The commission's overall objective in the area of affirmative action, as set forth by the legislature, is to: "cooperate, within the limits of any appropriations made for its operation, with other agencies or organizations, both public and private, ... in the planning and conducting of programs designed to eliminate racial, religious, cultural, and intergroup tensions". In-this regard, the commission is empowered to issue "such publications and reports of investigations and research as in the judgment of the commission shall tend to promote good will among the various racial, religious, and ethnic groups of the state and which shall tend to minimize or eliminate discrimination
Recognizing that much of the resistance to civil rights is attributable to incorrect, inadequate, or distorted information, the commission carries on broad public-education projects. These projects are designed variously to correct the misunderstandings resulting from this general informational gap; to better acquaint the various racial and ethnic groups with each other's culture and mores; to apprise the general public of the many injustices arising from discrimination in our society; and to promote better utilization of the Iowa Civil Rights Act by effectively "spreading the word" that legal remedies do exist and will be applied. The commission strongly encourages local people to tackle their social problems on the local level; and consequently lends technical assistance to local human rights commissions, local N.A.A.C.P and L.U.L.A.C. chapters, and to local civic groups taking active roles in civil rights.
The affirmative action program during the past year can be classified in terms of four somewhat overlapping groups. These are: efforts to broaden public information; efforts to encourage involvement; efforts to reduce cultural differences; and efforts to lend technical assistance.
Efforts to Broaden Public Information
Comprehensive mailing list
Civil rights generally is a controversial area that requires an extraordinary amount of public relations work to interpret the intent and philosophy of the law. In attempting to fulfill this obligation, the commission has over the years utilized a number of forums to broaden public information about civil rights; and in 1968 added a quarterly newsletter to its informational services.
The commission's comprehensive mailing list provides probably the commission's most effective and ongoing medium for broadening public information. The commission's annual report and quarterly newsletter (both of which are geared toward the dispensing of broad public-educational information about civil rights) are mailed to a broad cross section of public officials, agencies, organizations, and individuals.
These include state legislators; state officials; directors and board members or commissioners of state agencies; Iowa congressmen; mayors of cities with either a total population of 5,000 or more, or a nonwhite population of 50 or more; newspapers; radio and television stations; superintendents and librarians of public and private school districts; individual school board members in the half dozen largest cities; presidents of colleges, universities, and area schools. Also included are members of local human rights commissions and advisory committees; presidents of local N.A.A.C.P. and L.U.L.A.C. branches; directors of community action agencies and of O.E.O. neighborhood centers; presidents and D.H.R. chairmen of local chapters of the League of Women Voters; local chapter presidents of the American Association of University Women; presidents of local councils of churches and of local ministerial associations; local chapter presidents of Iowa Church Women United and of Iowa Lutheran Church Women; state presidents of the various civic groups or organizations listed above, as well as other organizations which do not maintain local chapters or branches; state denominational executives; black ministers; local task force coordinators; members of the various Know Your Neighbor panels; and dozens of persons who have expressed individual interest in improving intergroup relations in Iowa.
This is by no means the complete mailing list. Moreover, the list is constantly growing -- thus reflecting the commission's new contacts and the public's growing awareness of the need for objective and comprehensive information about civil rights. Anyone in Iowa, with an interest in specifically improving intergroup relations or in merely receiving information about civil rights, will upon request be put on the commission's general mailing list for the annual report and quarterly newsletter, as well as for special-purpose publications (when applicable).
As a matter of policy, the commission tries, every third month, to schedule its regular monthly business meeting in major cities other than Des Moines (where the meetings are held otherwise). This is done as a means for the commission to focus attention on civil rights generally in these cities, and to learn firsthand -- from community leaders and members of minority groups -- about civil rights problems peculiar to those individual cities. The medium of an evening meeting (on the night before the regular business meeting) is utilized by the commission to explain in detail the intent and philosophy of civil rights legislation and programs, and to entertain questions and comments from the audience.
Special attention is given during these discussions to the specific coverage of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, and to the mechanics of processing a complaint of discrimination. In this connection, individual commissioners or staff members make themselves available for confidential conferences with individuals who want to inquire generally about a possible discriminatory situation or to file a formal complaint on the spot.
During 1968, a. general "community" meeting of this type was held in Council Bluffs in March. Special commission sessions (in conjunction with regular business meetings of the commission) were also held in Davenport, Fort Dodge, and Waterloo (as well as in Des Moines) -- where the commission met with the local boards of education to discuss equal educational opportunity. General "community" meetings had been held in these three cities in previous years.
Individual speaking engagements
The commission also considers the medium of individual speaking engagements (before various civic, educational, professional, business, fraternal, or religious groups or organizations) as an effective means of not only broadening the public knowledge about civil rights but also of increasing personal involvement by private citizens. Consequently, individual commissioners and staff members stand ready at all times to address any group in Iowa upon request; or to participate in some other way -- such as a panelist, moderator, or resource person -- in a group meeting or public conference.
A sampling of major speaking engagements by various individual commissioners during 1968 included addresses at the state conventions of the Odd Fellows, the Iowa 4-H Clubs, the Izaak Walton League, and the insurance industry; the keynote address at the Governor's United Nations Youth Day Conference; and participation as a panelist at the annual conference of the Iowa State Education Association, and at Drake University's summer institute on state and local government. During the past year, commissioners living in the various geographical areas were frequently called upon also by city councils and interested civic organizations to testify at city council meetings held for the purpose of considering the passage or amendment of local human rights ordinances.
The highlight speech by a staff member during 1968 was Executive Director Mullin's address in May to the annual conference of the West Central Wardens' Conference -- in which over a dozen specific recommendations were made to improve intergroup relations in state correctional institutions. Other major speaking engagements by staff members included a number of talks with black congregations and several in-service human relations lectures -- both topics of which are discussed below in this chapter. In a related public relations matter, several staff members discussed "Discrimination in Iowa," when the work of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission was featured on "Special Report" on KRNT-TV in Des Moines.
Commissioners' activities in related capacities
All of the commissioners over the years have taken an active part in a wide range of citizen activities advancing human relations and human resources on the federal, state, and local levels. For example, Commissioner Boles (a professor of government at Iowa State University) was the chairman of the Governor's (Advisory) Commission on Human Relations from 1958 to 1960 and from 1962 to 1965; and has served as the chairman of the Iowa State Advisory Committee to the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights (The U. S. Commission is in the process of reactivating state advisory committees). During the past few months, Professor Boles has worked with the administration at Iowa State University in establishing a scholarship program for minority group members.
Commissioner Full (a housewife whose husband is a corporation and radio executive) is active in the League of Women Voters and in the American Association of University Women; and was a member of Governor Loveless' Action Committee on Reapportionment. This past year she gave special attention to the meetings of the Iowa League of Municipalities' state task force on minority problems, and to coordinating equal educational opportunity proposals with the State Board of Public Instruction.
Commissioner Goldman (a housewife whose husband is a minister of The United Methodist Church) is a board member of the national Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist Church, the legislative affairs chairman of Iowa Church Women United, and a member of the original Know Your Neighbor Panel (a panel of fifteen women who appear in teams of five members to explain how they personally have experienced racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination). She also is a member of two statewide advisory committees appointed by the State Department of Public Instruction -- the ongoing adult education committee and the ad hoc study committee analyzing racial incidents that led to the temporary closing of Waterloo East High School in September of 1968.
Commissioner Hamilton (a professor of sociology and head of that department at Loras College) is a member of the Dubuque Human Relations Committee and of the Iowa Welfare Association, and is the vice president of the Iowa Council of Family Relations. He has been actively Addressing (and leading discussions of) the clergy on issues of civil rights and human relations.
Chairman Harper (a physician and surgeon) is past president of the Fort Madison branch of the N.A.A.C.P.; and was a member of Governor Hoegh's Study Commission on Discrimination in Employment. Over the years he has been especially active in helping incoming Negroes find suitable employment and housing in Fort Madison. Moreover, he has worked with penitentiary officials to improve the lot of minority inmates and to improve intergroup relations generally in the prison.
Commissioner Kruidenier (a housewife whose husband is a newspaper executive) is a member of the League of Women Voters and of the original Know Your Neighbor Panel, as well as the Citizens' Advisory Committee to the U. S. Community Relations Service. She has served continuously since 1954 in the capacity of a state civil rights commissioner -- having been a member of Governor Hoegh's Study Commission on Discrimination in Employment.and a member of the various Governor's (Advisory) Commissions on Human Relations.
Vice Chairman Slotsky (the manager of the Sioux City Credit Bureau and a newspaper and radio executive) is past chairman of the Sioux city chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and is past president of the Jewish Federation in Sioux City. He has been lending his assistance over the past several months to the American Indian Center in Sioux City in improving the center's overall effectiveness, public image, and public acceptance.
Efforts to Encourage Involvement
During the latter stages of 1968, the commission decided to sponsor a statewide conference in Des Moines on January 11, 1969, to encourage interested individuals to become more directly involved (and knowledgeable) in the arena of intergroup relations. The workshop topics will include: discussion of proposed legislative changes in the Iowa Civil Rights Act, and of the commission's budget request for the 63rd biennium; explanation of the "model" human rights ordinance made available by the commission, and of the commission's special employment project; and discussion of state and local commission techniques in compliance investigation and in the conducting of affirmative action educational projects. Conferences of a somewhat similar nature were held in 1966 and 1967.
Coordination with black ministers
In an attempt to encourage black ministers to become more directly involved in civil rights, the commission formulated plans in late October and November of 1968 to systematically contact black ministers across the state. To kick things off, an informational booklet (about the coverage of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, and the operations and programs of this commission) was mailed to each black minister in the state.
By November 30, personal contact had been made by commission staff members with the black ministers in thirteen of the state's largest cities. Arrangements had been made to address special group meetings of the black congregations in six of these cities during December of 1968.
School poster contest
Recognizing that a person's various prejudices develop early in life, the commission strives to get youngsters interested and involved in intergroup relations at an early age. In this connection, the commission sponsored a statewide poster contest, which closed on December 31, 1968. The contest was for students in junior high (grades 7-9) and in senior high (grades 10-12) -with the emphasis in the posters to be upon (a) harmonious intergroup relations; (b) equal opportunity in education, employment, housing, or public accommodations; or (c) the contribution that racial minorities have made to our American culture.
To foster extensive participation in this contest, the commission sent copies of the contest announcement to school superintendents, art galleries, Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. branches, newspapers, radio and television stations, O.E.O. neighborhood centers, chairmen of local human rights commissions, and presidents of local N.A.A.C.P. branches. At the time of this writing, a total of 95 very fine posters (demonstrating remarkable imagination, creativity, and workmanship) had been received at the commission office.
The winners in both levels of competition each will receive a $50 savings bond, and two runnersup in each category will receive $25 bonds. The winners, who will be selected by the State Arts Council, will be announced in January. The Iowans for Fair Housing organization provided the money for these bonds.
Efforts to Reduce Cultural Differences
Student exchange project
In an innovative attempt to improve intergroup relations and to reduce cultural differences, the commission sponsored a federally-funded domestic student exchange project from August of 1966 through July of 1968. Initially funded for $291,990 on a one-year experimental basis by the Office of Economic Opportunity, the project was subsequently extended for an additional year (operating on the substantial balance remaining after the first year's operation). In addition to the federal funds, the state of Iowa contributed to the project on an in-kind basis (which consisted of unreimbursed host family services, and donated office space for the project staff).
The basic objective of the project was to enable 12 to 18 year old students of normal intelligence but of limited cultural and economic experiences to make maximum use of their educational opportunities. These students were placed for at least one school semester with a host family living in another community (and usually in another county).
Feeling that a temporary environmental change might stimulate academic underachievers, the project's staff coordinators worked closely with the exchange students and the host families, as well as extending services to the parental families of the exchange students. The semester exchange provided an opportunity for the participating students and host families to learn from each other while the natural -families prepared for the return of their children at the end of the semester. Group work with natural families was conducted in two of the regions where the program operated. A further objective of the project was to increase the students' pride in their own experiences, and to familiarize urban and rural students with one another's contributions and living habits.
A total of 76 students participated in the project4 with many of them participating during more than one semester. A total of 64 individual placements were made during the 1966-67 school year, and 33 were made in 1967-68. The program operated in 81 school systems located in 27 counties.
Quantitative data demonstrate that academic motivation was realized by a majority of the students in the project, especially in the areas of improved grade point averages and school attendance records. Moreover, the majority of the participating students were rated in a more positive way by the teachers in their "host" schools than they were by their "home" school teachers.
In-service human relations training
In-service human relations training is a fundamental means for civil rights professionals to expose the employees of requesting agencies or organizations to intergroup-relations considerations. When applicable, the individual sessions -- usually lasting -two to four hours -- focus primarily upon the positive responsibilities of management and staff under state and federal regulations (including legislation, executive orders, and administrative guidelines). Other key points generally covered in these sessions include briefings on (a) the importance of recognizing and understanding the existence of cultural differences and inter-cultural sensitivity; and (b) how to detect -- and constructively deal with -- possible "situations" involving intergroup tensions. Moreover, that particular agency or organization is then encouraged to maintain an internal inservice training program on a regular basis.
In-service sessions were held during 1968 with the Davenport Police Academy; jointly with the police departments of Bettendorf, Clinton, Davenport, and Muscatine; and with the department heads of the Iowa Employment Security Commission. Arrangements have been made for a session with the Des Moines Police Department early in January of 1969.
Efforts to Lend Technical Assistance
"Model" human rights ordinance
The commission has made available to communities a "model" municipal human rights ordinance which is patterned after the Iowa Civil Rights Act. The recommendations proposed in 1967 by the Iowa League of Municipalities' Task Force for Community Relations included adoption of local human rights ordinances. With the assistance of Professor Fred Morrison of the University of Iowa School of Law, the commission offered to provide an ordinance for use by municipal officials.
The ordinance, which includes explanatory comments, provides for two alternative methods of enforcement, to facilitate flexibility of choice at the local level. Alternative A gives the local commission law enforcement powers; Alternative B gives the local commission only the power to attempt to conciliate alleged discriminatory practices. When local conciliation attempts to settle a complaint fail, Alternative B provides for utilization of the state commission.
A copy of the ordinance has been sent to the mayor, individual city councilmen, city attorney, and chairman of the local human rights commission or advisory committee, in each of these twenty-four cities: Ames, Bettendorf, Burlington, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Evansdale, Ft. Dodge, Ft. Madison, Grinnell, Iowa City, Keokuk, Marion, Marshalltown, Mason City, Muscatine, Ottumwa, Sioux City, Waterloo, and West Des Moines.
Copies of the ordinance can be obtained by writing to the commission office.
Teacher recruitment pamphlet
The commission has prepared a teacher recruitment pamphlet designed to attract to Iowa black teachers, as well as "concerned" white teachers. The pamphlet (which is entitled "Come Teach in Iowa: a progressive state in intergroup relations") demonstrates that Iowa long has been a pioneer in constructive race relations, and that Iowa is quantitatively considered to offer a "good life" For example, it was noted in the pamphlet that a recent study by the Midwest Research Institute ranked Iowa tenth (among the 50 states) in overall considerations constituting the "good life;" second in experiencing positive efforts to end discrimination; and seventh in improving the quantity and quality of education at all levels.
The commission determined that such a pamphlet would be helpful, following its meetings this spring and summer with the State Board of Public Instruction and with the local boards of education in four major Iowa cities. The general impression given by the educators was that they are interested in tapping more effectively the resource of qualified black teachers, but that they have extreme difficulty in locating and recruiting them.
The commission plans to mail copies of the pamphlet directly to the placement offices of black teacher colleges across the nation, as well as to the individual school districts in Iowa. There is a section designated on the pamphlet for the individual school districts to stamp their address, to facilitate personalized use by individual schools in their recruiting.
4 An additional 23 students were involved
in an experimental research phase of the project.