FEARLESS United States Senator Urban Education: Kamala Harris Arts & Music McArthur Binion Health: War in the Mind May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 1 National >>> View P2. KCCI’S RHEYA SPIGNER RECEIVES AWARD >>> UNITED STATES SENATOR KRISTEN GILLIBRAND

INDEX DISCLAIMER The Des Moines Urban Experience provides news, opinions and articles as a service to our readers. The views and opinions, political endorsements or statements expressed in the Des Moines Urban Experience publication do not necessarily represent the writers, columnists, editors, publisher, management or its agents. The Des Moines Urban Experience reserves the right to edit or not publish comments and/or articles in printed, mobile or digital format. Therefore, we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy or reliability of information written by external parties. No Part of any of our publication, whether in print or digital may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, photocopying, electronic, mechanical or otherwise without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

MAY 2019 8 16 Art & Music 17 25 SUBMIT YOUR NEWS TO: dsmurbannews@gmail.com Join our email club at: joindsmurban@gmail.com Spirituality Community 43 Public Affairs Health BECOME AN OUTLET OF THE URBAN EXPERIENCE MAGAZINE Contact Dwana Bradley at contactdsmurban@gmail.com ADVERTISE WITH THE URBAN EXPERIENCE MAGAZINE dsmurbanads@gmail.com May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 3 What’s Inside?

WRITERS & STAFF Editor-In-Chief Dwana Bradley Contributors Bert Moody Pastor Rosezine Wallace Hal Chase Margo Jones Gary Lawson Editor Lindsay Schwab Celeste Lawson Lori A. Young Pastor James Wilson Greg Harris Angela M. Jackson Teresa Bradley Copy Editor Virgina Smith Shyasia Barker Cle’Shai Harden Dr. Eric Johnson Jeremy Barewin Tiffany Braxton Donnetta Austin MAGAZINE OUTLETS Broadlawns 1801 Hickman Road, Des Moines, IA 50314 CareMore 1530 East Euclid, Des Moines, Iowa 50313 Cardinal Cleaners 1245 21st, Des Moines IA 50311 Cardinal Cleaners 835 Hull Ave, Des Moines, IA 50316 Central Library 1000 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309 DMACC Urban Campus 1100 7th Street, Des Moines, IA 50314 DSM Brew Coffee Co. 300 Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy, Suite 140, Des Moines, Iowa 50309 Drake Diner 1111 25th Street, Des Moines, IA 50311 Eastside Library 2559 Hubbell Ave. Des Moines, Iowa 50317 Evelyn Davis Center 801 Suite #3, University Ave, Des Moines IA 50314 Fifields Pharmacy 501 University Ave. Des Moines, IA 50314 Iowa-Nebraska NAACP 1620 Pleseant Suite #210, Des Moines, IA 50314 Forest Library 1326 Forest Ave, Des Moines, IA 50314 Franklin Library 5000 Franklin Ave. Des Moines, Iowa 50310 Hy-Vee 3330 Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy, Des Moines, IA 50310 John R. Grubb YMCA 11th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50314 Johnston Library 6700 Merle Hay Rd. Johnston, Iowa 50131 Northside Library 3516 5th Ave. Des Moines, Iowa 50313 Mr. Bibbs 2705 6th Ave, Des Moines, IA 50313 Senior Polk County 2008 Forest Ave, Des Moines IA 50314 Smokey Row Coffee Co. 1910 Cottage Grove, Des Moines, Iowa 50314 Southside Library 1111 Porter Ave. Des Moines, Iowa 50315 The Great Frame Up 5515 Mills Civic Parkway Suite #150, West Des Moines, IA 50266 The Des Moines Civil and Human Rights 602 Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines IA 50309 The Urban Dreams 601 Forest Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50314 Traditions Grooming Parlor 1111 E. Army Post Road Ste. 154 Urbandale Public Library 3520 86th Street, Urbandale, IA 50322 Urbandale Chamber of Commerce 2830 100th Street, Suite 110, Urbandale, IA 50322 West Des Moines Library 4000 Mills Clive Pkwy, West Des Moines, Iowa 50365 The Zone of Comfort 3829 71st Street, Suite B, Urbandale, IA 50322 Also Available at churches, our directory can be found on our website at dsmurban.org Graphic Designer Ashle` Easley Howell Dixon Tenelle Thomas (Queen T) Dani Relle

Every 2 seconds someone’s identity is stolen. We’re fighting back with the AARP Fraud Watch Network. It provides resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud so you can protect yourself and your family. It’s free of charge for everyone—members, non-members and people of all ages. Because for more than 50 years AARP has been committed to safeguarding Americans’ financial futures. aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork To request a free Fraud Watch program in your community, e-mail us at IAaarp@aarp.org or 1-866-554-5378. Watchdog Alerts / Tips & Resources / Free for Everyone May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 5

Editor Message CONGRATULATIONS! I’ve waited for the month of May 2019 to come since the day you were born on September 3rd, 2000. The moment I held you in my arms I fell in love with you. I admit I felt overwhelmed, nervous, and unsure of myself because now I had a little person depending on me. I remember going to my parents’ house for two weeks and I tried to soak in all that I could from my own mother about being a mother knowing when I left their house, I was heading to Ames on my own to pursue a degree and raise you on my own. It was you and I against the world, we had a bond that has carried us through. I’ve watched you grow over the years, and you never wanted to leave my side. As your mom I wanted to make sure I was doing the best for you. I pray that you always felt protected, loved, and cared for. The moment I realized you were going to be ok was when you lost your dad. He was taken away from you and your brother way too soon, but I saw something in you that I’ve never seen before. I saw growth take place in you as you forgave the man who took your father from you. I watched you speak words in the court room as you looked him in the eyes and said these simple words, “I forgive you”. I know it May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 7 won’t be easy as you walk across that stage and a piece of you will feel lost without your dad, but when you look up you will see the village of people who love and are so proud of you. I’ve waited for this moment since we met, and I want you to know that I’ve never been prouder of you than I am at this moment. I have no doubt that you are going to grow into a young lady who will be guided by the Spirit, and will treat everyone with love. On May 25th I release you into adulthood knowing that you are going to be an amazing woman who will make an impact on everyone that crosses your path. I want to congratulate you Nautika Ann-Marie Bradley-Norman on your upcoming graduation. As my daughter, you’ve touched my heart and every part of our motherdaughter journey has been filled with good, bad, sad, and happy moments, but we made it, you made it! I’ve told you this all your life, but I’ll say it one more time. Keep your hands in God’s hand, trust in Him and He will never lead you wrong. I love you! The best is yet to come! -Dwana Bradley Dwana Bradley , Editor of Urban Experience Magazine These last eighteen years I’ve shared all that I’ve learned in life and have given you all that I could.


Arts & Music DES MOINES, IOWA – As a local custom frame retailer and art gallery, The Great Frame Up in West Des Moines enjoys supporting the visual arts. This month we introduce readers to a modern painter and artist originally from Macon, Mississippi– McArthur Binion. Career In her recent article, Hilarie M. Sheets shares, “McArthur Binion had been creating art almost completely under the radar for four decades, handling his own occasional sales and raising two children in Chicago on a teacher’s salary.” Now Mr Binion — at age 72— has received a graduate degree from the prestigious Academy Cranbrook of “Nobody’s going to tell me what to say about my work . . . For me, if it wasn’t going to be on your own terms, it’s not worth it.” - Mr. Binion, New York Times March 24, 2019 McArthur Binion (born 1946) is an American artist based in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a BFA from Wayne State University (1971) in Detroit, Michigan and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He has been a Professor of Art at Columbia College in Chicago since 1992. Early life McArthur Binion was born in 1946 on a cotton farm in Macon, Mississippi. He began picking cotton at age 3 as one of 11 children. By 1951, his family of 18 had moved to Detroit where the adults found jobs in an auto plant. In 1973 McArthur Binion moved to New York, where he lived until his move to Chicago in 1991. Art. Museums and international collectors are embracing his artwork. His large canvases, minimalist grids painted in oil stick over collages of personal documents, are fascinating and engaging. “With his work selling for up to $450,000 he can easily travel first class.” Sheets writes. Work McArthur Binion’s work primarily consists of minimalist abstract paintings, created using crayons, oil stick and ink, often on rigid surfaces such as wood or aluminum. For many years, Binion has been incorporating laserprints as a collaged ground on top of which he applies other mediums. Binion says that what he takes away from minimalism in his creative process is “that you want to do your own stuff in your own image.” His work has been compared to Dorothea Rockburne, Robert Mangold, Robert Ryman and John’s “The Dutch Wives” paintings at times. McArthur Binion identifies as a “Rural Modernist,” and says that his work “begins at the crossroads—at the intersection of Bebop improvisation and Abstract Expressionism.” His work is influenced by modernist artists such as Kasimir Severinovich Malevich, Piet Mondrian, and Wifredo Lam. He is considered “expressionistic”. McArthur Binion’s gridded abstract paintings have garnered significant attention. In his most recent exhibition (the DNA Study series), Binion’s paintings aren’t fully abstract, but attempt to talk about the black experience and his personal history at the same time. Acting as a kind of template for gridded marks in black, white and occasionally brightly colored oil-paint-stick layered on top, are pages from Binion’s 1970’s handwritten phone books, passport ID and negatives of his birth certificate. To fully experience McArthur Binion’s artwork the observer must get close to the piece of art. Underneath the horizontal and vertical lines of various hues there is a story that is being told to the audience. McArthur Binion painstakingly combines his personal story with abstract shapes and patterns. Ghost: Rhythms, . . . shows the influence of action painting, Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. McArthur Binion pulls stylistic tropes common to folk artists as well, borrowing quilting patterns, layering photographic imagery and motifs and grids. He does all this while using one implement: his characteristic “crayon,” or paint stick, which allowed him to move past oil paint. May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 9

COMMUNITY Arts & Music “In 1972 when I started to use them, they were basically industrial marking sticks,” he recalls. McArthur Binion effectively converts an elementary tool into a refined hand-held instrument. He thrives in the effort of that conversion, having developed an ornate and labored approach that demands strenuous hours, and— as Binion has noted—resonates with the cotton-picking of his childhood. He had to train himself to be ambidextrous to negotiate hand fatigue, and works an entire surface of a painting in one sitting, before returning to rework that surface the next day or week or month. Some works take years to complete. Depending on how long he lets the paint dry, it becomes more or less malleable, responding to his hand like pigmented, sculptural putty. What results is a mash-up of pointillism. “The part I took from Minimalism is that you want to do your own stuff in your own image,” Binion says in the release for this show, and this is what he always did, as one can see in the exhaustive yet delicate marks of Icicle: Juice from 1976, which emanate an uncanny shimmer. Small works like MAB: 1971: VIII, 2015, almost naively ram a puzzle of Binion’s portrait ID photos (the kind we all know and don’t necessarily love) directly up against the artist’s overlaid lines of oil bar, but the outcome is phenomenal. Binion’s work isn’t specifically race-related, but the pictures of the artist in his youth (with rounded afro) take stock of unaccounted for signifiers that collapse into his own particular story. Lar Painting: also sideswipe racial connotation with color as racial terminology while also ratcheting up the artist’ litany fr underpainting to Jasper John’ shifting avalanche of cr marks. Like many successful artists that fit cr oppositions: line and shape, figure and ground, image and abstraction, copy and original, color and black & white. His modus operandi is to somehow magically blend an assault of binaries into a single, unified emblem of the unique and complicated self. McArthur Binion’s work has been featured in exhibitions at numerous galleries and institutions including the following solo exhibitions: Kavi Gupta, Chicago, USA McArthur Binion: Seasons (2016); Galerie Lelong, New York, USA McArthur Binion: Re: Mine (2015); and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, USA

COMMUNITY Arts & Music westdesmoines.thegreatframeup. com and our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ tgfuwdmiowa. Please follow us on Pinterest www.pinterest.com/ tgfuwdm and Twitter @tgfuwdm. About The Great Frame Up Founded in 1972, The Great Frame Up, Inc. is a custom picture framer, offering more than 1,000 custom frames, mat styles, ready to hang framed art and local artwork. The West Des Moines location of The Great Frame Up opened in 2005 and is located at 5515 Mills Civic Parkway in the West Glen and is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10- 6pm; Thursday 10- 8pm & Saturday 105pm. Art | Memories Conservation Materials | Commercial & In-Home Consultation Bring in this ad for 30% Off Your Custom Framing Order! West Glen Town Center 5515 Mills Civic Parkway #150 West Des Moines, IA 50266 515-226-2310 westdesmoines.thegreatframeup.com For millions of prints - shop our online store shopthegreatframeupart.com May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 11

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You Are Invited To A BUILDING COMMUNITY GROUNDBREAKING WEDNESDAY, MAY 29, 2019 10:00am–11:00am Betts DMACC Urban Campus Building 1, Student Lounge 1100 7TH University Ave. Urban Campus Street, Des Moines, IA 50314 Day Ave. Parking is available in Lot A, located between Building 1 and 2. School Ave. Laurel Ave. Please RSVP your attendance by May 24 to Shelby Nelson, DMACC Foundation, 515-964-6229 or foundation@dmacc.edu. DMACC URBAN CAMPUS May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 13 DMACC.edu/Urban | 800-362-2127 | 3rd St. 5th St. ➞ 6th St. ➞ ➞ 7th St. 9th Ave. 9th Ave. ➞ ➞ ➞ ➞ ➞


SPIRITUALITY For Entering into a New Season in Honor of Celebrating You! by Donnetta Austin Say hello to the new things that lie ahead of you and goodbye to the old. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord”, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Engage in the process of change with an expected end of hopefulness. God said “I AM” John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him; I am the way, the truth; and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me. God is whatever you need him to be during this season in your life. Never hesitate to call upon the friend we have in Jesus. He is our rock, our source. He controls the outcome. Let loose of the weight. There is fruit being developed in the middle of the disruption, chaos, or frustration. The delay is definitely going to be worth it. You have a responsibility to trust in Him. This is an opportunity to get into preparation and exchange the gift of becoming a blessing. God will give you the ability to do it in spite of what you’re up against. We flourish through our experiences, and you lack in nothing. You have the whole armor of God. Author Donnetta Austin, Amazon “Never Retire God”, Email be.encouragedbyone@gmail.com May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 15

KCCI’s Rheya Spigner Receives an Award from Iowa State University On April 9th, 2019 Rheya Spigner KCCI reporter and anchor was recognized by the Greenlee School of Journalism at Iowa State University for her reporting on social issues. Spigner has been leading KCCI’s Project CommUNITIY initiative by focusing on local leaders who are working toward common ground on divisive issues. The Greenlee School and Kappa Tau Alpha Diversity & Inclusion Award is an annual recognition for a professional journalist who promotes ethical storytelling that broadens people’s understanding. Honorees are nominated by faculty and staff and selected by the Greenlee Diversity Subcommittee. “Rheya’s reporting has expanded Iowans’ awareness of the diversity that exists here in Iowa and helped viewers see beyond their own viewpoints and experiences. She sets a great example for aspiring journalists and uses her voice to make our community a better place,” -Kelly Winfrey, Greenlee School Assistant Professor

COMMUNITY Below is Rheya’s speech she gave before receiving the award: There are moments in life when your purpose is highlighted, and this is one of them. I have over time narrowed my gravitation towards the many aspects of news and journalism to social issues. News encompasses social issues yes, but there is a deeper connection to finding the “ why” of a person’s beliefs, actions and heritage or ideals that come with it. It’s been a journey to understand the beauty of that. While in college at Arizona State’s Cronkite School of Journalism my professor, a former CNN reporter Aaron Brown thoroughly convinced me that I would be an investigative journalist; that THAT was the way of connection. Although some of you will go off to be fierce investigative journalist, I have learned I will not be one of them and I’m ok with that. My first job was a Multi Media Journalist. The journalists that literally do it all. If you take that route you will learn A LOT and also be exhausted. Willing to go wherever I needed to start my career I started off in a regressive and small part of Georgia called Albany. Here I would make lifelong friends, understand what it means to be a journalist of integrity and did I say exhausted? All. The. Time. This is also where I learned how important my representation was in the Newsroom. How much my community looked to me for integrity and for perspective. How much the color of my skin would be so relevant to some of my stories and withholding for others. I would continue through my journey in Georgia learning and pushing my boundaries on the ability to create and empathize with others around me. Every day was a challenge and nourishing and would fully play in to what I know now to be my responsibility as a journalist and a woman of color. Coming to Iowa, of course I received a warm welcome. And although I believe in the cultural perspectives of ALL people; I have found myself, in the last three years gravitating toward stories that reflect the aura of my homeland Los Angeles; Perspectives of versatility and diversity. Stories that can convey a perspective that I’ve felt in my own heart. Stories, that show you May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 17 the soul to a person, topic or problem you might have not even known existed. Out of all the negativity in the world we have to remember that people are beautiful. To me, it is a privilege and honor to understand the origins of someone’s passion or the “why” within cultural practices. This Community initiative is a blessing that I was trusted to turn into my own vision. It’s incredible to take a glimpse into community leaders’ passion while I follow my own. So, thank you so much for the recognition and for the validation; That I am exactly where I am supposed to be. That my perspective matters. I get to walk into a job that I love every single day hoping that I’m making a difference, hoping that my representation is inspiration for a little girl who looks like me looking at her tv screen. Hoping that my adversity is a gateway to a conversation that makes someone feel related to, so they can be open, and I can tell their story. Hoping that someone will really hear it. So, thank you, thank you for listening. Make sure to check Rheya out on KCCI news channel 8 on the morning and noon news.

LIVIN’ ON PURPOSE THE POWER OF DISCERNMENT by Eric Johnson The responsibility each of us has to live this life on and with purpose is an awesome obligation. It requires us to make decisions about what does and does not feed our soul. When we are in dark places and the road we are traveling seems long, arduous, and unforgiving, the central question we face often is: what do I do next? What frequently alludes many of us is the sober notion that our actions are born out of the hopes and fears in our hearts. There is no question that we are often facing circumstances that are not entirely of our making. We are not so much defined by the circumstances in which we find ourselves but we are always held to account for our responses. In this reality the power of discernment can often serve as our life line in overwhelming moments of grief, frustration, pain, bewilderment, and even anger. In its essence discernment is the ability to differentiate between what heals our spirit and what does not. In a spiritual sense discernment represents the effort to distinguish those things that draw us closer to the “Most High.” Discernment is a tool that we can use to evaluate the status of our spiritual health. It is not the magic of clairvoyance, where any of us can came to see the future. Discernment is not an ability that some us have and some us don’t. It is a sensibility that we can develop that connects us to an awareness of a greater appreciation for the role of purpose in our lives. Certainly, the power of discernment is not limited to spiritual contexts. We must also make discernments about people, things and circumstances in our lives that bring us chaos or peace. Living with purpose requires each of us to make judgments about the direction of our lives and to make course corrections that move us toward our desired destinations. None of the benefits offered by discernment are without struggle and effort. As a matter of living this life that is as it should be. It requires no work, grace, or discernment to look into the lives of others and assess their perceived lack of worthiness. In fact, every moment any one of us spends doing that takes us away from the valuable work we need to do to discover the where a bouts of our own spiritual nourishment. Each of us who draws breath in this life are beholden to forces that we are yet to understand, and more importantly we are subjected to a time line that is not of our making. If we spend our limited time here simply chasing the empty righteousness of the judgment of others then that too will be something for which we will have to account. It is without doubt that each of us is in need of the all the grace that we are afforded and as a consequence the power to discern is present to help each of us continue to move toward the light even on those occasions when we seem to be surrounded by the darkness. Discernment is not something that we can do for others, we can only do it for ourselves because we can only feel with our own hearts. We should be required to give maximum effort to realize our best selves and bring into our surroundings all the elements necessary to make it so. It is the only sure-fire way to discern our worthiness. We are all worthy of the power of discernment, but we are also required to do the work to have it. None of us are doing the work 100% of the time which is why grace exists for us all. However, the more work we do the better off we tend to be. Discernment is not the empty righteousness of the judging others as less than.

COMMUNITY To be sure, we have to discern who serves our better selves socially, politically, economically, and in other way in which this life is lived. However, we must always approach this effort with the humble understanding that we are all subordinated to forces that are not in our control but those things we can impact for our good we have an obligation to do so. The power of discernment is impacted by all our vulnerabilities that in include fear, pride, shame, and disappointment; but it still serves as one of the most effective tools in our possession to guide us on a journey where the answers are few but the questions are infinite. Living this life with and on purpose has few guarantees and so let us make sure that we find reasons to love, laugh, and be grateful, because our time here is not unending. As always living on purpose invites you to look into the mirror every day and smile. The power to discern is just another way for us to connect to that which makes us better. Peace and Blessings! Check me out on social media Twitter: Strategies2Succeed @BeyondSelfHelp1 Facebook: Eric Johnson/strategies2succeed Instagram: dr.eric_johnson (strategies2succeed) May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 19

A Tribute to my Mother - Malinda L. Ward Haynes I never want to miss an opportunity to say how much I thank God for giving me to you. I thank you for introducing God to me. I’ve always known you did the best you could with the knowledge and skills you had. Your life’s work has been service and training your children in the word of God; and we are all the better for that (whether we show it or not). I love caring for you as you did for me. God put us together for such a special reason. All my love, forever, Gretchen Arleen Haynes Woods www.zumi.com facebook.com/zumicollection Twitter @ZumiCollection

COMMUNITY CONGRATS 2019 GRADUATES Graduation Messagebecome a credit repair agent. The reason I become a Credit Repair Agent was to help myself and others on that we as African Americans may not aware of. I believe I can help others by leading by example. I will be graduating from Upper Iowa University with a double bachelor’s degree in human services and Psychology on May 4, 2019. My goals after I complete college is to continue to be the best mother, keep learning, living life to the fullest and hopefully make a lot of money. My name is LaZondra V Harrington. I’m a mother of 1 beautiful pre-teen daughter and a dog. I’m not the normal female that graduated high school and went straight to college like most. I was the female that wanted to party, work and make money. School wasn’t a part of my life until I hit a hard time. During my hard time, I needed a change not just for me but for my daughter’s life and future. So, when I made up my mind, I decided to enroll in Upper Iowa University. I didn’t know what I wanted to study, but I knew I liked to be around children and I always questioned why they do the things they do. So, I sat down with my advisor and came to an agreement to pursue a double major in Human Services and Psychology. During the two years I attended Upper Iowa University, it wasn’t a easy rode for me. I worked hard every day being a full-time college student, mother, aunt, sister, cousin and friend. Yes, I had days and nights I cried and complained during the hard times, but GOD gave me strength to get through anything. Wearing so many hats in life, I decided to also The words that I will keep telling myself is that this wasn’t my plan but GOD’S PLAN.... I’M BLESSED!!! -LaZondra V. Harrington Message to a GraduateRamaun, I am so proud of the young man you have become. You are so mature, ambitious, and self-motivated I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you. Keep pressing forward and remember to keep God first in your life. As long as you continue to do that, things will continue to work in your favor. I love you and am so very proud of you. Love, Mom May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 21

COMMUNITY IOWA SISTER STATES Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan Information compiled by Iowa Sister States executive director, Heather Jones The oldest sister state relationship that the state of Iowa has is our relationship with Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan. This relationship blossomed in a very Iowa fashion – through friendship and farming. In 1959, a typhoon devastated Yamanashi Prefecture. In response, Iowa sent 35 breeding hogs and 100,000 bushels of corn to help with the recovery – an event that is famously known today as the Iowa Hog Lift. This impact can still be felt in 2019 as there are pigs in Yamanashi to this day with lineage from those original 35 hogs. While you can go see it year-round, each New Year’s Eve day the Japan America Society of Iowa rings the bell to celebrate the new year. It is an event open to everyone that is a great way to stay connected to our Yamanashi partners in spirit. The people of Yamanashi and Iowa continue to grow and nurture this relationship. Over the years there have been exchanges in students, nursing, agriculture, young professionals and even bacon! The list of exchanges is endless, and it continues to grow. Yamanashi and Iowa would go on to become Sister States in 1960 by a formal agreement, signed between Governor Norman Erbe of Iowa and Governor Hisashi Amano of Yamanashi. This agreement marked not only Iowa’s very first sister state relationship, but also the first sister state relationship between the United States and Japan in general. As a sign of appreciation for the generosity of livestock and grain in 1959 from Iowa, the Yamanashi government commissioned “The Peace Bell” to be sent to Iowa in 1962. The bell now sits on the hill just west of the Judicial Building and south of the state Capitol. To get involved with this wonderful relationship please connect with Iowa Sister States on Facebook and Twitter at @IASisterStates, on Instagram at @ IowaSisterStates or visit their website at www. iowasisterstates.org. About Yamanashi Population: 880,000 people Capital: Kofu Language: Japanese Area: 4,465 sq.km Religion: Shinto, Buddhism Major Attractions: Mt. Fuji, Southern Alps national Park, Shosenkyo Gorge Government: 50 executive branches headed by governor; legislative branch composed of a Prefectural Assembly Climate: temperate Web Resources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iowa_Hog_Lift https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2010/04/08/national/hog-story-tiesiowa-yamanashi/#.XLSyz-hKiUk https://www.radioiowa.com/2015/12/31/peace-bell-to-toll-in-iowa-thismorning-welcoming-new-year/ https://docs.wixstatic.com ugd/26fad8_50cd890fbe974df2bdb2a1e7d0815582.pdf May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 23

PT. 2 Gary Lawson

COMMUNITY This is a continuation of my commitment to placing a limited focus on the primary, secondary, and postsecondary education of African-American students across the country. The first article focused on the East Coast (Washington, D.C. and the state of Maryland). This article focuses on the Midwest, and the state of Ohio. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Robert Harden for this article. Mr. Harden has a comprehensive record of experience inclusive of education, business, and community service. He has earned a M.A. in Management from Antioch University McGregor, Yellow Springs, Ohio; a B.S. in Business Management from Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio; a Certification for Credit Union Management from the University of Wisconsin Graduate School of Business and the Credit Union National Association; and a Certification for Implementing Computerized Material and Production Control Systems from the College of Business Administration at the University of Cincinnati. Mr. Harden’s research experience includes serving as the New Futures Project Coordinator for Dayton Public Schools (Ohio), working with the University of Dayton, Sinclair Community College, Montgomery County, and the City of Dayton to gather and analyze data for the purpose of addressing K-12 curriculum, attendance, academics, pregnancy, and legal issues. A summary of the findings was published. He also served as the project leader for the development of the Requirements Determination System, United States Military, which was a collaborative effort consisting of the Computer Science Corporation, Anderson Consulting, and Metters Industries for the purpose of gathering/analyzing data for use in producing a functional specification to design a Requirements Determination System. Mr. Harden has presented before various organizations to include the: 1) Black Man Think Tank, Sinclair Community College, on ‘Strategic Relationships’; 2) Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education, on ‘University Community Economic Engagement’; 3) National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, on ‘Working with Federal Examiners’ (national webinar); and 4) Central State University, Office of the President’s Middle-Management Team on Interdepartmental Communication. He is also a graduate of the Community Reinvestment Institute. Another one of his notable accomplishments was achieved while working for Dayton Public Schools as a Student System Coordinator/Senior Analyst. He worked on developing an in-house Education Management Information System. Mr. Harden has been recognized for his many accomplishments by receiving various awards, such as the Metters Industries Presidential Award and the Urban League Black Leadership Award. He is presently an Adjunct Professor at Central State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College/ University) located in Wilberforce, Ohio. Professor Harden has taught courses in management, marketing, statistics, real estate, and international business. Lawson: Do you believe the average African-American high school student is adequately prepared for either a 2-year or 4-year college? Harden: It is my opinion that students entering college after attending urban public schools are not adequately prepared for 2-year or 4-year colleges. I am not saying African-American high school students lack initiative, ability to learn or intelligence. I think the urban education system has created false impressions and expectations in African-American high school students entering college. Getting ‘accepted’ by colleges is the end-game. I also maintain that the education process has created a false impression within students that just attending college will provide the student with the ability to achieve their goals in life. Thus, the system teaches to test, which excludes May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 25

teaching about culture, society, moral behavior, and character. This false impression, that just attending college provides success, has created a distorted belief of entitlement for too many students attending college. Whether the student attends college or trains in the skilled trades, the basic requirements for learning and training are still required. Additional skills such as incisive thinking, comparative thought, and moral/ ethical behavior are required as well. Cultural and social awareness provide an understanding of the many opportunities offered by the skilled trades. Having the opportunity to access jobs through the skilled trades is just as important as accessing jobs by attending a college or university. Taking either path can provide opportunities that lead to a productive, satisfying, and happy life. Based on data provided by the U.S. Department of Education, another reason AfricanAmerican high school students are not adequately prepared is because a majority of urban teachers are white (U.S. Department of Education (2019), The Condition of Education 2018, Lanham, M.A. Berman Press). https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018144.pdf That is not to say white teachers are purposely miseducating African-American high school students, but cultural differences affect communications and expectations between the teacher and student, especially in the formative grade levels. Student and teacher must learn to deliver and accept a message for effective communications and knowledge transfer. While serving in both the public school and charter school systems, I noted that a vast number of teachers lived outside the school district. If teachers and other successful members of society leave the area where African-American high school students reside and teachers do not expose students to a successful social environment, the student has no visual motivation to receive an education. The African-American high school students must see the rewards of education. If students see successful teachers, doctors, plumbers, and home builders in the community, then they are more likely to see the value in learning the knowledge that will fashion them as teachers, doctors, plumbers, home builders, and other professionals. Lawson: You are an educator at what is referred to as a Historically Black College or University. Since you have been teaching at Central State University, has the enrollment grown over the years, and what factors do you contribute to your answer? Harden: I am a Central State University (CSU) graduate, class of 1973. I began teaching at CSU in 2007. Between 1973 and today, it appears to me that student enrollment has declined. When I entered CSU in 1969, there were white students residing in the dormitories. CSU’s population was truly diverse, a surprising number of CSU graduates are nonAfrican-American and international. Over the years, the following factors have affected CSU student enrollment: Expansion of other prominent universities in close proximity (60 miles) to CSU: Wright State University, University of Dayton, Sinclair Community College, University of Cincinnati, Cedarville College, and Wilberforce University. (Just to name a few of the institutions in close proximity) Declining urban populations result in declining urban school populations. A rise in non-white ethnic populations has resulted in a move toward protectionism and nationalism as witnessed in today’s society. High single mother birth rate among AfricanAmerican teens. Competition with traditionally white 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities for students. Competition for State of Ohio resources among state universities and colleges Lawson: Specifically considering higher education, what are you able to share with African-American parents as they plan for the higher education of their children? Harden: The African-American family has a significant role to play in higher education. African-American families must instill a love of knowledge, a pursuit of education and wisdom in their children. AfricanAmerican families should expect and demand that

COMMUNITY the education system deliver on its moral and ethical mandate for educating African-American students, which requires political involvement. African-American families, and society as a whole, should aim for a greater degree of good, and at the highest level, create a more perfect society by instilling values such as respect for each other, determination, honesty, loyalty, love, integrity, pursuit of knowledge, education, and wisdom. These values assist the African-American family, as well as society as a whole, to determine right from wrong. If the aforementioned values are taught at home, and include the expectation and demand for the education system to deliver on its moral mandate, the AfricanAmerican family will continue to push America to a higher plane of greatness. Lawson: Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Harden: You’re welcome. Gary Lawson is a freelance writer who focuses on various aspects of business and government. He earned his graduate degree in Government Administration, and an undergraduate degree in Business, with a duel concentration in Management and Marketing. Gary is a Vietnam-Era veteran who served as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army. In addition, he has taught business courses at Drake University and Des Moines Area Community College. dsmurbanads@gmail.com May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 27

History Made from Foundations Laid by Cle’Shai Harden “For many are called, but few are chosen” Matthew 22:14 Out of a group of 54 applicants of various qualifications, backgrounds, and nationalities; Ankeny, IA has chosen their first African-American police chief: Mr. Darius Potts. Though history has been made because of his race, it was his path to this place that solidified his position. I decided to bring my son along with me to meet with Mr. Potts in his spacious office within the Ankeny police department. Though I was earlier than my appointed time, the Chief was more than understanding and welcomed me into his office. After introducing my son to Chief Potts, he said if he would have known my son was coming, he would have set his play station up. We exchanged laughter and I was immediately comfortable. His energy evoked nostalgic memories of spending time with my own family. Comfortably we settled at his round table, and he began to unveil his path leading to this momentous point in his life. Darius Potts was raised by his loving parents Mr. Johnnie and Mrs. Barbara Pott’s; in Chicago, IL. His parents taught him many things and with a perfect ying and yang they raised their family. exemplified hard work, and his mother showed him how to care from a softer side: “My Father was a strong man. He taught me how to respect people, my career, my family. He was committed to my mom. Everything my mom asked him to do, he did with no question. My mom was treated [very] well, he showed me how to treat a woman. My dad was in the Air Force for like forty years, he had a job for 35 years. He went to church every Sunday. He volunteered and gave money. He was committed. My dad was number one in all that. He was the strength side, the logical side. My mom taught me how to be emotional. She was funny and goofy at times. In my mind they had a perfect relationship”. Before his parents were called home to be with the Lord, they were true “snow birds”. They owned a home in Gilbert, Arizona and came down about half the year and spent time with Chief Potts and his family. Though his mother and father taught their children many things, every child will choose their own path in life. Darius realized this as he watched his sibling deal with addiction. A disease that many of us have dealt with in our own family. This did not deter him. It only pushed him to make a decision that would change his life in ways, I don’t think he fathomed as a graduate in 1989. For every place we go in life there is always a beginning with choices. At that time Darius aspired to be a Disc Jockey. He was already working as one while attending Iowa State, where he met his beautiful wife Renee (a native of Iowa). With his name picked out, DJ Darius DISCO Potts; he was ready to explore and obtain a serious position in the industry. His father As a young man starting a family reality hit, and he needed a job. Though he applied for jobs in Chicago, Iowa and various locations; he was accepted by the Phoenix police academy first. In 1991, he graduated from the academy as an officer of the law. He was young and ready to make a difference. In a city of roughly 1 million citizens at the time, he was in a place where his ambition was welcomed. As a rookie he and his partner George C., were sanctioned by a Lieutenant Brown to do community-based policing.

COMMUNITY “In my first Rookie year it was all about community-based policing, in some of the toughest neighborhoods. We went door to door; church groups, and all the places the community congregated to talk about their concerns. We built relationships to establish trust. There were people in those communities who wanted to live in a better environment, they just didn’t know how to [make it happen].” His excitement stemmed from his internal drive to help others. He didn’t realize the impact he was having, until he received an award for his work. In his years on the force he was mainly undercover and patrol. In 2015 he reached his mark where he could retire, but in his own words “he was having fun”. He decided to stay and continue in his career and took the test and other prerequisites to become a lieutenant. As a lieutenant he was assigned to patrol over about 100 or so men. This position kept him involved with the community, but also kept him relevant on day to day struggles officers of the law faced. “Wearing the uniforms in high temperatures, having to work crazy hours and be away from family…. Things I won’t forget.”-Potts He came into his career around the same time that Rodney King was violently beaten by LAPD officers (March 3, 1991). He was on duty that night, listening as everything was unfolding. Even though he wasn’t patrolling in that place, the effects of that beating rippled through every community. the verdict was declared: not guilty. Especially after Yet he was determined to make a difference and grow as an officer to better his community. The multiple transitions in his career were based on a plan he made for his career. In each transition he had a lot of support. “My wife is instrumental in every part of my career,” Chief Potts states. Becoming a detective came with putting himself in dangerous situations, and he had to have a rough appearance to hide his identity. He still remembers sitting at a drug house and hearing bullets whizzing by his ear. His wife, dealt with not only the danger he was put in as a detective, but she also accepted his rough appearance. His was in a new marriage and he had no children, so as a young officer he was fearless. “There is no way I would do that stuff today, I’m smarter now,” he says with a chuckle. He still discusses these situations with long-time colleagues. There were times they May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 29

went into places knowing they could be shot, and still they went into the situation. As an officer he did have some third shift hours. It was just easier doing that shift as an officer compared to a lieutenant, because he was patrolling. As a lieutenant his duties kept him at his desk focused more on administrative work. In his opinion being a Sergeant was one of the better management positions to hold. He was over a squad of about 4 or 5 people. He was able to interact with his troops and be on the streets still. Most of all, he was able to speak up on behalf of his squad. “The job is stressful, if you care about people,” said Chief Potts. He went on to explain how he met a twenty something year old man who couldn’t read. He broke down to his wife, about it. He said people have a lot of problems in this world and a lot to carry. Trying to balance understanding with upholding the law can be demanding. The example he used was traffic tickets. Now officers must write tickets. Yet as an officer in low income neighborhoods he understood how one ticket could set a person back. One ticket can mess a person’s livelihood up forever. It can stop them from being able get their family around, not to mention travelling to work to provide for them as well. He said he knew officers who wrote the tickets anyway. He also knew a lot of officers who understood the impact of a ticket. I must agree with him, as I have experienced both kinds of officers. Special thank you to the officers who let us off with a warning. As Chief Potts speaks about reaching this position in his career, he reflects on how each thing he experienced prepared him to be able to take on this level of responsibility. He thanks his family and mentors who he gleaned to early in his career for helping him to make the final decision to become Chief of Police. Heston Silbert was one of those people. Silbert left as a lieutenant to become an Assistant Chief in a different town in Arizona. He then went to the Department of Public Safety and became a Deputy Director. He was the person Potts went to for guidance on how to be successful in each of the positions he held. Mr. Heston Silbert advised him to go after becoming a Chief and pushed him by saying, “You’re more ready than you think you are”. This reality hit once Chief Potts started going to interviews. He [Potts] remembers calling Mr. Silbert after his interview in Ankeny. Silbert’s question was simply “What do you want?” After a slew of familial excuses, Silbert asked the question again. At that moment Mr. Potts was honest, “I want to be Chief of Ankeny.” Silbert responded, “go be Chief of Ankeny then”. “Being an officer is a heavy thing sometimes, and you need someone to talk to who has been through it. I haven’t always listened to him [Silbert], but you need a mentor in life. You need someone who will push you to become who you can be. Sometimes you don’t see you, because you forget all the things you have done.” There were concerns that came up within his own family. He began to tell me how he was surprised at his eleven-year old daughters look of fear as he was being sworn in. Though many asked her what was wrong she didn’t speak about it until he sat her down to talk. She explained to her dad that she was scared for him, because of what could go wrong because of the position he was going into put him in a light that she felt may attract danger. She was scared for her mom, and for her brother as well. Though he had been with the police department her whole life, this was the first time she voiced her concern about his career. The reality of his position was finally hitting her. As a father he calmed her and explained everything would be all right. He went on to say,” now my daughter is a rock”. Mr. Potts other concern was his son who was diagnosed with high-functioning autism at a young age. Prior to moving to Iowa his son had just graduated from high school. Pulling his son from his routine was the biggest challenge. Yet, his son has been doing well and will continue to flourish. Though his son has high functioning autism, he still has his independence. Which includes driving and other joys of many young men. With the reality of dangerous situations he may face because of his

COMMUNITY skin color, his father trained him in case he encounters an officer that doesn’t know who his father is. His advice resounds for all young black men. Always keep yourself safe, by being respectful. That alone can dodge issues. He understands that all officers are not the same. With that in my mind I encourage those who have endured unlawful practices to not only make a complaint but follow up on your complaints. Nothing can change if we give up. Though life has many changes some big some small, Chief Potts is ready to face and conquer them all. Though he can’t predict Ankeny’s future as a growing community, he is aware of the current concerns: which include theft and opioids. With that in mind Chief Potts is preparing his competent staff to gain control and keep Ankeny safe and family friendly. As for Chief Potts family his most pressing concern is to thicken their blood for the chill of Iowa’s notorious winter weather. Welcome Chief Potts! We all support you as you make a difference one community at a time! Happy This is Dedicated to Chief Potts loving wife, Mrs. Renee Potts And in Memory of his parents: Mr. Johnnie and Mrs. Barbara Potts Mother’s Day ADVERTISE WITH US May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 31

FEARLESS United States Senator Kamala Harris by Celeste and Gary Lawson

PUBLIC AFFAIRS We conducted an exclusive telephone interview with United States Senator Kamala Harris, who is a Democrat from California, and is campaigning as a 2020 Presidential Candidate. The interview took place on April 10, 2019. Celeste: Good afternoon, Senator Harris. Iowans value an education. During my experience in education, I have observed an expanding view that education is a partnership consisting of educators, students, and parents within an increasingly diverse community. If any of these partners were out of harmony, with respect to your vision for education, what would you do to bring the partnership back into balance? Senator Harris: That’s a wonderful question. I’ll start by saying that it has been a lifelong priority for me to focus on the need and the importance of educating our children and our young people. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Frances Wilson, attended my law school graduation. I would not be where I am today as a member of the United States Senate were it not for two things: 1) the family that raised me; and 2) the teachers that raised me. So, it is a really high priority for me. In terms of what you’re talking about, the harmony and relationship between parents and teachers, and of course the education of our children, I think it is a critical relationship. Part of my plan for what we can do to improve that is to close the teacher pay gap. I am meeting teachers around our country who are working two, sometimes three jobs. In Iowa, more than 16% of teachers work a second job. What I know is that they not only need to put food on the table and pay their bills, but like 90% of the teachers in our country they are coming out of their own pocket to pay for school supplies. So, we have to close the teacher pay gap that is currently at 10%, meaning that teachers make, on average, 10% less than similarly educated college graduates. The teacher pay gap in Iowa equals $12,200 a year. As we all know, $12,200 a year is the equivalent of a year’s worth of mortgage payments, $12,200 a year is equivalent to a year’s worth of grocery bills, $12,200 a year is equivalent to putting a significant dent in student loan debt. So, I am proposing, what will be for the first time in our nation, a federal investment in teacher pay. The relationship between that and what you pointed out, Celeste, is that teachers working two or three jobs means that teachers are not able to do the kind of after-school and weekend work, that often teachers want to do, that can focus on the relationships (associated) with working parents. It means, when we close that teacher pay gap, teachers will have more time to invest in what that want to do around professional development, skills development, and being creative about how they engage not only the children in their classroom, but also the community in which those children live. So, that is how I think about that. Gary: With respect to income, would you please explain the ‘LIFT the Middle Class Act’ and how it would benefit Iowans? Senator Harris: What I am proposing is what economists have described as the largest income tax cut for middle-class families in generations. Specifically, I am proposing that families making less than $100,000 per year get a tax credit of up to $6,000 per year, and can collect $500 of that each month. Putting that in context, almost half of American families today are a $400 unexpected expense away from complete upheaval. So, what I am proposing would allow those working families to be able to get through the month without concern about whether they can do so successfully. People having a $400 unexpected emergency, causing upheaval in that family, is equivalent to an unexpected car repair bill or a hospital bill that people didn’t see coming. The fact is this economy in America is not working for working people, so I am proposing, again, what economists have described as what will be the most significant middle class tax cut in generations. May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 33

It will lift up one in two Americans, it will lift up two in three children in our country, it will lift up one million students who are on Pell Grants and in Iowa, specifically, it will impact 56% of Iowa households. For all Black households in the country, it will lift 60% of Black households out of poverty. Gary: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to share? Senator Harris: I think this is an election cycle that is about dealing with the fact of where we are at this point in our country this is a moment that is requiring us to acknowledge that we are better than that and we have to fight for the best of who we are. I am very optimistic about our ability to be better and do better. I believe that all good fights are born out of optimism and that is how I think about this fight before us. In particular, I think people in our country rightly want to know that they are seen and heard and that leaders are responding to their actual needs and that is the kind of leader that I am and will be. I thank you guys for the time, and I hope I’m going to see you when I am in Iowa. Celeste and Gary: We hope so as well. We wish you well with your campaign and thank you for this opportunity to share your information with the minority community, particularly the African-American community, in Iowa. Senator Harris: I’m honored that we were able to talk and thank you for the work you do because the work of journalism, particularly journalism that is from, and focused on, the African-American community is so critically important and it is so important that communities have a trusted voice and I know that is what you provide so I thank you for the work you do. Celeste Lawson is a freelance writer who focuses on various aspects of education and diversity. She earned a graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, with concentrations in English and Language Arts. In addition, she has more than 20 years of classroom experience with teaching students at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels.

COMMUNITY and Marketing. He is a Vietnam-Era veteran who has served as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army. In addition, he has taught business courses at Drake University and Des Moines Area Community College. Gary Lawson is a freelance writer who focuses on various aspects of business and government. He earned a graduate degree in Government Administration, and an undergraduate degree in Business, with a duel concentration in Management ALL MAY & JUNE LOGOS $200 Email: hiringmadeeasley@gmail.com or text: 309.550.3415 May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 35

United States Senator Gillibrand by by Celeste and Gary Lawson

PUBLIC AFFAIRS We conducted an exclusive telephone interview with United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who is a Democrat from New York, and campaigning as a 2020 Presidential Candidate. The Interview took place on April 11, 2019. Celeste: Good Afternoon, Senator Gillibrand. You’ve been credited as stating that, “Investing in education is the most important investment we can make.” Would you please describe the kind of investment in education that you would pursue as President of the United States? In addition, how would that investment provide relief to minority populations who have historically been adversely impacted during their education? Senator Gillibrand: Thanks, Celeste. I believe that the block a child grows up on should not determine their chance of success in life. I believe that every child in this country deserves the opportunity to live up to their full God-given potential. I think there is a lot you can do to close the education gap by investing in early childhood education, universal pre-K (prekindergarten), and quality affordable daycare. First, we have to ensure that all of our three and fouryear-olds have access to the best and highest quality early childhood education. For me, that means at least four or five day existing programs, such as Head Start, which very much helps lower income families. We should actually try to pass universal pre-k across the country for all kids. Second, I think you really have to make childcare more affordable. I’ve had two kids in daycare and I know how expensive it is. I know most families can’t afford it, because daycare is too expensive and prices out a lot of lower-income and middle-income families. So, one of the ways you can do it is to expand the Childcare Independent Tax Credit and we make sure that the actual credit amount is available to more families. They have a bipartisan bill to actually do that, to double the childcare tax credit and another bipartisan bill to actually make it a business expense. So, if you are in the workplace, you get to take a business deduction for the cost of making sure that your child’s early childhood education is at a quality daycare. Next, I think we should also do far more to invest in K-12 public schools. There are a couple of things that you do on the federal level, because obviously K-12 is a state issue, a local education issue, but the federal government could do one thing, it could make sure we actually provide funding for infrastructure for the schools, to fix public schools, to make sure that schools in wealthy areas have the same abilities as schools in lower-income areas and make sure that those lower-income areas are brought up to have the same kinds of high-quality facilities for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, for music, for art, for civics, for ethics and for all things (needed by) public schools that aren’t well-resourced, they would have access (to more resources). So, I think that is something that I would want to work on as a national education platform. I’d also work at getting more money into our schools for technology and STEM curriculums making sure that teachers who teach in those areas have access to the proper support so they can access higher training, so they can inspire more kids. We also need to make sure that we don’t support unfunded mandates. If it’s unfunded, you either fund it, or you stop mandating it. One mandate that I do support is the mandate for special education. Right now, unfortunately, that’s a mandate that’s unfunded and it really hurts low-income schools. Right now, you’re supposed to pay 40% (that is) the federal government is supposed to pay 40% towards Special Ed(ucation) it hasn’t met that number and I don’t know if it ever has but certainly not lately and doesn’t even meet half of it. I would actually prefer that the federal government pay for 50% of Special Ed and fully fund it. I think that would go a long way to making it possible. May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 37

The other unfunded mandate that harms New York, and that probably harmed Iowa as well, is the unfunded mandate for testing. When you require public schools to test all of their kids, but not give them any resources to get that done, it is very difficult and I think harmful. So, if you are going to require it, you should fund it. The last thing I would do on education is to make higher education more affordable. I would offer it to any kid in America who is willing to do public service. If you’re willing to do a year of public service, you’d get two years of college paid. If you do two years of public service, you would get your full four years paid. The reason why I think this is such a good idea for young people to do public service is because a lot of the public service industries are aging and we don’t have the next generation of workers for those areas (such as) healthcare we have a nursing shortage across the country, education our teachers are aging, and so we do need to replace teachers we need more young people as firstresponders and in the military, we also need young people in these STEM jobs. You could use training in all those fields as public service opportunities that would be offered to a young person and in turn their education expenses would be paid. I think it would change the heart of the country I also think it would create a pipeline for good jobs for more young people who want to enter the workforce after graduation. Gary: There appears to be a struggle by educators, businesses, and labor organizations when it comes to matching the skills needed for a constantly changing work environment. How would you better align the skills and training needs of the workplace with the preparation of people for the workplace? Senator Gillibrand: I really love this question because it is very much a cornerstone of my presidential campaign. I believe, just as Martin Luther King Jr., and Coretta Scott King, believed, that we should aspire as a nation to full employment. What that means to me is that anyone who is underemployed or unemployed should be given the opportunity for the job training that it would take them to get a job in the field they want in their community. So, I would use our community colleges, our state schools, our apprenticeship programs in our not-for-profits to train workers in the fields they want to work in. This would transform the economy almost overnight because all the people unemployed, or underemployed, would be employed and they would be able to earn higher wages and so they would be able to pay higher taxes and invest more in our communities. This is an idea that has already been put into place across the country in different communities and I will give you a couple of examples so you know how it works. First, I visited a Historically Black College in Texas, it is called Paul Quinn College. The entire school has apprenticeship programs, and internship programs, for all students that they spend time working with during their school day. By the time they graduate they are fully prepared for jobs that they have chosen for themselves and it works, it is an amazing pipeline training opportunity. A not-for-profit example is in New York City a lot of young people in the Bronx were not getting access to computer jobs and technology jobs and so a notfor-profit organization, Per Scholas, went to all the tech companies in New York City and (determined where the open jobs existed) and the skills needed to fill them. Then they created the coursework to actually supply the training for those jobs and they have already trained and placed 800 young workers all across New York. A rural example is when, Bombardier, a manufacturer of subway cars and other large vehicles needed advanced welders. They couldn’t find any within maybe a 500 mile radius. So, they decided to go to the community college and asked them if they would

PUBLIC AFFAIRS please offer this coursework, then told the community college officials that they would hire the graduates. It allowed a basic welder who might have been earning about $40,000 or $50,000 a year to get direct training so they could earn $70,000 a year. So, it is good to have a way to rise to the middle-class through better job training. I think that is the most important idea I have. I also have been able to do things in the Senate that have actually passed that have also helped with job training. One of the bills that I actually worked on with the National Urban League (pertained to) making sure that young kids who’ve had a run-in with the law, for example, or dropped out of school or just did not have a straight pathway to their education, we trained those young people in skilled training so they could get a General Education Diploma (GED) and employment. I worked on a couple of new bills, as well, with the Urban League one is to help make sure construction careers are open to communities of color. I have been working on it with the National Black Caucus Chair, Karen Bass, and we are going to introduce legislation to provide for that pathway. Also, to give minority-owned firms priority considerations for infrastructure contracts. Second, I’m working to push for the passage of bipartisan legislation that would allow Pell Grants and Federal Work-Study college aid to be used by workers for high-quality, rigorous, short-term training programs that are developed in partnership between colleges and local employers, to ensure that the participating students receive these good-paying jobs upon graduation. So, that bill hopefully will be able to pass in Congress. I also think it is really important that minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs get greater access to capital. As I have traveled my state (we have determined) that minority-owned businesses are much less likely to be approved for small business loans and even when they are approved, the loans tend to be smaller and have higher interest rates in comparison to white-owned firms. So, last year I was able to pass into law the Micro Loan Modernization Act. Basically, it expands the Small Business Administration (SBA) lending to minority businesses provides additional hands-on training and support to help minority entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Gary: In closing, what other thoughts would you like to share? Senator Gillibrand: I’ve been very concerned that we’re up against much more than people will often talk about. I really think, if you want to give more people access to the American Dream and you want to provide real opportunity for Black Americans, I think you have to take on institutional and systemic racism. The truth about institutional and systemic racism is that it is present in all spheres. It is present in our healthcare system, it is present in our economy (and) it is present in our criminal justice system. So, I have been working on a platform of ideas to directly attack the problem at its roots. One of the reasons why I think Medicare for all is such a good idea is because it is going to provide good, affordable, quality healthcare to all people. That is just a baseline. Then there are specific issues, for example Black maternal mortality rates being the highest in the country. The fact that a city like New York City (where) if you are a Black woman, (then) you are 12 times more likely to die in childbirth or within a year of delivering the child, than White women. It’s a huge issue and until we begin to address that problem, head-on, with better training and access to emergency procedures and technologies in every delivery room, you’re not even going to begin to brake the problem. On the economic side, I think its important to make sure that the unbanked and underbanked in this country which is about 30% of Americans, and disproportionately Black Americans and communities of color. I would address how we take on the predatory lending industry and the predatory banking practices by providing postal banking. Now, May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 39

postal banking is an old idea, it’s not a new idea. It came about after the Great Depression and it actually works. Post offices provide basic banking to anyone who wants it, checking accounts, savings accounts, wiring money and it will allow more Black Americans to accrue wealth over time and they cannot be penalized because they’re poor, which is exactly what the predatory industries do. That is a very good solution. In Des Moines, I think your rate is 24% of Black residents who are unbanked, meaning they don’t have access to the traditional checking or savings account. Additionally, 34% are underbanked, meaning that despite having a mainstream checking or savings account one uses alternative banking services, such as payday lending, at high interest rates. On criminal justice reform, I have two ideas. I would absolutely get rid of the cash bail system and I am a co-sponsor of a bill to do that (because) it disproportionately affects Blacks. I would reform the sentencing laws so the judges could have more flexibility when dealing with low-level non-violent drug offenses. I would legalize marijuana, I would fully decriminalize it retroactively and I would fully legalize it. I’d expunge pass records and use resources from the industry to invest in communities that were disproportionately affected by the unfairness of the criminal justice laws. (Regarding) voting rights, I think it is really important that we take voting rights head-on. Iowa, as you know, is one of two states that only allow felons to vote if the Governor gives them permission. I find that to be an outrage. So, I voted for an amendment to restore voting rights for all released prison inmates. I have worked on legislation with (Congressman) John Lewis to introduce an expansive bill to establish basic voting rights, which included automatic voter registration when someone turns eighteen and making election day a national holiday. So, those are my top ideas. Celeste and Gary: We certainly appreciate the opportunity to present your message to the community at-large and we thank your staff who assisted with arranging this interview. We wish you good luck with your campaign. Senator Gillibrand: Thank you and God bless. Celeste Lawson is a freelance writer who focuses on various aspects of education and diversity. She earned a graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, with concentrations in English and Language Arts. In addition, she has more than 20 years of classroom experience with teaching students at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. Gary Lawson is a freelance writer who focuses on various aspects of business and government. He earned a graduate degree in Government Administration, and an undergraduate degree in Business, with a duel concentration in Management and Marketing. Gary is a Vietnam Era veteran who served as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army. In addition, he has taught business courses at Drake University and Des Moines Area Community College.

It's important to take the time to acknowledge the uniqueness of the deceased: the individuality of their personality, and the uniqueness of their life's path. Not just for them, but for you; it affirms the relationship, and leads to healing after loss. Honoring their life is truly an act of love – for the both of you. “WE’RE FAMILY” PHONE: (515) 309-6550 3500 SIXTH AVENUE DES MOINES, IA 50313 HENDERSONSHP.COM May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 41

War in the Mind by Dani Relle If our heart is sick we go to a heart doctor. If a doctor tells us we have diabetes and that we have to change the way we eat and take medicine to level out our blood sugars, we do it. When a person’s mind gets unhealthy people tend to think they should just get over it. Just like a person who has diabetes or heart problems a person with mental health has to do what is necessary to take care of themselves. If they don’t take care of themselves their mind can get unhealthy. I was diagnosed with depression young and the worst part of my battle with mental illness happened from 18 to 25. Around those times I was in and out of mental hospitals trying to get some sense of normalcy or what I thought was normal. I will never forget. I was in bed and my mind wouldn’t stop, my thoughts were racing a mile a minute constantly worrying about everything. I couldn’t tell anyone what I was going through because I had to be strong. I had dreams of becoming this great gift to the world and I promised my family they would see my name in lights, but this… thing, crippling thing had me so out of sorts. I couldn’t eat or sleep. All I could do was cry night and day. Around that time I had recently gave my life to Christ. I didn’t understand, why was I going through this. I prayed and asked God to take whatever this thing was, away. I didn’t want to take anymore medicine. I didn’t want to talk to another doctor. I wanted God to take this away from me. There were years of me going in and out of mental hospitals until I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted the pain, and the racing thought’s to end. So I attempted suicide. When I woke up in the hospital I was out of options. So I thought obviously God has me here in this world on purpose. I started listening to God and I allowed God to lead me through this. I started reading the Bible and applying what I read to my life. I prayed and not just cute prayers but real heart felt prayers. In prayer God led me to this Christian therapist. God used that woman to show me how even though God didn’t want this for my life he had made a way through with his son Jesus. People who are going through this now I want you to seek help tell someone what you are struggling with. I know it may seem hard and I know it feels hard but there are healthy ways to cope with depression and anxiety and every mental illness. People who do not struggle with this, you may notice people who you are around that tend to show signs of depression. Some of the signs are: • Isolation/withdrawn • Sleep too much or not at all • Eating too little or too much • They don’t enjoy the things they use to enjoy • Not being able to focus • Crying • Easily irritated If you notice a person doing this, it doesn’t hurt to

Health have a conversation with them. I am here to tell you there are days that I have bad moments and they pass. I thank God. There are days when I get a day of peace I thank God because I’m not having a hard time like I was before. It does get better, I do take medicine but as I said in the beginning we take medicine for everything else that happens to our body and our mind is just as serious. Better days are coming. Don’t give up. This too shall pass. May 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 43

Hayley Harvey, DDS, MS James Maixner, DDS Juliane Winters, DDS Our family 1761 Hickman Road, Des Moines, IA 50314 | (515) 282-2334 | www.broadlawns.org All forms of insurance accepted. Routine exams and cleanings Digital x-rays Fluoride treatments Root canals Emergent care Accepting new patients. Most forms of insurance accepted. Fillings Crowns CARING smiles Broadlawns Medical Plaza 1761 Hickman Road (515) 282-2421 www.broadlawns.org CREATING HEALTHY

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