During Fiscal Year 1996, the ICRC allocated more resources than ever before to public education programs. .
ICRC staff conducted 276 workshops, reaching audiences totaling 9,459 persons, plus an unknown number reached by television and radio events. Two staffers continued to concentrate on programs for schools and youth groups.
Staff responded to an estimated 4,419 telephone calls requesting information on civil rights law or related topics. (This number does not include intake calls or individual case-related calls.)
The Fair Housing Guide was revised in 1996 to reflect the latest information on fair housing laws. The brochure describing our agency's work was also revised, and a new brochure describing our education and outreach services was printed. Over 31,300 items of printed material were distributed, including the Annual Report, Case Reports, The Communicator newsletter, Team Diversity newsletter, brochures and factsheets on a variety of topics, EEO and fair housing posters.
The agency's video lending library has continued to be a valuable resource. The library contains more than 40 titles on civil rights and diversity related topics that are available for loan to employers, housing providers, other civil rights agencies, other state agencies, schools and advocacy groups. Most of these videos are titles that are not available through general library collections. During fiscal year 1996, there were 214 requests for videos, up from 118 in the previous year.
An exciting event was the production of an agency video, "A Mission of Teaching: A Vision of Respect." The 10-minute video describes the four ways that the agency fights discrimination, and is used at the beginning or ending of most of our workshops. Many staff members were participants in the filming, which was produced by Selzer & Boddy, Inc.
The Commission sponsored a number of conferences including, "Practical Issues in Fair Housing Litigation," held at Drake University Legal Clinic. The target audience was attorneys and groups interested in fair housing issues, particularly testing and fair housing litigation. The guest presenters were Michael P. Seng and F. Willis Caruso of the John Marshall Law School, Chicago.
Internally, the Training Committee continued to oversee the educational needs of staff. A variety of training sessions took place during the year on work-related topics, and new materials were added to the Employee Resource Library.
A four-day staff training event, "Gator U," was held for the second year. Guest speakers focused on personal enrichment, team skills and specific job skills topics. Most of the sessions were held in the meeting rooms of the nearby Des Moines Botanical Center, providing a most pleasant and relaxing learning environment.
The organization, Friends of Iowa Civil Rights, Inc., continued its organizational efforts, with its first major public event planned for the Fall of 1996. The mission of the organization is to successfully raise funds for and assist in the charitable and educational programs of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, or other Iowa groups who share the same goal of promoting civil rights. Current board members are Orlando Ray Dial, Dale Repass, Jeff Courter, Stephanie Pratt, Christina Rocha, and Diane Stone.