The story of the Safe at School Sit-In

Julie Russell-Steuart is a printmaker and activist who chairs the Iowa Democratic Party’s Disability Caucus. -promoted by Laura Belin

The Urgency

On August 11, a Wednesday morning, four moms of school-aged kids arrived at the Iowa State Capitol to put on an event called the Safe at School Sit-In. Two of them had met the previous day, but this was the first time everyone had met each other in person. The fifth member was anxiously keeping an eye on her Facebook Messenger and waiting for the live feed from the Iowans for Public Education Facebook page.

Twelve days earlier, Erin Dahl and Julie Russell-Steuart, both disability advocates, had discussed wanting to do something about the failure of virtually every state institution to protect vulnerable kids and Iowans in general from COVID-19. The next day, Erin saw a post by Brook Easton on Educators for a Safe Return to School Facebook group, saying how it was incredible no one had organized a protest yet, and tagged Julie.

The post turned up more moms wanting to take action. A group was quickly formed and the first of many Zoom meetings and probably hundreds of Facebook Messages started.

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Transforming Trauma: Meeting the challenges facing youth

Nate Monson is executive director of Iowa Safe Schools. -promoted by Laura Belin

Collective trauma refers to the impact of a terrible experience that affects a group of people. Collective trauma is what we all are experiencing this year.

Our country has experienced collective trauma in the past but at no time have we had a pandemic, racial injustice, the derecho, a very divisive election, and an economic crisis larger than the Great Recession all at the same time.

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State Patrol must respect civil rights at Iowa Capitol

Iowa lawmakers have never enacted a “bathroom ban” targeting transgender people, but some State Patrol officers took it upon themselves to enforce that non-existent policy at the Capitol on March 12.

Security guards forced a large group of students to leave the building because some of the teens had used restrooms conforming to their gender identity.

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Events coming up this week

Lots going on at the state capitol this Tuesday: first, rival lobby days for the LGBT advocacy group One Iowa and Bob Vander Plaats’ umbrella organization FAMiLY Leader, which is reportedly bringing in ousted Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Later in the day, another pro-labor rally will be held on the west steps outside the capitol building. More details on those and other events coming up this week are after the jump.

As always, post a comment or send me an e-mail to let me know of public events that should be included on this calendar.

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