Accomplices in Eliminating Racial Bias, March 24 Conference Schedule

7:00 AM – 12:00 PM                Registration
7:00 AM – 1:00 PM                  Exhibits & Resources – Various Organizations
7:00 AM – 8:30 AM                 Breakfast & Opening
(Program begins at 8:00 AM)
8:30 AM – 11:30 AM                Keynote Speaker Jane Elliott

Jane Elliott will present a 3 hour lecture and workshop entitled The Anatomy of Prejudice

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM                Lunch & Facilitated Roundtable Discussions
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM                  Guest Panel

Presenters include: Sarah Bruch, Dr. Sandra McGee, Dr. Ain Grooms, Dave Kuker, and a representative of Communities of Hope.  The panel will focus on multidisciplinary work to eliminate racial bias in communities and youth serving institutions (i.e. schools,  juvenile court,  and communities)

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM                  Breakout Sessions

 Extended presentations from panelists regarding specific programming and successful tools for implementation

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM                  Self-Care Fair

Introducing the Spring Conference Keynote: Jane Elliott

 The Johnson County Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee is thrilled to announce that Jane Elliott will be the keynote speaker for our spring conference: Accomplices in Eliminating Racial Bias.


In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s  Jane Elliott gained national attention for a classroom experiment she conducted with her 3rd grade students in Riceville, Iowa.  This experiment inspired several books and documentaries, and is still referenced and taught today.
Her experiment, a simple lesson is discrimination, power, and privilege, forces people to experience a hint of what it is like to belong to a marginalized group in society. The experiment labels blue-eyed individuals as superior to brown-eyed individuals and in her classroom, Elliott encouraged blue-eyed children to treat brown-eyed children as their inferiors.  The groups are then reversed, and the blue-eyes belong to the marginalized group and the brown-eyes are the privileged group.
The blue-eyes/brown-eyes experiment eventually outgrew the classroom and Elliott began traveling around training groups, corporations, and individuals on diversity.  In fact, Elliott is often named as the pioneer of workplace diversity training.  She has been a long-time anti-racist activist and was the recipient of the National Mental Health Association Award for Excellence in Education.

Branstad signs SF2288: Juvenile Records Bill

On Wednesday morning, Iowa governor, Terry Branstad signed a bill into law that will positively impact juveniles who have come in contact with the law enforcement system.  Before this bill, juvenile records were, in most cases, available to the public.  After July 1, 2016 when this bill goes into effect, juvenile records will be kept confidential unless ordered by a judge.  The bill had support by both Republicans and Democrats, as well as advocacy groups.

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The Des Moines Register Runs Series “Black Iowa-Still Unequal?”

The series, which runs on Sundays, features topics ranging from disparities in education to criminal justice reform.  “Black Iowa-Still Unequal?” details the progress and lack thereof we have made in the state of Iowa.

Click on the link below to read the articles featured in the Black Iowa series.

The Supreme Court Announces 2012 Miller v. Alabama Ruling Applies Retroactively

In the 2012 case of Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court sided with the plaintiff and proclaimed that sentencing juveniles to life without parole violates the 8th amendment which bans cruel and unusual punishment. This is good news for over 2,000 inmates currently serving life without parole for crimes committed before the individuals reached adulthood. Justice Anthony Kennedy pointed to the culpability of youth and their ability for change as support for his ruling.

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U.S. Education Department Announces Voluntary Resolution of Iowa City, Iowa, Community School District Compliance Review

September 20, 2013–The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced today the successful resolution of a compliance review that was initiated at the Iowa City Community School District in Iowa City, Iowa. The review examined whether the school district discriminates against African American students on the bases of race and/or disability, in the pre-referral/referral and evaluation of these students for special education and in their placement in special education.

From the inception of the review, the district worked collaboratively with OCR. The district voluntarily entered into a resolution agreement prior to OCR’s making any compliance determinations.

The investigation revealed, however, that African American students continue to be enrolled in special education in the district at a rate that is disproportionate to their enrollment. In particular, in the 2012-2013 school year, African American students accounted for 2,222 of the 12,774 students, or 17.4 percent, enrolled in the district and were 407 of the 1,385 students, or 29.4 percent, in special education.

“Inappropriately placing students of color in special education programs can have adverse long-term educational consequences for these students,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for the Office for Civil Rights. “We appreciate the district’s commitment to working with OCR to address this important civil rights issue.”

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