(Iowa Civil Rights Commission; 2/23/98; 0800)
10 Iowa communities say yes to study circles on race
Ten Iowa communities have now formed sponsoring coalitions to plan and conduct community-wide study circles on racism and race relations. Burlington and Ottumwa are the latest to begin the work of sponsoring a series of small group discussions involving hundreds, even thousands, of ordinary people, from all walks of life.
Other communities with study circle sponsoring coalitions include: Des Moines, Denison, Dubuque, Muscatine, Sioux City, Storm Lake, Waterloo/Cedar Falls, and Fort Dodge/Webster County.
Eight to fifteen people meet four times, each time about 2 hours. With the help of a trained, neutral facilitator, the group talks about race and race relations in a democratic, safe environment. In session one, they talk about how race has affected them and their lives. In session two, they talk about the state of race relations in this country. In sessions three and four, they talk about what can be done to improve race relations, what they can do individually or as a group, and what government and corporations can do.
Study circles offer the participants the opportunity to share experiences and perspectives and to learn from each other. Study circles provide not only the chance to identify and explore common ground and goals, but to begin the work of finding real solutions.
Two years ago, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) began promoting the use of study circles as a way to activate more people and organizations in the fight against discrimination.
For more information about study circles or to obtain a copy of ICRC's quarterly newsletter Iowa Study Circles, call Don Grove at 515-281-8084 or 1-800-457-4416 ext. 1-8084, or visit the ICRC at its website, http://www.state.ia.us/government/crc.
(Contact: Don Grove 515-281-8084)