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"We must match our proclamations with courage": Remarks for Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday

Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker spoke about institutional racism, injustice, and discrimination at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids on Monday, January 15. You can watch his keynote address for the MLK Day Celebration here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

In 1963 President Kennedy was asked by a journalist if he felt that his Administration was pushing integration too fast or not fast enough, citing a recent Gallup poll that showed fifty percent of the country felt he was moving too quickly on issues of race. President Kennedy responded, “This is not a matter on which you can take the temperature every few weeks, depending on what the newspaper headlines might be. You judged 1863 after a good many years – its full effect. The same poll showed forty percent or so thought it was more or less right. I thought that was rather impressive, because it is a change and change always disturbs, and therefore I was surprised there wasn’t greater opposition.”

Great is the person who can understand how the present fits into the larger picture of history. The battles we fight today may be obscured and distorted by the detractors, but we fight for the future, knowing full well that one day, history will affirm the moral certainty of our cause.

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Standing in Solidarity Speech

On Saturday, February 4th, 2017, Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker joined several organizations from around the state at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to call for fair policing and justice reform. Below is the speech Supervisor Walker gave at the event. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Thank you all for coming here today as we stand in solidarity.

Thank you to Pastor Epps for opening the doors of this church for this very important community event.

And to the Mitchell family. We are all here for you today.

Since that fateful night in November, when Jerime Mitchell was fired upon three times at close range, with one bullet entering his neck, leaving him paralyzed, much has been said by many people in this community. These incidents tend to be controversial in nature for many reasons, one of them being our society tends to hold certain institutions as sacrosanct. And any time those institutions are challenged or questioned, our society divides itself into two camps: those who believe certain institutions are infallible and those who wish to hold all institutions to an equal account.

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The Case for Kurt Meyer for Iowa Democratic Party chair

Supporters of any candidate to lead the Iowa Democratic Party are welcome to post guest commentaries at Bleeding Heartland. Today’s entry is by Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker. You can read more about Meyer’s plans here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

He’s The Right Choice for Millennials and All Iowans

As a co-founder of The Political Party – an organization that seeks to better connect progressive millennials to our political system with the goal of affecting change – it is important to me that the next leader of the Democratic Party understand my peers; a generation of tech savvy, racially diverse, progressive idealists who believe that there is no problem that cannot be solved by innovation and creativity.

We’re more than the hipsters in skinny jeans and ironic t-shirts trope. We are a generation that still believes social and political progress is possible, because we have seen and reaped immeasurable benefits from unlikely partnerships and collaborations since birth. We understand and embrace the awesome power of technology. In fact, many of us don’t know a world without social media; powerful tools developed by young entrepreneurs who have created entirely new methods of communication. Now, I am smart enough to know that I cannot and should not attempt to speak on behalf of all millennials, but in the very least, I do know that we are diverse, we are nuanced, and capable of changing the world for the better.

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Eliminating Two Supervisors A Mistake

Much has been made about the number of elected supervisors on Linn County’s Board, with some arguing for a reduction from five members to three. While the current board has wisely put this question on November’s ballot, there are still some who are undecided about the best way forward. While I have taken a position on this issue, it is my ultimate hope that voters will take from my explanation a clearer picture of the consequences of reducing elected representation on the board.

If we reduce the Board from five members to three, rural communities will lose elected representation, good governance will be compromised, and cost-savings will be minimal. In fact, costs could rise over time if the pared-down Board hires staff to make up for the shortage.

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The Loneliest Number: Being Black in Iowa

(Thanks to Stacey Walker for sharing this perspective. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I used to loathe the end of January. Around that time, anxiety-ridden managers would start suggesting that I help organize the Black History Month activities for February. Bless their hearts. They either genuinely felt our staff needed to be more conscious of the contributions African Americans made to society, or somewhere in their manager handbook, this was mentioned in the cultural sensitivity part.

Growing up, I was always slated to read the “I Have A Dream,” speech in class or chosen to explain how the Underground Railroad operated without physical tracks. Back in 1st grade, when our progressive music teacher wanted us to learn about soulful pop music, she wrote a play and cast me as Michael Jackrabbit, the moonwalking bunny with a culturally ambiguous face.

All of this was a version of tokenism that I had become accustomed to before I even knew tokenism was a thing. Tokenism is race and gender agnostic. No one is safe. Consider the exemplary woman who has broken into the good ‘ole boys club of corporate America, or the lone gay man at a job  brimming with tough guys and their laughable displays of machismo, or in my case, the prototypical black face in nearly every social group to which I’ve belonged. Anyone can become a victim of tokenism, but it will always befall the Only One in the Room, a phrase that I’ve borrowed from a recent NPR article. The article, “On Wyatt Cenac, Key & Peele, And Being The Only One In the Room,” describes situations wherein there is only one minority in a group, otherwise known as the last 20 years of my life. Life is hard for the token, and it’s hard for the Only One. When you are both at once, it feels like playing a game of chess while balancing on a high wire.

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