Volume 3, Number 4 211 E. Maple St., Des Moines, Iowa 50309-1858 September/October 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
San Wong (515-248-7209)
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)
Webster Co. Diversity Appreciation Team
Ed OLeary (515-576-2201)
Change of mission
Were thinking about changing our mission . . . from "to eliminate discrimination in Iowa" to "helping Iowans build inclusive communities," or some combination of the two. What do you think? Let me know. Thank You! Don Grove, 1-800-457-4416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles City International Fellowship
September 16, 1998
Treasurers Report: $278.29 in current account; expenses are about $20/month for furniture storage unit, which is now almost empty, but contents of another house are expected soon. Cold Weather clothing is needed and it was noted that this would be a good time to pick up summer household items, like fans, at garage sales for next year. Some new international members of the community have expressed real gratitude for the items CCIF has contributed to help them establish households in Charles City.
Kate Campbell agreed to act as secretary when she is able to be present at meetings: Mary Ann Erb said she would back her up and even Mike Downey, whos looking forward to well-earned rest, said hed fill in if necessary. Jim Sanner will take care of copying and mailing. She will not be at the next meeting, so trusts that others will take up the slack.
Jim Sanner gave news that Pat Biwer, a faithful member of the group, had a stroke: he will send a card on our behalf.
We discussed the situation of Hispanic workers at All-States, whose situation inspired our group to come into existence. At this point, there are a few Hispanic families who have come to work for All-States and have settled here. They do not need the material help we give. The general pattern has been that workers which All-States recruits from Eagle Pass, Texas, come to town and are put up at Parkview Motel by the company. Generally they stay a short time, then return home. It doesnt seem likely that they are able to make enough at All-States for their families to join them. We also noted that pressure from the INS on employers and workers to have proper documentation might be a factor.
The most recent case where we have been able to act as advocates for Hispanic workers was a letter Jim Sanner wrote to our federal legislators regarding the arrest of Hispanics who werent carrying their documentation when the authorities stopped them. Sanner suggested that this looked like a gross violation of their rights since many non-Hispanics dont carry ID but are not treated so arbitrarily. Rep. Nussles response was entirely pro forma, but Senator Grassley indicated that he had forwarded our complaint to the local branch of the INS.
Some of the items we collected to help newcomers from other countries to get settled have been given to needy people in the community, since we dont see the need that existed a year or two ago. Consensus was that this was entirely appropriate.
Most of the discussion was how to implement Study Circles in the community, since our group is too tiny and too deeply involved in other activities to spearhead the activity. Our group is more likely to function as a catalyst than as the major sponsors and agents of any Study Circles we might have in Charles City.
Kate Campbell attended the training session for facilitators in Cedar Rapids, which focused on racism. We are very aware that racism is a factor in many aspects of our communitys life, but doubt whether we can get immediate response on that issue since denial is so high and the community is currently involved in an assets building program for our young people.
Since Study Circle material includes material for high school students and, besides racism, treats topics like violence and drugs, both of which are acknowledged to be major problems in the community, we wondered if we could find a home for the format within the community action focused on youth. The intention would be that once the Study Circle format was experienced, it might be easier to get people talking about racism. We noticed that sponsoring agencies for Study Circles include AEAs, Human Rights Offices, schools, Chambers of Commerce, even local libraries, so thought of people who might be interested: AEA, school counselors, Chamber of Commerce, Community Revitalization, and the Area Ministerium seemed places to start. We will look for people who would be willing to receive mailings, such as newsletters of the Iowa Civil Rights and Study Circles, and related information.
Mary Ann Erb will get in touch with the educators in the AEA and school counselors: Warren Dunkel, Joanne Meyer, Dan Mallaro, and Stu Coulson were mentioned. Kate and Mike Downey will work on getting a conversation started among the clergy. Kate will talk to Carla Brasiliere and Toni Noah with Community Revitalization.
Mike is very much involved with the asset-building project for kids, so may be able to talk up Study Circles there, and Kate will be attending a conference on that topic with Marty Lucas, Superintendent of Schools, and will bend his ear on the topic.
We need to do this as a matter of offering a resource to the community and not to prejudge which topic Charles City Study Circles might choose.
Tama Co. Team for Intercultural Community
September 24, 1998
The Tama City Council drew criticism, from Dwayne Wood on behalf of the Hispanic people who were coordinating the effort, for declining a request for a Mexican Independence Day Celebration on city property. Woods concern was voiced at the Thursday, Sept. 24 meeting of the Tama County Team for Intercultural Community. "This was very disappointing and discouraging to the Hispanic people who live here, especially Blanca (Sanchez) who had put so much effort into it," Wood said. The council failed to approve a request for use of the south Civic Center parking lot when the designated representative of the Intercultural Team failed to attend the Sept. 8 council meeting. A letter will be drafted to the council noting the teams concern. Nancy Dostal, who was working with team members Blanca Sanchez and Mario Rameriz on the project, accepted responsibility for not making clear the importance of their attendance at the council meeting. Dostal advised she wasnt able to provide the council the assurance they needed to accept the liability of the festival. Dostal noted Mayor Richard Gibson volunteered to assist with meeting city requirements when future efforts to build bridges between the cultures are pursued. Jim Tekippe suggested invitations be extended to the council to participate in the team meetings. City representatives which were on the team have fallen away, he noted.
Sandra Sanchez of the American Friends Service Committee in Des Moines encouraged the team to re-enlist the Hispanic community in the near future. She suggested a Christmas time celebration as an alternative to the Independence Day celebration.
Study Circles. Jim Tekippe reported a half dozen people attended the study circle training which allowed the facilitators from Des Moines an opportunity to gain experience as facilitators and the Tama-Toledo people to experience a study circle. A racism booklet was utilized for the discussions held at the Iowa Juvenile Home, Tekippe reported. While he wishes there had been greater participation, Tekippe said he gathered the facilitator training is not that difficult. "It appears to be basically guiding a grassroots discussion," he said. "I would advocate the formation of study circles here." A meeting on study circles was held in the afternoon at IJH prior to the team meeting. Sally Campbell, chairperson of the Study Circles Resource Center, led the discussion. Tekippe suggested a subcommittee be designated to implement the study circles program in South Tama County. Jerry YoungBear was also in attendance at the study circle and ICN meetings. He said areas stressed include maintaining a neutral point of view and respecting the peoples opinions. "You need to be open and a good listener," he said. "You need to listen with your heart, not your mind." STC Superintendent Dr. Clarence Lippert noted the importance of drawing people from diverse backgrounds to insure the success of the study circles. He reminded team members of past efforts which failed to attract people of all the cultures represented in the community. YoungBear agreed, it is hard to get people to attend meetings. Many people have other problems and priorities. It will be up to the team to help them see why this should be a priority. Daun Keefe of the Family Life Center advised each team member bring one person to double the size of the group.
Calendar. Dr. Lippert, on behalf of Mary Sillman, reported the calendar has been placed on hold as concern has been raised on how it would be funded and if the team needs non-profit status if the calendars are to be sold. Wood suggested a corporate sponsor be enlisted and the calendars be given away rather than sold. Attorney Allan Richards will contact Sillman regarding non-profit status.
Joes Internet Café. Keefe reported Joes Internet Café, a Saturday night event for high school students, is in the formation process. The café will be at the Family Life Center on the corner of 10th and Oswego Streets in Tama. Anticipated open hours will be 7 p.m. midnight. Keefe is looking for a corps group of kids to help in the planning process of the "coffee house" for kids. Somewhat structured activities for kids will be offered and adult supervision, a must, Keefe said. Keefe hopes to have food, a piano, a comedy stage and possibly instruments for the formation of a band available at the center. Entertainment possibilities for an opening night celebration are being investigated for the drug and alcohol free center. Keefe envisions the group meeting with an adult for one hour of open discussions as living unit groups. Confidentiality and honesty will lead the discussions. Jerry YoungBear volunteered to assist in the formation of a dance troupe through the center. He suggested kids be allowed to do a skit on how they view adults. This might be a good way to bridge the gap between youth and the elders . . .
American Friends. Sandra Sanchez and Angel Cantreras, representing the American Friends Service Committee, advised the team theyve been receiving calls for approximately one year from area immigrants expressing concern. Although Tama wasnt a targeted town when grants were originally awarded, it has been approved for a three year grant because of the number of calls received and concerns expressed. Allegations have been made of police harassment and irregularities in treatment. The biggest challenge for her, Sanchez advised, has been finding a place where the members of the Hispanic population feel safe to meet. Meetings have been held in peoples homes and at a local bar. An asset for Tama, Sanchez advised, is that most of the immigrants are from Mexico so they share similar insights and values. She said the team appears to be committed to bridging the gap between the cultures. "Im not here to tell you what to do, but rather to offer a connection to the Hispanic community and help make them a part of the process," Sanchez said. Often members of the Hispanic community are not aware of whats expected of them legally and in making connections to the community. They have strong organizational skills, Sanchez shared; meetings shes attended on average draw 30 attendees. Sanchez cited successes in Perry, including the hiring of a bilingual officer and the hosting of a Spanish radio show. Mary Morris of the Move the Mountain program, locally assembling as Youth Connections, noted Cathy Campbell of KZAT radio locally has expressed an interest in starting an Hispanic radio show. Sanchez said she is willing to assist in making connections with the Hispanic community. She recommended the handbook, "Race, Ethnicity and Immigration" as a valuable tool. Sanchez advised the Hispanic community also needs to learn the local values, hopes and goals. They could bring the Hispanic perspective to the community through the study circles, she shared. A program is available that teams local families with Hispanic families to help them learn self-sufficiency. Sanchez noted there are numerous needs including English as a Second Language classes, learning to read and write and its important to share the burden and not overtax resources. Keefe announced plans for a Spanish for Social Services course offered through the Family Life Center in cooperation with the University of Northern Iowa. She hopes to have the program in place in time for the spring semester. Interested participants can contact her.
Diversity Day. Tekippe announced Diversity Day at STC High School is March 24.