February Update

Greetings Iowa City Showing Up for Racial Justice,

This month’s general gathering is coming right up on Sunday Feb 12 from 4-6 pm, at WRAC (Women’s Resource and Action Center).

This Month’s Agenda includes:

  • Follow-up from the Iowa Justice Alliance protest at Mt. Zion Baptist in CR, including a review of their 12 demands. Also, preparing for our conversation with new ICPD Chief Jody Matherly on March 12th (in ICPL meeting room A).
  • An overview & discussion of mindset, skills and practices for effective community organizing (more in-depth Saturday sessions coming soon). This will include an opportunity to discuss learnings from those who attended the M4BL webinar on Thursday.
  • Meg has designed a great T-shirt to help us be more identifiable when we appear as a group, or for conversation-starters with others. We’ll be taking pre-orders on Sunday. Also, there is a plan to create “Ask me about Showing Up for Racial Justice” buttons. Not sure when they’ll be ready.
  • Discussion about legislative advocacy in Des Moines and at the city and county levels.

A brief note: After having some late-2016 meetings marked by interpersonal discord, Iowa City SURJ is stepping into 2017 with renewed determination in the face of new and growing challenges. Our leadership have worked hard on creating stronger boundaries and ground-rules, so that our meetings can regain their potential to be fully-welcoming, safe, effective, and energizing.

Another brief note: If you have not been regularly receiving emails from us, you are not on the listserv, and not getting/responding to join invitations we’ve been sending. To rectify, please check your spam folder, or reply to this message, with a join request.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at WRAC tomorrow at 4pm, if you can be there!


Joel, on behalf of the ICSURJ leadership team

The Showing-Up Rundown

Legislative Issues / Political Action

(SO MANY new bills being pushed through in Des Moines, including some that would disenfranchise voters, break unions, negate minimum wages set by counties, and create penalties for “sanctuary” cities: http://www.johnson-county.com/dept_auditor.aspx?id=21722)

Some ways to show up for this:

  • Postcards and Letters to editor (Des Moines Register, Cedar Rapids Gazette, Iowa City Press Citizen, Daily Iowan, Little Village)
  • Make phone calls to your Iowa representatives: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
  • We can organize field trips to legislators’ offices for in-person actions/asks/demands. Who from ICSURJ can travel to Des Moines when the need arises?

Upcoming Trainings/Presentations/Discussion

  • Bystander Interventions (Action Iowa)
  • Several potential books for discussion, if there’s interest among new readers: New Jim Crow, Between the World and Me, Just Mercy, Learning to be White, Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement-Building Strategy
  • What is political power? How to build it, and how to wield it.

Organizing/Planning for Leadership

  • We encourage members to invite friends and colleagues to join our ICSURJ chapter, and we invite people who came to the earliest meetings to recommit to plugging in.
  • Our leadership team is looking for more people to join us, to offer input on direction as well as time and energy to aid ICSURJ to create more opportunities for learning and teaching each other, to grow more responsive to community needs, and more faithfully fulfill the callings of our mission.

Personal Development

  • What are your primary motivations for showing up to do this work? How do your motivations influence the way you relate to others, and to the work?
  • How do you sustain yourself, or renew energy, or conserve it?
  • In what ways are you resistive to this work, and under what conditions?

Are you a registered member of the SURJ national organization? Go here to register and support:

And have you heard of Midwest Telegraph? (The purpose of Midwest Telegraph is to create a collaborative space for mid-westerners to move our best ideas to action.)

Movement for Black Lives are having webinars on building political power:

Be sure to check the calendar at https://icsurj.org/events/.