Black Iowa News: News Update & Events Calendar – 1/26/22

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Welcome to the News Update & Events Calendar. Inside you will find news briefs and a list of Black History Month events I’ve curated, plus regular city and school board meetings and more.

Iowa Legislature: HF2053 – Education

  • Legislation introduced by State Rep. Sandy Salmon (R) HF 2053 references “so-called systemic” racism and other so-called controversial terms. Here’s one passage: “A teacher shall not be compelled by a policy of any state agency, school district, or school administration to affirm a belief in the so-called systemic nature of racism, or like ideas, or in the so-called multiplicity or fluidity of gender identities, or like ideas, against the teacher’s sincerely held religious or philosophical convictions.”

Free N95 masks available this week

  • Free N95 masks, which health experts recommend in the battle against the omicron variant, have been distributed by the Biden administration. The masks are available at local Hy-Vee grocery stores. According to Christina Gayman, assistant vice president for communications for Hy-Vee, via email, most Hy-Vee pharmacy locations have begun distributing the masks. It can vary by store, but most stores with pharmacies have a table set up near the pharmacy entrance with an employee who will hand out three free masks to each customer who requests it.
Hy-Vee employees organize a display of N95 masks. Photo courtesy of Hy-Vee.

How important is Black history or voting rights? Share your opinion with Black Iowa News for Black History Month

How often does the media ask you for your opinion? Black Iowa News wants to hear from you. Black Iowa News will publish short ????original opinions (your personal opinion)???? from Black Iowans during Black History Month on the topics of Black history and voting rights. Here’s your chance to speak up about the issues you care about. Share your thoughts on Black history or voting rights in the short Google Form below. It’s quick and easy. Quotes will be published throughout the month of February on Black Iowa News and its social media sites. The deadline is Friday, Jan. 28.????????

Des Moines

Do The Math 247’s “Let’s Strengthen Character” Character Building Program for Teens

Jan. 5 – Feb. 9

In person: 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays. John R. Grubb YMCA, 1611 11th St. Cost: Free. Email for more information: [email protected]. Program for teens. Topics to be covered include respect, etiquette, responsibility and stereotypes.


First Friday/Black Love

Feb. 4

In Person: 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4. Mainframe Studios, 900 Keo Way. Cost: Free. The First Friday Open Studio event celebrates Black History Month. According to the Facebook event page, the event will showcase ArtForce Iowa’s new location, including Valentine products by Design Fetish by Deshara, The Cookie Queen and Ladie Lex Scented Candles, City Sounds performance by Heath Alan, mono prints with The Blok, Come Pho Love menu options by The Tangerine Food Co, EmpowHER art sale and a new public art installation by James Bearden & Jay Vigon.

Gateway Dance Theatre — Celebrating 50 years — Presents SANAA YA SANAA: Celebrating Black History

Feb. 26

In person: 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26. Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Dupont Room, 909 Robert D. Ray Drive. Celebrate an afternoon of Black Cultural Arts. Free will donations encouraged. Opera star Simon Estes is the guest of honor. For more information, visit Gateway Dance Theatre.

  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Workshop
  • 1:30 p.m.-2 p.m. Refreshments
  • 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Showcase

Davenport/Moline, Illinois

The QC Black Business Expo & Health Fair

Feb. 25 & Feb. 26

In person: 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Feb. 25. MLK Interpretive Center, 501 N. Brady St., Davenport. VIP Welcome Reception. Network with sponsors, exhibitors and key business leaders from around the bi-state area.

In person: 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 26. South Park Mall, 4500 16th St., Moline, Illinois. The QC Black Business Expo & Health Fair is designed to showcase Black business owners and the entire Quad Cities community. The Quad City Empowerment Network, along with partners and participating organizations, have designed this event to spotlight quality Black businesses and the health needs of the Black community. The core goal of the health fair is to help bridge the health disparity gap in the Black community through health-related vendors and presentations that highlight the importance of health and the various services and programs in the QC community. For more information call 563-499-5701 or 563-570-5927 or email [email protected]

Iowa Democratic Black Caucus Meeting

ZOOM: 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6. Caucus training and guest speakers. Hosted by Al Womble, chair.

2022 Iowa Democratic Caucuses

Feb. 7

The Iowa Democratic Caucuses will be held on Feb. 7. Masks will be required, and COVID-19 vaccination is encouraged. According to the website, participants who are unable to join in person can still be nominated as a delegate or Central Committee member by another Democrat in attendance. Want to submit a platform resolution, print off the document and bring it to your caucus location. Some caucuses will be held virtually, some in person. Locations will be announced soon. Visit the website for more information.

Des Moines

North Side Community Recreation Center (Grubb YMCA)

The City of Des Moines will hold two more public meetings seeking input about the North Side Community Recreation Center. The meetings will be held at the Grubb YMCA, 1611 11th St.

  • 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Feb. 17
  • 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. March 24

Des Moines City Budget Listening Posts

In person: 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 29. Forest Avenue Library.

In person: 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15. South Side Library

The meetings, designed to solicit feedback from the public, will include a brief budget overview by Des Moines city officials and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with residents.

Day-long FY23 Budget Workshop (no public input)

In person: 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9. Des Moines City Hall.

????City: Council meetings and agendas

????School: Des Moines School board meetings

  • The board meets at 5:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of most months.


  • ZOOM: Meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

West Des Moines

????City: Council meetings and agendas

????School: West Des Moines school board meetings. School board meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays at 7 p.m. Workshops before the meetings are held at 5:15 p.m.


????City: Council meetings and agendas

????School: Johnston school board meetings


Iowa Capitol. Photo by Black Iowa News.

Commission Meetings

Thursday, Jan. 27

Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission

  • MEETING: 4:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Richard A. Clark Municipal Service Center, 2nd floor boardroom, 1551 E. MLK Jr. PKWY, Des Moines 50309.

Have an event for the calendar?

????If you have an event to publicize, please email [email protected]. In the subject line of the email put: BIN Calendar. Please include the event or meeting in the following order: time, date, place and cost. You may also include photos, links and files. *If the date of a meeting or event changes after publication, please email me and I will update the listing. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me. Thank you.

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