On September 27th and 28th, nearly 200 advocates gathered in Iowa. We talked about how race, class, gender, and immigration affect our responses to violence. We began the process of joining a larger movement building project with an invitation from the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) and the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA).

We heard from a number of powerful speakers. On day one, Shundrea Trotty opened the conference with stories about her personal experiences. Kelly Miller shared how the national Move To End Violence project is changing her work in Idaho. A panel of local organizations spoke about the political climate post-November 2016. We broke into affinity groups so people of color and aspiring white allies could discuss what implicit bias looks like within and between our various communities. Tracy Wright elaborated on her experiences building cross-generational relationships. And we ended the night with a powerful film screening of “No Le Digas a Nadie” and question & answer session with Angy Rivera.

Day two packed in just as much learning. Angy Rivera shared more of her story. Joshua Barr broke down a history of race and class in the United States. Cultural performers lifted up the power of poetry, dance, and inter-generational storytelling. Monica Reyes shared what it is like to be a DACA youth right now in Des Moines, issuing a powerful call to action for support and relationship building. Norio Umezu summarized the many calls to action shared by speakers and trainers. And the Executive Directors of IowaCASA and ICADV shared uplifting parting words.

Whether you were able to join us in person or not, we invite you to take action in whatever area of influence you have. Choose an action item from the list below and let us know how it goes.

Action Items to examine the role of implicit bias in our field

  • Buy and read Beth Richie’s chapter in Arrested Justice, “How we won the mainstream and lost the movement”
  • Buy and read Monique Morris’ book, Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools
  • Read and discuss the White Supremacy Culture document from Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups, by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun
  • Sign up for the “Racial Equity and Liberation” webinar through the Move to End Violence website
  • Find unrestricted funds to support staff of color to engage in broader coalition work
  • Develop relationships with organizations in culturally specific communities to identify leaders to hire
  • Watch Ava DuVernay’s documentary “13th”
  • Watch Angy Rivera’s documentary “No Le Digas a Nadie” (currently streaming for free on PBS)
  • Attend the October 9th Des Moines City Council meeting to support immigrant rights
  • Attend the January immigrant lobby day at the Iowa State Capitol
  • Engage in an organization wide discussion about the following questions:
    1. What are our organizational values?
      • Ask coalition partners to tell you what they think your values are based on their experiences. Do they match up?
    2. Who are we in long-term relationship with?
      • Who is represented in that list?
      • Are there any communities that are missing?
    3. Where do we need more education as individuals and as an organization?
      • Make a concrete learning plan with deadlines for action
    4. What decisions do we have the power to make? Where are we gatekeepers to survival resources for communities?
      • Who makes decisions at different levels within our organization?
        • Are those committees or groups racially and socio-economically diverse?
      • Do community members have any ability to impact or change our decisions? How?