Diversity

Sioux City Community Schools

A local disability rights organization is looking at taking legal action against  Sioux City Community Schools if modifications are not made to the district’s virtual academy.

The district launched the VIBE Academy this school year to offer a virtual option for students.

The Executive Director of Disabilities Resource Center of Siouxland, Don Dew told Siouxland Public Media last month the program does not allow for some students with disabilities to take part.

“What they are doing is depriving children with disabilities the same right as other student have.”

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A new law going into effect in Iowa on July 1st is problematic for Sioux City’s top human rights official. Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer has more.

On Tuesday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a new law banning teaching about white privilege and racial equity in public schools, colleges, and universities. The measure also applies to training for state agencies.

The Director of the Sioux City Human Rights Commission, Karen Mackey, says the measure is short-sided and comes from a place of white privilege. 

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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law putting new limits on government agency diversity trainings and school lessons related to racism and sexism.

The new law says trainings and lessons must not promote certain ideas, including that the US and the state of Iowa are systemically racist or sexist.

In a statement, Reynolds claims that “critical race theory” teaches kids to judge people based on their race or gender. She says, quote, “I am proud to have worked with the legislature to promote learning, not discriminatory indoctrination.”

The murder of George Floyd prompted protests across the country and highlighted the need for more awareness and education.

Last week, a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts.

Chauvin now faces sentencing that could put him in prison for the rest of his life.

Last summer after Floyd’s death, the Junior League of Sioux City held a discussion on diversity with local leaders.

The conversation continued on Tuesday, April 20th at Camp High Hopes with the President of the Local Chapter of the NAACP Ike Rayford.

Sioux City, IA - July 9, 2020
Siouxland Public Media

A discussion on diversity brought local leaders together Thursday night for an honest look at racism.

“History is repeating itself, it just looks very different than the 1960s,” said Treyla Lee. 

“If you see something wrong, then stand up for it,” said Mike Brown.

Because of social distancing measures, a small group heard insight on what it means to be a person of color, and how to embrace people of different backgrounds.

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A winter weather system moving across the country is dropping snow, sleet and freezing rain on eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa. Most schools in the region canceled classes and activities for today ahead of the storm system. Residents in Nebraska awoke to a blanket of snow and wind chills well below zero. The snow hit Iowa later in the morning. 

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for much of eastern Nebraska into central parts of the state that will remain in effect until early Saturday morning. 

Storm Lake Police Department

At the end of the year, the Public Safety Director and long-serving Chief of Police in Storm Lake, Iowa is retiring.  Mark Prosser moved to Storm Lake back in the fall of 1989. 

Chief Prosser talked to Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer about his career, community, his next endeavor and an issue he’s passionate about, immigration.

Chief Prosser provided a few statistics to highlight the diversity in his community.

People living in the community speak 30 different languages. 

Siouxland Public Media

A new art exhibit in Sioux City asks a simple question on the surface, “What does it mean to be American?” 

This rare art initiative showcases a diverse dialogue for people living in Siouxland.

“Looking for America: Siouxland” features works by a dozen artists at the Betty Strong Encounter Center.

The pieces include photos, mixed media, graphic design.   

"It’s a pig.”

“Whole Hog” by Rich Yates shows parts of the animal with words sometimes used to describe others,  like “them”, “different”, “deviant” and “strange.”

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The governor’s proposed constitutional amendment to automatically restore felon voting rights won’t win approval from the whole Iowa Legislature this year that’s

after Republicans on a Senate committee declined to consider the proposal ahead of a statehouse deadline. 

One of Republican Governor Kim Reynolds’ top priorities this year is taking the first step in passing a constitutional amendment to restore felon voting rights after a person completes their sentence.

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Republicans on an Iowa Senate committee say they won’t consider the governor’s proposed constitutional amendment to automatically restore felon voting rights when a person completes their sentence. That effectively kills the proposal for this year.  

Senator Brad Zaun of Urbandale says there wasn’t enough support among his fellow Republicans on the committee to pass it.