III. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
In accordance with the legislative directive to plan and conduct "programs designed to eliminate racial, religious, cultural, and intergroup tensions," the Commission has undertaken its affirmative action or educational projects with the aim of complementing its compliance work. Bound primarily by budget and good taste in these projects, the Commission has had a relatively free hand8 in putting its imagination to work on creative ways of informing the public about the Iowa Civil Rights Act and the Iowa Commission.
Student Exchange Project
In an innovative attempt to improve intergroup understanding, the Commission is sponsoring a domestic student exchange project. Federally funded for $291,990 on a one-year experimental basis by the Office of Economic Opportunity, this pilot project in educational motivation was begun in August of 1966. Using the substantial balance remaining after the first year's operation, the project has been continued through July of 1968.
The basic objective of the project is 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 are placed for at least one school semester in a new environment where they may further develop their interests and specific abilities. An important aspect of the program has been to increase the students' pride in their own experiences and to familiarize, whenever possible, urban and rural students with one another's contributions.
Feeling that a temporary environmental change might stimulate academic underachievers, the project's staff coordinators work 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 provides an opportunity for the participating students and host families to learn from each other while the natural families prepare for the return of their children at the end of the semester. Group work with natural families has been implemented in two of the regions where the program is operating.
During the 1966-1967 school year, the project placed 64 students in host families on a school semester basis, with about 80 per cent of them completing the exchange program. A total of 40 students is enrolled in the program in the first semester of the 1967-1968 school year. Approximately 40 school districts in 25 counties have participated in the program.
Project research is an essential part of the exchange program. Last year's program results will be compared with the findings obtained from this year's program design in order to better evaluate the overall worth of the exchange project.
Richard Wright, doubling as the project and research director, formerly was the Director of Admissions at Loras College in Dubuque. A native of Garnavillo, Iowa, he holds a B.A. degree in Education and an M.A. degree in Guidance and Counselling from Loras College. His staff includes an administrative analyst, casework supervisor, four coordinators, and a secretary.
Pursuant to an agreement with the Iowa Real Estate Commission, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission prepared a twopage pamphlet on Iowa's fair housing law in November of 1967. The housing flier was included in the Real Estate Commission's annual year-end mailing of licenses to the approximately 9,000 real estate brokers and salesmen in the state.
Included in the flier was an outline of: those discriminatory housing practices which are prohibited; the types of housing exempted from coverage; the Civil Rights Commission's complaint processing procedures; and the remedies available to the parties involved. Also included was an excerpt from Governor Hughes' up-dated executive order (issued in October of 1967) to the effect that a state licensee, who engages in discriminatory practices prohibited by the Iowa Civil Rights Act, may have his license revoked.
The flier was concluded with an offer to the real estate industry of the Civil Rights Commission's services in "educating the public about the need and value of providing equal housing opportunity for all owans;" and with an excerpt from a speech by a Denver realtor9 to the effect that fair housing makes sense. That realtor -- who had formerly been an outspoken critic of fair housing legislation -- noted, for example, that open housing in Colorado has not resulted in reduced property values or in increased riots or racial incidents.
In-Service Training Sessions
In-service training is a fundamental means for civil rights professionals to expose the employees of requesting offices to intergroup-relations considerations. When applicable, the individual sessions -- usually lasting a couple of 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 office is then encouraged to maintain an internal in-service training program on a regular basis.
Thus far, the Commission Director has conducted brief in- service training sessions with the Iowa Employment Security Commission's department heads, the staff of the local Iowa State Employment Service office in Des Moines, the Police Departments of Des Moines and Waterloo, the administration and staff of Amos Hiatt Junior High School in Des Moines, and Drake University's summer-session course for elementary and secondary school teachers.
Commission-Sponsored Statewide Conferences
To date, the Commission has sponsored two statewide conferences dealing with civil rights in general.
These conferences were viewed by the Commission as valuable opportunities for calling together interested people for discussion of key civil rights problems in the state. It is hoped that the dialogue begun by the Commission with organizational representatives and individuals participating in these conferences will continue to develop in the future.
Conference in Des Moines on May 12, 1966: The first conference, "A Conference on Civil Rights in Iowa," was held at , the YMCA in Des Moines on May 12, 1966. Viewed as a comprehensive conference to initiate acquaintance, discussion, and liaison with local individuals and organizations, the Commission was happy to see about 90 persons from all parts of the state in attendance.
The opening session of the conference featured, Benjamin D. Segal, the liaison officer for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Mr. Segal discussed developments at the state level all over the nation and outlined progress in enforcement of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. The luncheon included a welcome by Governor Harold Hughes and a speech by Frederick B. Routh, the Executive Director of the National Association of Intergroup Relations Officials. Mr. Routh outlined the general responsibilities of states in human relations work and suggested ways of dealing successfully with anticipated problems in the field.
The afternoon workshops consisted of lively discussion in three areas: (1) Housing, (2) Legislation, and (3) Organization and Techniques. Leading these workshops were: Perry Hooks, the Executive Secretary of the Des Moines Commission on Human Rights; Peter Robertson, the Executive Director of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights; Lawrence Borom, the Executive Director of the Governor's Commission on Human Rights in Minnesota; Donald Frey of Evanston, Illin6is, the Executive Secretary of the Foundation for Freedom and Democracy in Community Life; Professor Arthur Bonfield of the University of Iowa Law School; and State Representative Roy Gillette of Ames.
Conference in Iowa City on September 27, 1967: The Commission's second conference, "Improving Human Relations in Iowa -- What Next?" was held in the University of Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City on September 27, 1967. This conference, which was attended by about three dozen people, was designed specifically as a workshop for the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and local human rights commissions and advisory committees to develop continuing dialogue and cooperation.
To facilitate timely discussion, the group was divided into two workshops; including (a) those individuals representing local commissions with a paid staff; and (b) those representing local commissions without a paid staff, members of advisory committees, and representatives of private human relations organizations. Each workshop was chaired by a state commissioner. In addition, other commissioners and the Commission staff members, as well as several invited resource people, participated in the discussion in each workshop.
Key points raised in the workshops included: a mutual desire for better communication and more frequent contacts; a call for complete cooperation in affirmative action programs; a need for concrete working arrangements in compliance matters; the relative need for, and value and responsibilities of, local advisory committees; the relative value of settling local civil rights problems on the local level; the problem of powerless or uncooperative local commissions; a call for increased public relations work on the Iowa Commission's part; and generally what is needed in the way of ordinances on the local level.
Four people spoke briefly during or immediately after the luncheon. University of Iowa President Howard Bowen welcomed the conference delegates to his campus and gave his support to the civil rights work being done in Iowa generally and on the Iowa campus specifically. Chairman Full reviewed the work of the Iowa Commission, and called for the delegates to cooperate in helping the Commission mold its overall plans for the future. Frank Robinson, deputy director of the combined Iowa Manpower Development Council and Office of Economic Opportunity, summarized the efforts in major cities around the state this summer to set up youth employment programs financed by local businessmen. Mrs. Gwendolyn Wells, acting deputy director of the Kansas City regional office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, summarized the scope of the federal law covering employment and her agency's role in administering it.
Radio and Television Shows
Various Commission personnel have participated in a number of radio and television shows which have focused on the Iowa Civil Rights Act, the Iowa Commission, and civil rights problems in general. The opportunity to appear on these shows has been welcomed as an effective tool for reaching a large segment of the Iowa populace.
Phone-in Shows: Commissioner (then Chairman) Hamilton and Director Thomas appeared on KRNT-TV's "People's Press Conference" on April 29, 1966. Mr. Thomas also has appeared on
phone forum radio shows on WHO in Des Moines and WOC in Davenport. A broad range of civil rights topics was covered in these three sessions.
Interview Shows: Various Commissioners and staff members also participated in a two-part series on the "Iowa Roundtable," a radio interview show sponsored by the Iowa Bar Association.
The general topic of how the Iowa Commission operates was discussed on the first show by Chairman Full and Director Thomas; and on the second show by Commissioner Boles, Director Thomas, and Compliance Director Mullin.
Television Panel Discussion Shows: Commission staff members have also participated in two television panel shows. On August 31, 1967, Director Thomas appeared on a WMT-TV show, "The Racial Crisis," together with Robert Wright, state NAACP president; Lloyd Turner, mayor of Waterloo; and Frank Bosh, then public safety commissioner, and now mayor, of Cedar Rapids. Major emphasis was placed by the moderator on both racial disturbances and minority problems.
On November 20, 1967, Director Thomas and Compliance Director Mullin appeared on a KDPS-TV panel show entitled "It Is The Law Now." They were joined by Lester Calvert, the past president of the Iowa Association of Realtors, and A. M. McCracken, President of the Des Moines Apartment Owners and Operators, Inc. The specific topic was Iowa's fair housing law, and the Iowa Commission's enforcement of it.
Brotherhood Week Radio Tapes: Various Commission personnel also taped a series of brief public service announcements for spot use on AM radio stations across the state during Brotherhood Week in February of 1967. Stressing fundamental respect by individuals for one another, the tapes noted that discrimination amounts to wasteful and illegal utilization of human resources and talents.
Iowa Commission Staff members 150 speaking appearances thus far.This total is in addition to the many public appearances on civil rights matters made by the individual commissioners in their local communities and geographical areas. A broad cross-section of large and small communities has been visited, always upon the request of concerned or inquisitive local organizations. These small-group meetings in local settings provide an effective forum for discussion of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, the Iowa Commission, and ways that local civic, fraternal, and church groups can effectively contribute to better intergroup relations and human understanding on the local level.
Some of the groups visited so far include: Kiwanis, Lion's Clubs, Masonic Lodges, professional fraternities and sororities, YMCA and YWCA groups, chambers of commerce, rental associations, real estate groups, PTA's, educational associations, NAACP chapters, welfare groups, college groups, employment service managers, leagues of women voters, and area Councils of Churches. Director Thomas also was the featured speaker at the Annual Conference of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, held in Des Moines on April 30, 1966; and was a panel member at the Conference on Human Resources Development, held in Ames on October 13 and 14, 1966.
In conclusion, the Commission's affirmative action projects have taken a variety of forms. In these, the intent has been to develop constructive and diverse ways of combatting discrimination, prejudice, and intergroup and intercultural tensions. The recent addition of a research-and-education specialist to the Commission staff is making it possible to place increasing emphasis upon these broad public educational efforts.
8. As opposed to the strict procedural
rules of operation set by the Iowa Civil Rights Act for the Commission's
9. Address by Mr. John I. Hasselblad
(past president of the Denver Board of Realtors, director of the Colorado
and National Associations of Real Estate Boards, and the 1966 "Denver
Realtor of the Year") at the Mid-America Conference on Equal Opportunity
in Housing, at Kansas City, on October 29, 1966.