Education and Outreach

The Commission continued its active education and outreach program through the year. While one staff member coordinates the educational efforts, many staff members participate in fulfilling requests for speakers and presentors. Commission staff made presentations at 203 events, including workshops, seminars, classes, and other training sessions. This number compares with 92 done in the previous fiscal year.

During the year, staff responded to 3,859 calls requesting information on civil rights or related topics. These calls come from the employees, employers, landlords, tenants, advocacy groups, attorneys, media and advertisers, students, and the general public. (This number of calls does not include intake calls or individual case-related calls.) If staff cannot provide the information being sought, appropriate referrals are made whenever possible.

Over 23,700 pieces of educational materials were sent to the general public. This included two issues of the the newsletter, The Communicator, the Annual Report, Case Reports, brochures on a variety of topics, Factsheets, and EEO and housing posters. FactSheets, concise one-page summaries of information on specific topics, were developed to replace several brochures. 'Me FactSheets can be produced on our computer software, can be revised as necessary, and can be quickly and economically reproduced.

The Commission made increased use of press releases to keep the media and the public informed of new developments. Several newspaper feature stories were generated as a result of initial contacts through a press release. This is a method in which the Commission can be pro-active in spreading the "good news" of our accomplishments. Press releases also inform the public of all Commission meetings, and of final decisions to be considered at these meetings.

The video library continued to expand with new titles, such as Bob's Ms. Adventure, Healing the Rainbow, Behind the Mask, and Now Serving Every Customer. Staff members use the videos in presentations, and the videos are available for loan. In FY94, 128 loan requests were fulfilled.

Staff member Frank Tribble developed "Celebrafing Diversity" programs for use in the middle schools and high schools to increase stodents' awareness of and sensitivity to cultural diversity. He has presented the program to many schools around the state, and continues to be available upon request.

The Commission also assisted with "Leaming to Live Together: The Unfinished Task," a photographic exhibit and series of seminars in Des Moines. The exhibit was sponsored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and was funded by contributions from local corporations and advocacy groups.

Two parts of the photographic exhibit consisted of "Europe Today: the Ugly Face of Nationalism" and "What About Today? Nazism, Anti-Sentitism, Racism and Discrimination in Europe and the United States." These exhibits were produced by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. A companion exhibit entitled "Leaming to Live Together: The Unfinished Task" was created by the Des Moines Register to showcase local issues of inter-goup tension and diversity. Concurrent workshops and lectures on this theme were developed by local agencies and advocacy groups, including the Commission.

1994 Annual Report Main Page