Iowa Civil Rights Commission
January 10, 2002
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
211 East Maple Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309-1858
David Leshtz, Chairperson, brought the Commissionersí Meeting of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission to order. Present were: Alicia Claypool and Gilberto Solivan. Also present were: Corlis Moody, Executive Director, Ron Pothast, Business Administrator and Tina Hayes, Public Services Supervisor.
Recognition of Public and Press
The Chair asked that those present introduce themselves. Recognized were Kerry Hainline, Investigator and Webmaster, ICRC, Pam Rose, Manager, Employment Investigations, ICRC and Len Sandler, University of Iowa, Rudy Simms, National Conference for Community and Justice, Mikel Johnson, Board Member of NCCJ, Dr. Richard King, Member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Planning Committee.
Approval of Minutes
The November 8, 2001 minutes were not available for approval.
Gilberto Solivan - No report
David Leshtz - Wanted Commissioners to know that, at the last Commissionersí meeting at the Islam Center in Cedar Rapids, the housing specialist with the Cedar Rapids Commission stated that her two sons were gay and thanked the Commission for passing the sexual orientation resolution.
Alicia Claypool - No report
Len Sandler opened his presentation by stating he supervises the Legal Clinic at the University of Iowa and works with the Great Plains Disability Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC). Mr. Sandler stated he has been in Iowa twelve and one half years and provides free representation to persons with disabilities to eliminate barriers. Below is a listing of the issues Mr. Sandler addressed:
David Leshtz suggested the Commission take on some of the issues that were raised during the presentation. Alicia Claypool suggested that the Staff review Mr. Sandlerís list of issues and bring back some options for the Commissioners to consider at the next meeting.
Rudy Simms began his presentation stating that in 1995 the Los Angeles School System removed mascots from the schools. He stated there was a need to continue to strip mascots from the schools. He asked that the Commission develop a statement about mascots in the State of Iowa.
Mikel Johnson supports the issue of removing mascots from schools, as she is a Native American. She further stated that it is important to the State of Iowa, as there are so few Native Americans to take a stand.
David Leshtz posed the question as to who is responsible to eliminate the mascots and why should the Commission focus on this issue instead of focusing, for example, on the incarceration of African Americans.
The answer to the first question as answered by Rudy Simms is the school boards and Department of Education. He further stated that Iowa is number one in the incarceration of African Americans and Native Americans.
Ms. Johnson stated that national origin is the basis for taking action on this issue. She further stated that it is a fabrication of who they are and that this issue is no less important than incarceration.
Dr. King stated that he has been working on the mascot issue for ten years. The reasons for the removal are that persons are miseducated which creates cultural illiteracy, dehumanizes Native Americans, fosters victimization of Native Americans and harm with installation of shame, and devalues them.
David Leshtz stated that he would draft a letter for the Commissioners approval on the removal of mascots from the schools.
Executive Directorís Report
Corlis passed around a card for Connie Gronstal from the Commissioners.
Sally needs bios and pictures for the Annual Report.
On January 23 and 24, 2002, the Department of Education is having a conference on Educational Equity that the Commissioners are invited to attend.
Corlis asked the Commissioners if they would revisit the mission statement of the Commission for Iowa Excellence or have the staff address it. Alicia suggested staff and then the Commissioners would look at it. It was agreed that the next meeting would be devoted to further discussion of the Commissionís priority issues, possible additional issues, and how and where the Commission could focus its efforts.
Corlis turned their attention to the report on The Over Representation of African Americans in Prison and stated the Commission has been asked to track cases filed by the various races.
David Leshtz stated that on April 27, 2002 there would be a conference on Latino-Latinaís in Iowa City and asked the Commission to co-sponsor this event.
Next Meeting Date
The date of the next meeting is February 14, 2002 at the office of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission at 10:00 AM.
The meeting adjourned at 12:15 PM.