Free Workshop Titled “Being Black In Iowa” To Be Held at NIACC Auditorium

North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) will hold a workshop about “Being Black In Iowa” on Monday, October 2, in the North Iowa Community Auditorium on the NIACC campus from 9:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. The class is sponsored by NIACC’s Lifelong Learning Institute and the public is invited to attend free of charge, no registration is required.

When we think about what it means to be a person of color in Iowa, the question that becomes most pressing is: How is it that Iowa continues to rank among the worst states in our country in all of the ways in which racial equity, justice and well-being are measured? These topics will be discussed in the following sessions:

Race and Our School Systems
Instructor: Daniel Spikes
How can we increase awareness of the disparities surrounding race in our school systems in order to promote best practices to “ameliorate these disparities”?

Iowa’s African American History
Instructor: Krystal Gladden
Iowa was one of the first states in the U.S. to officially integrate its public schools in 1867, just two years after the Civil War ended. This and so much more is part of Iowa’s wealth of African American history. From York, the first African American in Iowa and member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, to the early 1900s integrated coal mining town of Buxton, African American’s have made an indelible mark on Iowa’s history and culture.

21st Century Jim Crow: What do the data suggest?
Instructor: Corey Harris
One of the best outcomes of the No Child Left Behind Act, which was enacted on January 8, 2002, by George W. Bush, was the requirement that all schools break out results on annual state tests by both the student population as a whole and by “subgroup” students. According to the law, schools that did not meet achievement targets for subgroup students were to be subject to increasingly serious sanctions. Although different groups of traditionally overlooked students–including racial minorities, students in special education, English-language learners, and low-income students—were now part of every school’s focus, it did next to nothing to close the behavioral and academic disparity gaps that have long exited between non-white and white students, especially black students. Any truth or data which even remotely suggest any parallels to the practices of Jim Crow must be effectively addressed. Current data suggest that we need a grand wake-up call in the midst of a long slumber of indifference to racial minority, disabled, English-language learner, homeless, and low-income students.

The Law and Racial Justice
Instructor: Daniel Zeno
What is the current pending and proposed legislation affecting people of color, and what are the legal issues concerning racial justice being addressed by the ACLU of Iowa in the courts? How we can all engage our legislators and local councils, boards and commissions to make the changes that are necessary in our State?

Please contact Darshini Jaywardena, Director of the Lifelong Learning Institute, at 641-422-4271 or email with any questions.

NIACC’s Lifelong Learning Institute focuses on fun, friendship and college level learning. Members can take advantage of short courses, lectures and discussions, study circles, social events, civic engagement opportunities and more. Topics for the offerings are based on member requests and interests. For more information on NIACC’s Lifelong Learning Institute, visit, email or call 641-422-4358 or toll-free 1-888-GO NIACC, ext. 4358.

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