoINC or our website: https://www.alexitoiowa.org/donation

Al Éxito continues to deliver free groceries weekly to 21 families around the Des Moines metro who are food insecure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many families have lost their jobs and have limited access to support due to status. We are thankful to everyone who has donated to Al Éxito recently to help us further our mission and support marginalized communities in Iowa during this frightening time!

Al Éxito is conducting a needs assessment statewide of all our families and we are expecting to hear from more families that are in need.


Organize: The murder of Ahmaud Arbery

We are heartbroken by the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery. In response, we must act boldly against white supremacy in all its forms. At SURJ, we know that systems of white supremacy and other oppression rely on keeping white people and communities silent or actively opposed to movements for racial justice. We know our work is to break silence and organize more of our people into movements for racial justice and against white supremacy.

We must show up in solidarity with communities most targeted by white supremacy and do the work of organizing in majority white communities to end racist structures and policies.

Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael are now in jail and have been charged. Here are 4 ways to take further action:

1 Push for the resignation of District Attorneys George Barnhill and Jackie Johnson: sign this Color of Change petition, which highlights their gross negligence or call Jackie Johnson’s office at 912-554-7200 to make your voice heard.

2 Support Black-led and multiracial work led by people of color on the ground in Georgia to stop this legacy of violence and racism: Just Georgia, Georgia NAACP, Women on the Rise, Black Voters Matter, New Georgia Project, Southerners on New Ground, and the Southern Center for Human Rights.

3 Sign up to participate in SURJ’s outreach calls with white voters in Georgia next Thursday, May 21, 6pm Eastern. White voters voted Trump in, and we need to do our part to get him out.

4 Sign up to Collect Your Cousins. Get updates with tools on how to engage in local and national elections as an anti-racist activist, as well as tools about how to “call in your cousins” and engage with other white folks around anti-racism.


Donate now: Provide COVID-19 resources to Central Iowa refugee communities

Please consider a donation to the Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa (RACI).  Their mission is “To assure a welcoming community for refugees in which they have an equal opportunity to achieve individual growth and prosperity and to fully participate in civic and cultural life and to increase awareness of and access to services, resources and programs so that refugees receive the maximum benefit as they resettle and become participatory citizens in central Iowa.”

They need funds to make videos of updated public health COVID-19 information for non-English speaking and non-literate folks.  The cost is about $50 per video and there are many languages spoken by refugees in central Iowa.  There are no public health funds to support this work.

They do not have a way to donate online, so you will need to mail a check or contact them directly to ask how to donate:
Stephanie Moris, Director
1401 Center Street
Des Moines, IA 50314
Stephanie@RefugeeAllianceOfCentralIowa.org
515.344.1209


SURJ in-person meetings on hold – take action through these educational resources

Currently, SURJ is not meeting in person because of the need for bodily distancing. Keep social solidarity going by taking another step in your journey to better understand the immigrant detention system in the US. Then, take action!  During times of systemic shock like our current circumstances, corporate interests will use the opportunity to strengthen their power and profits. But we have an opportunity to work and advocate for systemic change in the immigration and incarceration systems.

Below is a list of things you can do. SURJ is working with the American Friends Service Committee, Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) and Iowans for Immigrant Freedom (IFIF), an organization based in eastern Iowa that has been working on visitations at the Linn and Hardin county jails. These groups organize to support people detained by ICE in the Polk County jail visitation program for persons detained by ICE. Will you support this work by educating yourself and taking action?

Education resources – choose one or more:

    1. Watch Brave New Films Immigrant Prison Series.
    2. Visit the immigrant rights page at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) website.
    3. Visit the Freedom for Immigrants website to learn about their work.  IFIF and DSM SURJ agree to their values and they provide resources to jail visitation programs and persons detained.
    4. Subscribe to IMM-Print, a publication by and for persons affected by immigrant detention.
    5. Read Detention-101 from the Detention Watch Network.
    6. Read the ACLU-Iowa letter to state agencies regarding the coronavirus crisis and it’s impact on prison populations including persons detained by ICE.
    7. Watch this segment from Democracy Now! On mutual aid to consider new ways of building resilient communities.
    8. Watch this segment from Common Dreams on how powerful interests such as corporations will use this pandemic to increase their power and how we can frame an alternative narrative.

Financial Support – local organizations need our support

    1. Support any of the organizations listed above by going to their donation link.
    2. Support local organizations provided support to persons detained and their families.

Advocacy: Take action

    1. Become part of ACLU-Iowa’s Rapid Response Team to get updates on state legislation related to immigrant rights that you can use to contact legislators.
    2. Freedom for Immigrants, Detention Watch Network, and AFSC all have national campaigns you can participate in.  Find these on their websites.  They provide drafts of letters and talking points.
    3. Reach out to your state legislators to advocate for immigrants in detention, particularly, as it relates to the issues outlined in the ACLU-Iowa letter.

Direct Action

    1. Join the DSM SURJ Immigrant Rights or Education working groups.  Contact dsmsurj@gmail.com for more information.
    2. Contact dsmsurj@gmail.com if you might be interested in being involved in the Jail Visitation program either as a visitor volunteer or as a member of our steering committee.
    3. Volunteer with Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a Des Moines based mutual aid group run by the Central Iowa Democratic Socialists.
    4. Volunteer with Community Support Des Moines, a bi-lingual (Spanish-English) mutual aid group.

DSM SURJ Newsletter, 8/3/19

SURJ Sunday:
Understanding our stories about race

August 4: Your Own Personal Rabbit Hole. Understanding our own stories about race, and talking about them to one another, is absolutely essential if we are to defeat racism in America. That cannot happen when our own families’ histories are unknown or rest on collective stories that ignore, deny, suppress or minimize the racial history and journey of our immigrant ancestors. By sharing what she continues to discover as she dives deeper into her own family history, Rhonda Chittenden will invite you to peer down your own personal rabbit hole of family history. This is an opportunity to grow in profound self-understanding as you connect your very life story to the visible and invisible dynamics of white supremacy alive in our communities, state and nation today Facilitated by Rhonda Calderon. Facebook invite here.

August 18Immigration Justice and Equity in Education working groups. This and ALL third Sundays of the month. Join us to build connection and deepen our commitment to equity in education and immigration justice in Des Moines. Why working groups? Two reasons: 1) We hear from the educational and immigration groups with which we are in relationships of accountability. 2) We set the stage for successful, long-term action as a group. This is your opportunity to plug in deeper with SURJ. Whether you’ve been to many SURJ meetings or this is your first one, you’re invited!

September 1: No Meeting, Happy Labor Day Weekend

September 15:  Immigration Justice and Equity in Education working groups. This and ALL third Sundays of the month. Join us to build connection and deepen our commitment to equity in education and immigration justice in Des Moines. Why working groups? Two reasons: 1) We hear from the educational and immigration groups with which we are in relationships of accountability. 2) We set the stage for successful, long-term action as a group. This is your opportunity to plug in deeper with SURJ. Whether you’ve been to many SURJ meetings or this is your first one, you’re invited!

Join us! Newcomers, returnees and longtime participants always welcome. DSM SURJ meetings are the first and third (working group) Sundays of each month, 6-8 pm at Drake University.  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.
Disrupting as an Accomplice: August 9

We are raising funds to support local immigrants with a goal of raising $1,000 at each film screening ($10 suggested donation at door, cash or check)! Help us reach this goal and support immigrants in Iowa – mark your calendar for all three dates. Free childcare available on site. Films begin at 7:00pm at Plymouth UCC Waveland Hall (4126 Ingersoll Ave, DM IA 50312). Discussion will follow the films with representatives from the fundraising organization on site.

SURJ has made a commitment to dig in deeper to our third pillar – Disrupting as an Accomplice. To this end, we are hosting a series of events this summer to raise awareness and funds for various partners: Iowa Sanctuary Movement, Al Exito, American Friends Service Committee and Justice for Our Neighbors. We need your help! Mark your calendar to attend one or all of these, commit to bringing a friend (or two) and share the events on Facebook.

Film Series: Changing the Immigration Narrative. A three-part series exploring immigration in the present and past. All three of these will be hosted at Plymouth (42nd and Ingersoll) the second Friday of the month at 7pm. Suggested donation $10 (cash or check, please).

Harvest of Empire – August 9 – Funds going to American Friends Service Committee https://www.facebook.com/events/349113415707684/

America First – The Legacy of an Immigration Raid – September 13 – Funds going to Justice for Our Neighbors. https://www.facebook.com/events/2753445354729643/

Newsletter on August hiatus except for urgent action updates. Next SURJ newsletter will be sent on September 7.

 

DSM SURJ Newsletter 6/29/19

How can I resond to the humanitarian immigrant crisis and anti-immigrant terror campaign? 

Whoever you are and whatever talents you have, your voice is needed. We are being called to action. This week’s events continued a campaign of state-sponsored terror against our immigrant neighbors and unthinkable tragedy at the border. We cannot turn away, but how to respond can be a challenge.

Click this link for a detailed list of immediate actions sent to us from the American Friends Service Committee (note: links in the file need to be copied and pasted – they are not live).

Donate this week to Al Exito in support of Latinx families who suffer right now from the terror campaign against immigrants and are responding with positivity and love. 

Respond by supporting national people of color-centered organizations recommended at this link

What does a response look like?
  1. Volunteer to help with a writing project. Capabilities: write (in English) well. Can work from wherever you are- not necessary to come into our office. Time frame: pretty urgent/ASAP.
  2. Fluent, bi-lingual (English/Spanish) volunteers to help with the hotline. Must be able to function well under pressure, must be sensitive to cultural needs, must be committed to confidentiality and tracking, must have access to a smart phone and relatively comfortable with technology. Can work from wherever you are. We’ll train you and bring you up to speed.
  3. Sponsors to provide food during our upcoming Organizing Academy. We need food for around 20 people for 5 sessions. Could you or your community help out? Starting July 30-Aug 27 (every Tuesday evening) in Des Moines.
  4. Volunteers to help with public education forming a speakers bureau with us. There is such a need (and desire) for information about the U.S. Immigration system we could use some help presenting to groups. We’ll prep you to present and point you in the right direction! Location: anywhere in Iowa.
  5. Volunteer to help put pressure on statewide and local news agencies. Communications professionals needed! Iowa’s media outlets have been reporting on the crisis at the border and Trumps threats but don’t seem to understand that there are local implications. Can you help us reach out?
SURJ July 7: DSM anti-racial profiling efforts 

July 7: Learn more about anti-racial profiling efforts in Des Moines. Harvey Harrison guest speaker.  Harvey will be providing a status report on the initial draft of the ordinance and any city council action; current racial profiling litigation and complaints, development of an anti-racial profiling website.  This is a great opportunity for you to get involved in SURJ direct action in support of a black-led effort against racial injustice in our community.   Learn the background at this link here.

July 21: Immigration Justice and Equity in Education working groups. This and ALL third Sundays of the month. Join us to build connection and deepen our commitment to equity in education and immigration justice in Des Moines. Why working groups? Two reasons: 1) We hear from the educational and immigration groups with which we are in relationships of accountability. 2) We set the stage for successful, long-term action as a group. This is your opportunity to plug in deeper with SURJ. Whether you’ve been to many SURJ meetings or this is your first one, you’re invited!

August 4: Your Own Personal Rabbit Hole. It takes vulnerability and daring to face how white supremacy has constructed the very reality of one’s own life. Dare to dive down your own personal rabbit hole with other white folks. What will you find and what might it mean for your growth as a white person committed to racial justice? Facilitated by Rhonda Calderon.

August 18Immigration Justice and Equity in Education working groups. This and ALL third Sundays of the month. Join us to build connection and deepen our commitment to equity in education and immigration justice in Des Moines. Why working groups? Two reasons: 1) We hear from the educational and immigration groups with which we are in relationships of accountability. 2) We set the stage for successful, long-term action as a group. This is your opportunity to plug in deeper with SURJ. Whether you’ve been to many SURJ meetings or this is your first one, you’re invited!

Join us! Newcomers, returnees and longtime participants always welcome. DSM SURJ meetings are the first and third (working group) Sundays of each month, 6-8 pm at Drake University.  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.

June 2019 Featured People of Color-Owned Businesses

Cortney Ewing Estates
Owner: Cortney Ewing
Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group Realtors, 2425 N. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny, IA
Phone: (515) 224-8609
Cell: (312) 718-4611
Email: cortney.ewing@cbdsm.com
Website: https://www.coldwellbanker.com/Coldwell-Banker-Mid_America-Group,-Realtors-7661c/Cortney-Ewing-7399141a?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=internal&utm_campaign=agent&utm_term=a7399141&referredByAgent=a7399141   (Enter Cortney Ewing Estates and you’ll find it!)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CortneyEwingEstates/

Cortney Ewing is a realtor specializing in first-time homebuyers. She’ll help you find grants to help with closing costs and down payments, and she works with trusted lenders to help ensure you can purchase the home of your dreams. Cortney serves both sellers and buyers, and she’ll be happy to put her skills to work to meet your needs.

Pyramid Theatre Company
Formed under the leadership of Ken-Matt Martin and Jiréh Breon Holder
Stoner Theater, Civic Center, 221 Walnut, Des Moines, IA
Website: http://pyramidtheatre.org/

Season continues through June. Productions this year include Too Heavy for Your Pocket, about the courageous journey of the Freedom Riders into the Deep South during the summer of 1961, and How I Learned What I Learned, a one-man show about playwright August Wilson. Pyramid Theatre Company’s mission is to provide a gateway to the arts for the Des Moines community by illuminating the presence of Black artists in the theatre canon and providing a means of artistic expression to emerging Black voices. We’ve highlighted this business in the past, but wanted to remind you that the new season is here.

Global Summer Soccer Program and Youth Connection Fair Volunteers Needed

Looking for a volunteer opportunity to build interracial and interethnic social capital? Here are two.

1. Genesis Youth Foundation is organizing the Global Summer Soccer Program (July 12 – August 3). Soccer brings cultures together! Sign up for a slot from 6-8 on Thursdays and Fridays and/or the final Saturday Future Fest. Invite friends to help out too! Organized by SURJ member Heather Brady.

Here is the link to the program: https://www.genesisyouthfoundation.org/summer-soccer
Sign up to volunteer here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0e4ca5a82ca5fa7-central

2. Genesis Future Fest. Saturday, August 3, 9:00 AM TO 12:00 PM. East High School, 815 E. 13TH ST, Des Moines.

Genesis Youth Foundation, in partnership with The Iowa Department of Human Rights, DMPS Community Education, and Kick It Forward, is proud to present Future Fest on August 3rd, 2019. Youth in grades 6 – 12 and recent high school grads are invited to connect with future employers, colleges, and community organizations and open their minds to the world of opportunities that are possible for their futures.

Sign up to volunteer: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0e4ca5a82ca5fa7-future

Webinar and Workbook: Angela Davis July 9 Online

July 9, 7:00 pm. We’re thrilled to invite you to SURJ’s conversation with Angela Davis on the fight for collective liberation. Across the country, SURJ members are working hard to bring new people into fights for justice – and we’re sure this conversation will provide inspiration and wisdom for the struggles we are engaged in across the country.

Register here to join the call July 9th at 8:00 EST. Then share the invitation on Facebook with family, friends and comrades.

White Supremacy and Me Workbook Layla F. Saad
https://www.meandwhitesupremacybook.com/
Part education, part activation, the Me And White Supremacy Workbook is a first-of-its-kind personal anti-racism tool for people holding white privilege to begin to examine and dismantle their complicity in the oppressive system of white supremacy.

 

Latinx Music Festival: Get Your Tickets Now for July

July 20, 2019 all day. Warren Morrow Music Festival.

The only festival that brings you a day of nothing but música Latina en Des Moines is back! Rock en español, bilingual hip hop, Spanish rap, salsa, y más.

Bring your chairs, cámaras, blankets and tacones para bailar and let’s rock downtown Latino style!

 More information on the Des Moines Warren Morrow Music Festival and Tickets here.

DSM SURJ Newsletter, 4/27/19

Upcoming SURJ Meetings 

Sunday, May 5th. Dialogue on cultural appropriation facilitated by ISU Sloss Center’s Equity and Social Justice Coordinator Janae Due. Please join us in dialogue as we explore this important topic.

Sunday, May 19Education working group. Come help us begin to plan our event Fun to Fund Equitable Schools (FunFES). If you hate the name, you better come on the 19th to help us change it ; ). We have made traction on CORE community liaison piece of things and have other projects to continue building. See you there.

Join us! Newcomers, returnees and longtime participants always welcome. DSM SURJ meetings are the first and third Sundays of each month, 6-8 pm at Drake University.  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.

 

Next stops on anti-racial profiling ordinance 

May 14 5:30 p.m. Planning meeting at CCI Office 2001 Forrest Ave– All are welcome – The Racial Justice Team will have a dual planning meeting to prepare for the City Council meeting on May 20th and to reach out to black clergy for their support.

May 20, 4:30 pm.   Des Moines City Council Meeting. 400 Robert Ray Drive. Support Des Moines youth and bring your kids! Three Hubbell Elementary School students did a project on racial profiling which includes drafting a petition and getting signatures from their fellow students, families and friends.  They will be presenting at the May 20th meeting.  Let’s pack the chambers – bring your kids!

June 17, 5:30 pm. CCI Racial Justice Team meeting. All are welcome.  Discussion will include debriefing on meeting with Black clergy; the November City Council elections and identifying potential challengers; meetings with individual city council members; next steps on the ordinance.

Please send the attached flyer to your networks.  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hWcRCdYBkUBMlG3SE0-wgsMUVjU9O1PB/view

Read more about the March meeting in this Des Moines Register article.
https://iowacci.ourpowerbase.net/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=33243&qid=4526559

 

April 2019 Economic Equity Business

SURJ connects with businesses owned by people of color and indigenous people to create awareness of these enterprises in our larger membership. Know a business we should support? Please email Kathy.

Fat Tuesday Cajun Restaurant / Catering
Owner: Steven James
6112 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315
Phone: (515) 285-3552
Hours: Monday thru Saturday 11 AM to 9 PM, Sunday 11 AM to 6 PM
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FatTuesdayRestaurant/
Menu: places.singleplatform.com
Order: grubhub.comseamless.com

Fat Tuesday has the best Cajun food around! For the last ten years, Des Moines has enjoyed this unassuming, Mardi Gras-themed spot, featuring Creole and Cajun cuisine & homey soul food, plus beer and wine and the best catfish in town. Catering services are also available. Check it out!

 

Support Artistic Expression of Racial Justice

May 6, 7:00 pm. Des Moines Diversity Chorus. Free concert. West Des Moines United Methodist Church, 8th and Grand in West Des Moines. The theme of the concert is Choose Love. Much of the music speaks to the work we’re doing around immigration and justice.

July 20, 2019 all day. Save the Date: Warren Morrow Music Festival. Artists announced! More information on the Des Moines Latinx Music Festival and Tickets here.

DSM SURJ Newsletter, 4/13/19

April 2019 Economic Equity Business

SURJ connects with businesses owned by people of color and indigenous people to create awareness of these enterprises in our larger membership. Know a business we should support? Please email Kathy.

Fat Tuesday Cajun Restaurant / Catering
Owner: Steven James
6112 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315
Phone: (515) 285-3552
Hours: Monday thru Saturday 11 AM to 9 PM, Sunday 11 AM to 6 PM
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FatTuesdayRestaurant/
Menu: places.singleplatform.com
Order: grubhub.comseamless.com

Fat Tuesday has the best Cajun food around! For the last ten years, Des Moines has enjoyed this unassuming, Mardi Gras-themed spot, featuring Creole and Cajun cuisine & homey soul food, plus beer and wine and the best catfish in town. Catering services are also available. Check it out!


Activities announced by accountability partner Iowa Commission on Latino Affairs

Wednesday, April 17 6:00 pm -8:00 pm. Latinx Forum. The Basement of the Social Club. 900 Mulberry St, Des Moines.

The Latinx Forum will consist of a moderated panel of 4 local Des Moines Latinx leaders who represent high school, college, young professionals, and working professionals.

The panel will be moderated by Sonia Reyes-Snyder, the Executive Officer of the Iowa Office of Latino Affairs and will consist of the following community leaders:

This forum will focus on telling the story of the Latinx community Des Moines through their own words, specifically the barriers, challenges, and opportunities facing this population, and to connect a local face to national issues facing the Latinx community. Facebook invite here.

Save the Date: Warren Morrow Music Festival on July 20, 2019. Artists announced just last week! More information on the Des Moines Latinx Music Festival and Tickets here.


Next stops on anti-racial profiling ordinance 

April 15, 5:30 pm.   Iowa CCI Racial Justice Team. Iowa CCI Office 2001 Forrest Ave.  Plan next steps for keeping this issue hot.  They need our support!  If you’d like to attend please RSVP to sharon@iowacci.org.

On March 25th more than 100 people attended the Des Moines City Council meeting to press the City Council on why there had been no report (as promised) in March in response to the anti-racial profiling ordinance proposed by the Iowa CCI Racial Justice team back in November 2018.  Speakers from CCI  spent an hour at the end of the meeting challenging the city to take their experiences of racial profiling seriously and to affirm that policy isn’t enough – laws are needed.  As a result of this pressure, the Mayor asked the city manager to revisit the proposals and to consider making them law.

Read more about the meeting in this Des Moines Register article.
https://iowacci.ourpowerbase.net/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=33243&qid=4526559


Upcoming SURJ Meetings 

Sunday, April 21st:  NEW EDUCATION ACTION & Immigration Action Group will meet. Newcomers welcome.

Education Action 4/21: Move the needle on racial justice in Des Moines Public Schools

The Racial Justice in Education Group met on March 17 and we began plotting several initiatives relative to Des Moines Public schools. Our mission: To work on issues identified by students of color as urgent within school building. Over the next few months, we build an advocacy network to grow community partnerships with CORE students in DMPS. You are needed – support this youth-led vision for equity and justice. If you want to join the group but can’t make the next meeting please reach out to dsmsurj@gmail.com.

Immigration Action Group: Support asylum seekers with DSM SURJ Immigration Action Group

Immigration Action Group. The Immigration Action Group met on March 17 where we heard from Mike and Karen Lauer about their experience sponsoring two young women from Central America seeking asylum in the US.  The focus of our work over the next few months will be raising money for legal fees and work permits for asylum seekers Danna and Karla. If you want to join the group but can’t make the next meeting please reach out to dsmsurj@gmail.com using this link.

Newcomers, returnees and longtime participants always welcome. DSM SURJ meetings are the first and third Sundays of each month, 6-8 pm at Drake University.  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.

Sunday, May 5th. Dialogue on cultural appropriation facilitated by ISU Sloss Center’s Equity and Social Justice Coordinator Janae Due. Please join us in dialogue as we explore this important topic.

DSM SURJ Newsletter, 4/6/19

SURJ Tomorrow:
Write a letter to the editor or an op-ed piece – we’ll teach you how.
New information on April 21 EDUCATION and IMMIGRATION working groups.
Update on anti-racial profiling activism in the DSM Metro. Accountability group Iowa Commission on Latino Affairs events.
Save the date for summer Warren Morrow Music Festival.

Upcoming SURJ Meetings 
Sunday, April 7th: Get ready for the April 7th meeting starting now. Op-Ed writing workshop with Craig Owens. You have an important voice to build an anti-racist city and nation.  Please brainstorm before April 7:

1) some ideas about topics you might want to see an op-ed about (see idea at the end of this newsletter);
2) the large point you want the op-ed to make (the “takeaway”);
3) a couple of specific actions you want readers to take action on about the takeaway large point

At the meeting, Drake University English Professor Craig Owens will lead us through a group process of talking about what we’ll write about.  Then, we will draft our letters together. Change the public narrative around racial justice. Don’t miss this special event.

If you have access to a laptop computer please bring it! As always, parking is available in the Olmsted Center Parking Lot located at 2875 University Avenue.

Sunday, April 21st: No formal meeting (Easter); NEW EDUCATION ACTION & Immigration Action Group meet.

Education Action 4/21: Move the needle on racial justice in Des Moines Public Schools

The Racial Justice in Education Group met on March 17 and we began plotting several initiatives relative to Des Moines Public schools. Our mission: To work on issues identified by students of color as urgent within school building. Over the next few months, we build an advocacy network to grow community partnerships with CORE students in DMPS. You are needed – support this youth-led vision for equity and justice. If you want to join the group but can’t make the next meeting please reach out to dsmsurj@gmail.com.

Immigration Action Group: Support asylum seekers with DSM SURJ Immigration Action Group

Immigration Action Group. The Immigration Action Group met on March 17 where we heard from Mike and Karen Lauer about their experience sponsoring two young women from Central America seeking asylum in the US.  The focus of our work over the next few months will be raising money for legal fees and work permits for asylum seekers Danna and Karla. If you want to join the group but can’t make the next meeting please reach out to dsmsurj@gmail.com using this link.

Newcomers, returnees and longtime participants always welcome. DSM SURJ meetings are the first and third Sundays of each month, 6-8 pm at Drake University.  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.  Activities announced by accountability partner Iowa Commission on Latino Affairs

Corrected date! April 15th at 5:30 pm. CCI Offices, 2001 Forest Ave. Iowa CCI Racial Justice Team. Plan next steps for keeping this issue hot. They need our support! If you’d like to attend please RSVP to sharon@iowacci.org.

On March 25th more than 100 people attended the Des Moines City Council meeting to press the City Council on why there had been no report (as promised) in March in response to the anti-racial profiling ordinance proposed by the Iowa CCI Racial Justice team back in November 2018. Speakers from CCI spent an hour at the end of the meeting challenging the city to take their experiences of racial profiling seriously and to affirm that policy isn’t enough – laws are needed. As a result of this pressure, the Mayor asked the city manager to revisit the proposals and to consider making them law.

Read more about the meeting in this Des Moines Register article.
https://iowacci.ourpowerbase.net/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=33243&qid=4526559

You can give support by writing a letter to the editor.

Wednesday April 17 6:00 pm -8:00 pm. Latinx Forum. The Basement of the Social Club.

The Latinx Forum will consist of a moderated panel of 4 local Des Moines Latinx leaders who represent high school, college, young professionals, and working professionals.

The panel will be moderated by Sonia Reyes-Snyder, the Executive Officer of the Iowa Office of Latino Affairs and will consist of the following community leaders:

This forum will focus on telling the story of the Latinx community Des Moines through their own words, specifically the barriers, challenges, and opportunities facing this population, and to connect a local face to national issues facing the Latinx community.

Save the Date: Warren Morrow Music Festival on July 20, 2019. More information on the Des Moines Latinx Music Festival and Tickets here.

DSM SURJ Newsletter, 3/9/19

This week: Write letters and postcards to City Council Officials

At our last meeting Joshua Barr, Director of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission, joined us to request that our membership write the Des Moines Mayor, City Manager, and City Council in support of the Bridging the Gap recommendations.  You don’t have to be a resident to support these recommendations.  Mr. Barr encouraged letters and postcards but emails will also suffice.  The mailing address for all letter is Name, City Hall, 400 Robert Ray Dr, Des Moines, IA, 50309.  Email addresses and phone numbers can be found here.  Please get your letters sent by March 22nd.  The council will begin voting on these at the March 25th City Council meeting.

Related post – Get Informed and Take Action: A Deep Dive into Des Moines’ Bridging the Gap Campaign

The campaign to build momentum to address racial disparity in Des Moines needs you!  Identified priorities include “Stable Housing – Stable Communities”; “Ladder Up – Create Economic Opportunities”; and “Mandatory Training for First Responders”.  The Des Moines Civic & Human Rights Commission drafted specific recommendations which the Mayor and City Council supported. The City Manager was directed to report back at the March 25, 2019 city council meeting. Learn details at this link. (Thanks to Jean ODonnell for providing these important details and course of action!)

If you are a resident of Des Moines we encourage you to attend these City Council meetings to hold our elected officials accountable. Attend the Commission’s annual Human Rights Symposium on March 20th.  The amazing high school students from C.O.R.E. for Advancement are leading the Future Progress track, for-youth-by-youth sessions that explore the current ways our youth are leading the charge to a better future.  Click on the link for all the details.

Anti-Racial Profiling–City of Des Moines

Attendees from a broad coalition met on February 16 to prepare for upcoming dialogues with city officials to advocate for passing the anti-racial profiling ordinance presented to City Council in November 2018. If you have questions about the ordinance or want to be actively engaged in this work please contact Harvey Harrison by email:  harvey@dwx.com or submit this Iowa CCI Racial Justice Team Volunteer Form. Learn more here.


Upcoming SURJ Meetings

Newcomers, returnees and longtime participants always welcome. DSM SURJ meetings are the first and third Sundays of each month, 6-8 pm at Drake University.  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.

Sunday, March 17th: Working Groups night, come help map the upcoming campaign to challenge discrimination in education and support asylum seekers in Des Moines. Taking Action Together on Education (We continue to build our 2019 action plan to resist discrimination in education in Des Moines. We’re engaging and responding to demands and needs identified by C.O.R.E. and Al Exito and we need all of us to pitch and help!)

Sunday, April 7th: Op-Ed writing workshop with Craig Owens.You have an important voice to build an anti-racist city and nation.  We ask for a bit of prep before Sunday night.  Brainstorm for Sunday:

1) some ideas about topics you might want to see an op-ed about;
2) the large point you want the op-ed to make (the “takeaway”);
3) a couple of specific actions you want readers to take action on about the takeaway large point

At the meeting, Drake University English Professor Craig Owens will lead us through a group process of talking about what we’ll write about.  Then, we will draft our letters together. Change the public narrative around racial justice. Don’t miss this special event.

If you have access to a laptop computer please bring it! As always, parking is available in the Olmsted Center Parking Lot located at 2875 University Avenue.

Sunday, April 21st: No formal meeting (Easter); working groups may decide to meet informally with those who can still attend.


Local Racial Justice Events

Tuesday, March 19. 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Documentary Showing: The Feminist on Cellblock Y. At the State Historical Society of Iowa.  In the documentary, a convicted felon builds a feminist movement from behind bars at an all-male prison in Soledad, California. The star of the film, Richard Edmond Vargas–the keynote speaker of the 2019 Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Symposium on March 20–will answer questions after the showing. Hosted by OpportUNITY DSM, Central Iowa Works, and Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission. Details at this facebook event.

DSM SURJ Newsletter 2/23/19

CCI Racial Profiling Report & Action this Week
Attendees from a broad coalition met on February 16 to prepare for upcoming dialogues with city officials to advocate for passing the anti-racial profiling ordinance presented to City Council in November 2018. If you have questions about the ordinance or want to be actively engaged in this work please contact Harvey Harrison by email:  harvey@dwx.com or submit this Iowa CCI Racial Justice Team Volunteer Form. Learn more here.

This week’s action: Anti-Racial Profiling bill, SSB1038, has passed out of subcommittee and will be voted on in the Judiciary Committee probably next week.  Please contact the leadership of the committee and your Senator to urge them to move the bill on.

Get Informed and Take Action: A Deep Dive into Des Moines’ Bridging the Gap Campaign
The campaign to build momentum to address racial disparity in Des Moines needs you!  Identified priorities include “Stable Housing – Stable Communities”; “Ladder Up – Create Economic Opportunities”; and “Mandatory Training for First Responders”.  The Des Moines Civic & Human Rights Commission drafted specific recommendations which the Mayor and City Council supported. The City Manager was directed to report back at the March 25, 2019 city council meeting. Learn details at this link. (Thanks to Jean ODonnell for providing these important details and course of action!)

If you are a resident of Des Moines we encourage you to attend these City Council meetings to hold our elected officials accountable. Attend the Commission’s annual Human Rights Symposium on March 20th.  The amazing high school students from C.O.R.E. for Advancement are leading the Future Progress track, for-youth-by-youth sessions that explore the current ways our youth are leading the charge to a better future.  Click on the link for all the details.

SURJ Bookclub is back!
Saturday, March 2, 2019. 10:00 am. Join us in reading “White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism” by Robin DiAngelo. Here’s the most awesome part: DiAngelo will be speaking at ISU on Feb 26th at 7pm. If you’re interested in carpooling, check in in the discussion to the Facebook event, linked here. Ritual Cafe.  Join Erin & Petra for a great facilitated discussion of the book and lecture. You are welcome to join for the discussion whether or not you’ve read the book. We hope to see you there.

 

Future SURJ Meetings:

Sunday, March 3rd: Op-Ed Workshop/Writing. Talking about legislative action against bill to dismantle voluntary diversity plan.

Sunday, March 17th: Taking Action Together on Education (We continue to build our 2019 action plan to resist discrimination in education in Des Moines. We’re engaging and responding to demands and needs identified by C.O.R.E. and Al Exito and we need all of us to pitch and help!)

Sunday, April 7th: What’s White Identity Got to Do With It? (Join us as we explore the ways that people are socialized and racialized as “white” impact the ways we show up to racial justice work. Whatever your racial/ethnic identity, all are welcome to dig deeper into how understanding the racial identity of white people can help us design strategies and practices for anti-racist growth.)

Sunday, April 21st: Taking Action Together (We continue to build our 2019 action plan on discrimination in education. We’ll also pick up the working group focus for a second major SURJ initiative for 2019. We’re engaging and responding to demands and needs identified by our accountability partners and need all of us to pitch in!)

Newcomers, returnees and longtime participants always welcome. DSM SURJ meetings are the first and third Sundays of each month, 6-8 pm at Drake University.  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.

 

Racial Justice Events

Wednesday, March 6. 8:00am-11:30 am. Understanding Cultural and Racial Trauma. Science Center of Iowa. Explore the basis of historical and cultural trauma. Learn how it impacts the willingness of ethnic communities and people of color to seek help for a variety of mental health challenges. Keisha Ross, PhD, will engage participants in a session outlining coping mechanisms and cultural considerations for serving communities impacted by trauma. This session will build connections and grow alliances for mental health access and advocacy, with a focus on bridging faith and mental health circles. Tickets and details here.

DSM SURJ Newsletter, 2/13/19

This is SURJ! Potluck SUNDAY

Sending this week’s newsletter a few days early to remind you that you’re invited:

Sunday, February 17: Newcomer and “already-comer” potluck
Join us to connect for the first time or deepen your connection to DSM SURJ’s 2019 initiatives. We’ll share food, introduce the working principles of SURJ and determine together the larger initiatives that will shape our local SURJ work in 2019. Don’t miss this chance to fellowship together and shape SURJ’s focus for this new year. Bring a dish to share and a friend (or three)!! Facebook event linked here.

Future SURJ Meetings:
Sunday, March 3rd: Op-Ed Workshop/Writing
Talking about legislative action against bill to dismantle voluntary diversity plan.

Sunday, March 17th: Taking Action Together on Education
(Tonight we continue to build our 2019 action plan to resist discrimination in education in Des Moines. We’re engaging and responding to demands and needs identified by C.O.R.E. and Al Exito and we need all of us to pitch and help!)

Sunday, April 7th: What’s White Identity Got to Do With It?
(Join us as we explore the ways that people are socialized and racialized as “white” impact the ways we show up to racial justice work! Whatever your racial/ethnic identity, all are welcome to dig deeper into how understanding the racial identity of white people can help us design strategies and practices for anti-racist growth.)

Sunday, April 21st: Taking Action Together
(Tonight we continue to build our 2019 action plan on discrimination in education. We’ll also pick up the working group focus for a second major SURJ initiative for 2019—to be announced after 2/17 Potluck. We’re engaging and responding to demands and needs identified by our accountability partners and need all of us to pitch in!)

Newcomers, returnees and longtime participants always welcome. DSM SURJ meetings are the first and third Sundays of each month, 6-8 pm at Drake University.  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.

SURJ Bookclub is back!
Saturday, March 2, 2019. 10:00 am
. Join us in reading White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism, by Robin DiAngelo.  Ritual Cafe.  (Here’s the most awesome part: DiAngelo will be speaking at ISU on Feb 26th at 7pm. If you’re interested in carpooling, check in in the discussion to the Facebook event, linked here.)  Join Erin & Petra for a great facilitated discussion of the book and lecture. You are welcome to join for the discussion whether or not you’ve read the book. We hope to see you there.

Tool for locating minority-owned businesses — Iowa’s Targeted Small Business Directory
The Iowa Business Development department operates the Targeted Small Business Program, designed to help women, individuals with minority status, service-connected disabled veterans, and individuals with disabilities overcome some of the hurdles to start or grow a small business in Iowa. You can use the program’s directory to find local businesses owned by minorities. For Polk County, there are several pages of results. Need to have a video produced? Try TeamStrong, Inc.  Need new windows? Check out Titan Roofing and Exteriors, Inc.  Have a need for someone to translate Spanish? Spanish Communications Services can help. How about printing services? Iowa Urban Media provides them. Landscaping, child care, IT services, and so much more can be found in this directory. When you have a specific need, we invite you to check out the Targeted Small Business Directory and help support a small business operated by someone with minority status.  Here’s how you do it:

  • First, go to this page: https://iowaeda.microsoftcrmportals.com/tsb-search/.
  • From the TSB Type drop-down, select Minority.
  • If you’re looking for a particular type of business, you can choose from the Product/Service Category choices, which include just about anything you can think of.
  • To narrow your search to your local area, you can enter a city name or zip code, or you can select a county from a drop-down.
  • Click Search, and you get a list of all the businesses that meet your criteria.
  • Clicking on your choice takes you to more detail about the business, including ownership and contact information. (We encourage you to use this information to ensure that the business is still in operation and at the same location.)

CCI Racial Profiling Event Reschedule
Saturday, February 16, 2019. 10:30 AM to noon.  CCI Workshop on Racial Profiling. Review and discuss the CCI initiative to end racial profiling by the Des Moines Police Department. This workshop was originally scheduled for January 19th. Doors open at 10:00 AM. Franklin Avenue library 5000 Franklin Ave.  Des Moines 50310. Space is limited (first 100) so please RSVP if able to attend. Reply to:  harvey@dwx.comThe workshop is free.  Please invite people that you think are interested in this issue. Thank you for your continuing interest in this important initiative.

Racial Justice Events
Tuesday, February 26. 7:00 pm. Robin DiAngelo is coming in February to talk about White Fragility. ISU Great Hall Memorial Union.  More information here.

Wednesday, March 6. 8:00am-11:30 am. Understanding Cultural and Racial Trauma. Science Center of Iowa. Explore the basis of historical and cultural trauma. Learn how it impacts the willingness of ethnic communities and people of color to seek help for a variety of mental health challenges. Keisha Ross, PhD, will engage participants in a session outlining coping mechanisms and cultural considerations for serving communities impacted by trauma. This session will build connections and grow alliances for mental health access and advocacy, with a focus on bridging faith and mental health circles. Tickets and details here.

No newsletter Saturday. Next newsletter Saturday, February 23.

DSM SURJ Newsletter 2/9/19

Tool for locating minority-owned businesses – Iowa’s Targeted Small Business Directory

The Iowa Business Development department operates the Targeted Small Business Program, designed to help women, individuals with minority status, service-connected disabled veterans, and individuals with disabilities overcome some of the hurdles to start or grow a small business in Iowa. You can use the program’s directory to find local businesses owned by minorities. For Polk County, there are several pages of results. Need to have a video produced? Try TeamStrong, Inc.  Need new windows? Check out Titan Roofing and Exteriors, Inc.  Have a need for someone to translate Spanish? Spanish Communications Services can help. How about printing services? Iowa Urban Media provides them. Landscaping, child care, IT services, and so much more can be found in this directory. When you have a specific need, we invite you to check out the Targeted Small Business Directory and help support a small business operated by someone with minority status.  Here’s how you do it:

  • First, go to this page: https://iowaeda.microsoftcrmportals.com/tsb-search/.
  • From the TSB Type drop-down, select Minority.
  • If you’re looking for a particular type of business, you can choose from the Product/Service Category choices, which include just about anything you can think of.
  • To narrow your search to your local area, you can enter a city name or zip code, or you can select a county from a drop-down.
  • Click Search, and you get a list of all the businesses that meet your criteria.
  • Clicking on your choice takes you to more detail about the business, including ownership and contact information. (We encourage you to use this information to ensure that the business is still in operation and at the same location.)

CCI Racial Profiling Event Reschedule 

Saturday, February 16, 2019. 10:30 AM to noon.  CCI Workshop on Racial Profiling. Review and discuss the CCI initiative to end racial profiling by the Des Moines Police Department. This workshop was originally scheduled for January 19th. Doors open at 10:00 AM. Franklin Avenue library 5000 Franklin Ave.  Des Moines 50310. Space is limited (first 100) so please RSVP if able to attend. Reply to:  harvey@dwx.comThe workshop is free.  Please invite people that you think are interested in this issue. Thank you for your continuing interest in this important initiative.

Racial Justice Events

Tuesday, February 12. 6:30-8:00 PM.  Getting Here: Exploring Newcomer Arrival to West Des Moines.  West Des Moines Community Education. Kid Friendly. Where did you come from? How did Iowa become your family’s home? In this workshop, we will explore the many reasons why people from all over the world have moved to our Greater WDM community. Through an interactive simulation activity, we will wrestle with the many difficult choices families must make as they journey towards a better life. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss with guest speakers and learn that although each person’s journey is unique, many newcomers face similar challenges along the way.  Register now to join: http://bit.ly/pq_w19_gettinghere.

Tuesday, February 26. 7:00 pm. Robin DiAngelo is coming in February to talk about White Fragility. ISU Great Hall Memorial Union.  More information here.

Wednesday, March 6. 8:00am-11:30 am. Understanding Cultural and Racial Trauma. Science Center of Iowa. Explore the basis of historical and cultural trauma. Learn how it impacts the willingness of ethnic communities and people of color to seek help for a variety of mental health challenges. Keisha Ross, PhD, will engage participants in a session outlining coping mechanisms and cultural considerations for serving communities impacted by trauma. This session will build connections and grow alliances for mental health access and advocacy, with a focus on bridging faith and mental health circles. Tickets and details here.

Upcoming SURJ meetings on February 17, March 3, and March 17. More information soon!