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We are meeting virtually using Zoom one time per month. Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook to get the most up to date information.

First Sunday Meetings

A small leadership team is responsible for facilitating the meeting agendas, reflecting on DSM SURJ’s vision and direction, and maintaining consistent communication within the chapter, and with National SURJ.  All SURJ participants are encouraged to communicate directly with the Leadership Core (LC) ( DSM SURJ seeks to function in a manner that is as collaborative, constructive and transparent as possible. Members of the Leadership Core take seriously our responsibility for enabling this kind of process.

SURJers are always invited to bring ideas, initiatives and questions to the first meeting of the month. At this meeting we grow our connections to one another, share progress on initiatives, and discuss issues of mutual concern. 

*Newcomers are always welcome at any DSM SURJ meeting. We are committed to having childcare available at every meeting as well (and, for those who are reluctant to leave their parents, kids are always welcome to stay in the larger meeting, too).

Work Groups 

The third Sunday meeting is a working meeting. At this meeting, nuts-and-bolts organizing on the various initiatives we are engaged in, attention to logistics, and other necessary planning will constitute the bulk of our meeting time. DSM SURJ currently has three active working groups:

Racial Justice Education Group: Many educators cite “parent pushback” as a reason they are nervous to work for anti-racism in schools. This is often code for powerful white parents whose opposition educators fear may cost them their jobs. We as white parents want to flip the script and push for anti-racism in schools. We want educators to know that we fully expect and demand an anti-racist education—for children of all racialized identities. In addition to creating space to support each other in raising white children to be anti-racist, our goal is to leverage our white privilege to push for explicitly anti-racist policies, curriculum, funding, hiring practices, representation, and other structural changes in Des Moines area public schools. We do this in alignment with and allegiance to communities of color who we know have been lobbying for these changes for generations.

Immigration Justice Group: Our accountability partner, American Friends Service Committee has asked us to help coordinate a visitor volunteer program for people detained by ICE at the Polk County Jail. We are working in collaboration with Iowans for Immigrant Freedom, based out of Iowa City, as they are already visiting folks being detained by ICE in Hardin and Linn County jails. The organization, Freedom for Immigrants, is the overarching organization that has provided tools and resources around this work.

Equity in Education Group: SURJ accountability partners have asked for our support in approval of recommendations that they’ve made to the State Board of Education. CORE and Al Éxito, both accountability partners, are preparing a presentation to the Board of Educational Examiners to reach objectives related to teacher training curriculum that supports pre-service and current teachers around equity, cultural responsive methods, and narrowing the achievement gap.

Book Club

Register for SURJ Book Club!

We are excited about our summer read! We’ve chosen a short story by Toni Morrison called “Recitatif.” Earlier this year the story (apparently the only short story she’s ever written!) was reissued as a stand-alone book, with an introduction by Zadie Smith. Morrison has described the story as “an experiment in the removal of all racial codes from a narrative about two characters of different races for whom racial identity is crucial.” We’ll meet to discuss at Storyhouse Bookpub in the East Village on Sunday, July 24 at 5pm. If you are planning to buy the book, please consider local DSM bookstore Storyhouse Bookpub (all proceeds go to one of our SURJ accountability partners).

Check out our recommendations for where to purchase and previous Book Club selections.

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