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Advancing Racial Equity: The Role of Government - Iowa

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Sheraton Iowa City Hotel

210 South Dubuque Street

Iowa City, IA 52240

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The conference will be led by the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. GARE is a joint project of the Center for Social Inclusion and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.

8:30 a.m. Check-in.

Program will run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Early Bird registration is $30 per person. After March 24 $45 per person. A limited number of scholarships, full or partial, to fund attendance for persons with financial need will be available. Registration ends March 31. There will be no onsite or walk-in registration.

A continental breakfast, morning and afternoon refreshments, and lunch will be provided to attendees.

If you are employed by the City of Iowa City or the City of Dubuque email to register for the conference.

This training is ideal for elected officials, government staff, educators, and anyone who cares about creating positive changes in communities.

Why Government?
Equity and inclusion are values of critical importance across Iowa. Many current inequities are sustained by legacies, structures, and systems that repeat patterns of exclusion. Consider how schools are funded and the relationship between racial and economic segregation in housing. These historically-based systems and structures perpetuate resource and opportunity gaps that ultimately show up as achievement gaps.

Clearly, we have not achieved a “post-racial” society, and although there is a strong relationship between race and class, simply talking about class is not enough. Taking a “color-blind” approach simply allows racial inequities to continue.

Local and regional governmental bodies have the ability to implement policy change at multiple levels and across multiple sectors that can drive larger systemic change in jobs, housing, health, education, and the criminal justice system.

Conference Objectives

  • Increase understanding of racial equity and why it matters.

  • Gain a common understanding of racial equity, explicit and implicit bias, and individual, institutional and structural racism.

  • Introduce new skills, including use of a racial equity tool, inclusive outreach and engagement, and communicating about race and equity.

Julie Nelson,
Executive Director for the Government Alliance on Race and Equity and a Senior Fellow with the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley. Julie is the former Director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights where she served eight years, providing both vision and hands-on work to Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative. She also served in other government positions including the City of Seattle Human Services Department, Administrative Services and Public Utilities, Housing and Urban Development, and Pima County Community Services in Tucson, Arizona.

Jesse Villalobos, Coordinator of Policy and Advocacy for the Center for Social Inclusion. Jesse’s former roles include leading regional policy and programmatic efforts at the National Conference for Community and Justice and heading social justice initiatives at The New School. Informed and inspired by movements for social change, Jesse has worked for racial justice in partnership with numerous grassroots groups, community-based organizations, and colleges and universities. As a seasoned consultant, Jesse has provided strategic support among activists and organizers, artists, policy makers, youth and students, educators, and media leadership, working to advance movements for transformative social change.

Gordon F. Goodwin,Government Alliance on Racial Equity Midwest Regional Project Manager at Center for Social Inclusion. Gordon specialties include organizational strategy development, program delivery and impact, and governance and leadership. Gordon has worked for 30 years with and for foundations, community development organizations and public: private sector consortia in metropolitan and rural settings. He has worked extensively with organizations that have formed collaborative efforts to advance their advocacy and public policy objectives—specifically, designing and facilitating working group meetings, trainings, governance discussions and organizational strategic alliances. Gordon’s has contributed to poverty reduction and racial equity public policy efforts with PolicyLink, Northwest Area Foundation, WK Kellogg Foundation, Foundation for the Mid-South, CFED and The Aspen Institute.

Dr. Raintry Salk, Research Analyst for the Metropolitan Council in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dr. Salk’s most recent research focused on park use among selected communities of color. The Metropolitan Council conducted over 20 focus groups with people of color to explore underlying barriers and issues that produced disparate impacts. The recommendations that were gleaned from the sessions were qualitatively analyzed and used to inform policy development.

Erin Stenson, Employee Development and Organizational Effectiveness Manager and Melissa Gombar, Employee Development and Organizational Effectiveness Specialist, both with the City of Madison, Wisconsin. The City of Madison’s Human Resources Department has worked over the past three years to incorporate racial equity and social justice into its operations.

Kelly Larson, Human Rights Director for the City of Dubuque, Iowa. The City of Dubuque is a member organization in the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE). Kelly has served as Human Rights Director in Dubuque since 1999, shifting the department from one focused solely on case investigations to one that strives to develop shared responsibility throughout the organization and the community for advancing equity and inclusion.

Katrina Farren-Eller, Coordinator for Inclusive Dubuque, a network of partners furthering equity and inclusion in Dubuque. The network supports equity education opportunities, creates and shares equity tools, and provides baseline data and information to help inform decisions and measure progress.

Dr. Sarah K. Bruch, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Director of the Social and Education Policy Research Program at the Public Policy Center at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on social inequality broadly, focusing on educational, racial and citizenship inequalities in particular. She is also the principle investigator leading a research-practice partnership with the Iowa City Community School District. Using a research-practice model, this partnership leverages social science and education policy research and practitioner knowledge to more effectively address persistent problems of policy and practice and improve students’ educational opportunities and outcomes.

Dr. Chris Barnum, a Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at St. Ambrose University(SAU) has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Iowa and is the director of graduate studies in Criminal Justice at SAU. He has authored numerous publications focusing on racial disproportionality in police traffic stop behavior and prison admissions as well as works investigating the effects of status and group membership on task group participation.

Lead-sponsors are the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), the City of
Iowa City and the City of Dubuque.

Co-sponsors are the City of Coralville, the City of North Liberty,
Johnson County, the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights and the University of Iowa Chief Diversity Office.

If you will need disability-related accommodations in order to participate in this program/event, please contact the Equity Director, Stefanie Bowers, at 319-356-5022 or at Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

Parking Use of parking garages in Iowa City is encouraged. The Dubuque Street garage or the Capitol Street garage will both work for easiest access to the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel. You can find information here:

Hotels near Downtown Iowa City

The Sheraton

The Hotel Vetro

Iowa House

Hampton Inn

Travel Lodge

Clarion Highlander

REGISTRATION CANCELATION POLICY Registration will be refunded minus a $10 processing fee through March 31, 2017. No refunds after this date.

Need More Information? Call 319-356-5022 or email

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Sheraton Iowa City Hotel

210 South Dubuque Street

Iowa City, IA 52240

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