Team Diversity


"A newsletter for and about Community Diversity Appreciation Teams"

"Noticias sobre Grupos Comunitarios Fomentando Diversidad Cultural"


Volume 3, Number 5 211 E. Maple St., Des Moines, Iowa 50309-1858 November/Decemberr 1998


Purpose of Team Diversity Newsletter: To recognize the work of community diversity appreciation teams in Iowa and to share information about teams and diversity-related ideas and resources.

Ames Diversity Appreciation Team

Sheila Lundt (515-239-5101)

Belmond Diversity Appreciation Team

Michael Bush (515-444-5216)

Cedar Rapids Diversity Appreciation Team

Louise Lorenz (319-398-5036)

Cedar Valley Diversity Appreciation Team

Walter Reed (319-291-4441)

Charles City International Fellowship

Jim Sanner (515-228-6085)

Denison Cultural Diversity Committee

Marsha Kracht (712-263-8733) or

Coletta Weeda (712-263-4697)

Diverse-Cities Team (Iowa City/Coralville)

Heather Shank (319-356-5022)

Estherville Diversity Appreciation Team

Glenn Bohmer (712-362-3237)

Hampton Diversity Committee

Pastor Joe Jones (515-456-2285)

Humboldt Co. Diversity Appreciation Team

Joe Hadar (515-332-5312)

Marshalltown Diversity Committee

Sandy Burke (515-294-9307)

MLK, Jr. Committee (Council Bluffs)

Jon and Judy Malloy (712-328-9093)

North Iowa Diversity Appreciation Team

Lois Fingalsen (515-421-4600)

Ottumwa Diversity Network

Dale Uehling (515-683-0600)

Perry Diversity Appreciation Team

Pastor Ron Bronemann (515-465-5298)

Polk Co. Diversity Coalition

Sylvia Tijerina (515-218-4070)

Mark Finkelstein (515-277-6321)

Postville Chamber of Commerce

Nina Taylor (319-864-3150)

Quad Cities’ Roundtables/Anti-Hate Response Team/Diversity Committee

Brenda Drew-Peeples (319-326-0717)

Racism/Race Relations Committee

Connie Barrett (712-274-8678)

Siouxland Diversity Coalition

Matt Boley (712-258-5137)

Storm Lake Diversity Task Force

Dale Carver (712-732-6767)

Tama Co. Team for Intercultural Community

Clarence Lippert (515-484-4811)

Mary Sillman (515-484-2560)

Webster Co. Diversity Appreciation Team

Ed O’Leary (515-576-2201)


"Sometimes change comes not in the first round, but at the second, third or fourth. Change starts with one person questioning, challenging, speaking up and doing something to make a difference. We can each make a difference . . . because each of us is already part of the community where racism exists and thrives." PAUL KIVEL, 1993, from "And don't call me a racist!" by Ella Mazel.

Ottumwa Diversity Network
September 3, 1998

Update From Excel: They are very busy hiring new employees. They have had a wonderful response from the area people interested in working. They have had such a wonderful response that they haven't had to look outside the area for this first round of hires. They haven't had a large influx of culturally different applicants or hires. The question was asked as to whether CSL might be hiring from other cultures as the number of culturally different students have gone up from 18 to 39, primarily Spanish. Excel isn't sure of the breakdown of the population at CSL or their other sub-contractors. Excel was asked if the employees such as at CSL have an opportunity to better themselves by going to work at Excel. The answer was YES, but that there is a waiting period of 6 months after they quit sub-contractor before Excel will hire them. Excel was asked when they will be in the hiring process again and we were told that they are unsure as to when the next large mass will be hired. Excel said that they feel that the community needs to share information about the community to all new people coming in to town. Excel was asked to bring to the next meeting a breakdown of the nationality of their employees. They also reported that they do have interpreters within the plant.

List of Interpreters: We as a community need to develop a list of interpreters for all languages so that the community knows these resources.

". . . the community needs to share information about the community to all new people coming in to town."

ESL Class: Said that they haven't had a large influx of new students.

Committee Reports:

Day Care:
Dale reported that the Ottumwa Day Care Center has closed. The City owns the building and it will be turned back to the City by September 30. They will be contacting groups that might be interested in the building . . . The YWCA has had a lot of calls for 2nd shift Day Care.

Community Education: There will be another series of Study Circles in October.

Formal Education: They haven't met since August. There are some culturally different kids in the schools but they seem to be scattered out.

Health Care: They have representatives from 8 agencies and have invited 10 others to be on the committee. Their first concern is the first point of entry into health services or the emergency room. They will be educating themselves on how other cultures deal with health situations.

Housing: They have reviewed the process on revising County Zoning codes and have looked at zoning codes around the state. They will try to get investors together to discuss how we can get down payments for people and look at incentives for new housing.

Job Fair: The Job Fair is set for the week of November 16 at the Coliseum. They want to involve the 10 county area. More people are needed on the committee.

Spiritual Life: They will be discussing a lot of things at the Ottumwa Fellowship of Churches meeting at the end of September.

Transportation: A special meeting is set with Pella Corporation and Mass Transit from Des Moines to discuss Van Pooling.

"The majority of our current Hispanic population is Guatemalan."

October 1, 1998

Mayor Uehling introduced a video titled "Free Indeed" which was viewed by the group. "Free Indeed" explored how white individuals view race relationships and discussed the concept of white privilege.

List of Interpreters: Mayor Uehling mentioned that two additional individuals are available to interpret Spanish. Also a list of Interpreters is available from the Human Rights Commission.

ESL Class: Signs and flyers advertising ESL classes were distributed. The class schedule will be Tuesday and Thursday 4:30 - 7:30 PM and Friday 9:00 - Noon.

Update From Excel: The hiring process is going smoothly and continues. Since the 1st of August, 583 applicants have been interviewed for jobs through the Workforce Development Center. The ethnic background of these applicants was 95% Caucasian, 3.25% African American, and 1.75% Hispanic. (As a comparison the ethnic background of the Excel plant population is 0.5% Native American, 1.5% African American, 2% Asian, 3% Hispanic and 93% Caucasian.)

The need for a "Welcome to Ottumwa" packet was discussed. The Chamber of Commerce explained what materials are included in the Welcome to Ottumwa packets and how they were distributed. Landlord Association will be sponsoring the program "Understanding Hispanic Culture."

Committee Reports:

Child Care: The committee met and developed the following recommendations: (1) Ottumwa Daycare building would continue to be some type of day care facility, (2) Utilize multi-cultural programs in all of the preschools and DHS would recognize this effort when approving daycare facilities, (3) The possibility of a rise in TB and the need for testing, and (4) Sensitivity training. Discussion about demand of daycare. Committee is gathering information on need of additional daycare. YMCA has added 28 slots, Head Start has added 20 slots and YWCA is the successful applicant for the use of the Ottumwa Daycare facility and will continue to provide daycare at the facility.

Community Education: The committee met and it was reported that the study circles have begun and the next one will be October 14. Also study circles will be starting at the High School and at Evans Middle School. Contacts were made with the Neighborhood Watches and Church groups to explain availability of education programs and study circles.

Formal Education: The Ottumwa Schools reported that ESL services is being provided to 37 students currently compared to 17 students last year. They are advertising for a part-time ESL teacher.

Health Care: Working to determine the needs of the different cultures that are represented in Ottumwa. Have invited speakers from different cultural backgrounds to explain how that group views health care.

Housing: Discussion about availability of housing in Ottumwa and the current rental situation.

Job Fair: Date set for Job/Career Fair November 18. Lee Enterprises has a copyright on a program that assists in putting on a Job Fair. The Ottumwa Courier staff will assist in accessing this program. Employers have expressed interest in the need for High School students to be made aware of the employment opportunities in the area. Part of the Job Fair will be seminars presented by Workforce Development, Vocational Rehabilitation and JTPA.

Spiritual Life: Presentation by Mayor Uehling and Les Elder, Excel, was given to representatives of 18 churches. Rev. Wilson mentioned that he attended a conference in Marshalltown where a translator was using headphones to allow people to follow the service.

Transportation: The Committee sponsored a program where representatives from two companies that currently have van pooling programs, Pella Corporation and Des Moines Transit, explained how van pooling works for them. Rubbermaid representative attended and had calls from other interested companies.

November 5, 1998

The meeting was opened by viewing the video "Cultural Diversity" by Thelma Weeks. It shows similarities between cultures but yet differences between the two.

Dale said that Excel couldn't attend the meeting today due to other commitments. He reported that the 2nd shift has started, they are concerned about turnover in employees. They are interviewing but it is only for maintenance employees. It is Dale's belief at this point that Excel hasn't gone beyond a 100-mile radius to recruit employees. So where are the Hispanics being employed? Perhaps CSL?

Al Ringwold, a missionary with Trinity Lutheran Church, is here to work with the Hispanic population. He has been here a month and has integrated himself into their community. The majority of our current Hispanic population is Guatemalan. The new Ottumwans say that Ottumwa is a very quiet place to live. He is helping the church develop a Spanish-speaking service. They also will be starting ESL classes.

Committee Reports:

Day Care: The YWCA is getting the old Ottumwa Day Care by January 1, 1999. They will be open from 5:30 AM to 1:00 AM, if there is a need for 24 hour care they will look at it.

Community Education: They handed out a list of translators that need more added to it. There will be study circles on November 12 and December 3.

Health Care: They are putting together a list of translators who have medical backgrounds.

Housing: They have several sub-committees. They are getting a centralized list of rental properties to include outside of the Ottumwa area. The county is working on re-zoning. The Habitat for Humanity is looking for applicants.

" . . . at the Landlord Association meeting the guest speaker picked up some anger and prejudices from the attendees."

Job Fair: To be held November 18 at Parkview Plaza. There are at least 14-17 who will be set up.

Spiritual Life: They haven't met since the Fellowship of Churches meeting. They are waiting on a list of people coming into town who want sponsors.

Transportation: The committee listened to presentation on van pooling from Pella Corporation and Mass Transit from Des Moines. We are trying to find some local companies who might be interested in the plan.

It was reported that at the Landlord Association meeting the guest speaker picked up some anger and prejudices from the attendees. Our community seems to be harboring some real hostilities.