A look at two of Iowa’s health care heroes

Especially with the growing coronavirus pandemic and questions it forces us to confront about health care access, few topics are as urgent this year as health care. We’re needing to figure out how those without insurance can receive protection and treatment the same as those with insurance; how immigrants and international travelers can be included in our prevention efforts. Even before the pandemic, health care shaped the campaigns of this year’s Democratic presidential nominee contenders and was the subject of President Trump’s biggest lie in this year’s State of the…

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Iowa Safe Schools leads fight against conversion therapy

DES MOINES – A renewed effort is on to ban conversion therapy in Iowa, and Nate Monson is optimistic that the 2020 legislative session will generate some form of significant progress in outlawing a practice widely regarded as abuse. “This is a bipartisan issue,” says Nate Monson, head of Iowa Safe Schools, the nonprofit that is leading a charge against conversion therapy. “A lot of people don’t realize that seven of the bans in other states, done by executive order, were signed by Republican governors. This is something I believe…

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Wichtendahl champions practical solutions

HIAWATHA — Aime Wichtendahl embraces her status as a role model for LGBTQ Iowans, an obligation and privilege she earned when she won a seat on the Hiawatha City Council four years ago and became the first-ever openly transgender elected official in the state. She regularly responds to requests for input from media on LGBTQ issues, and Wichtendahl was among several dignitaries who co-hosted One Iowa’s historic LGBTQ presidential forum in September. But her trademark quality is not being on the front lines for LGBTQ equality. Rather, Wichtendahl is known…

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Davenport-based FB group aims for decriminalization

Decriminalize Davenport is a growing Facebook page devoted to decriminalizing cannabis in the city of Davenport (www.facebook.com/weeddport). It is largely inspired by the unique situation of the Quad Cities, a metropolitan area consisting of five cities. With three of the Quad Cities located in Illinois where cannabis will become fully legal on Jan. 1, and two of the Quad Cities located in Iowa where cannabis remains illegal, Decriminalize Davenport fills an essential role of keeping its community informed on how the two drastically different laws interact with each other, and…

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Veterans for Peace continues their timeless effort

Earlier this year, Air Force veteran Daniel Hale learned he may face 50 years in prison for giving information about weaponized drone attacks to a reporter. Two hundred years ago, Quaker Seth Laughlin was tortured by his fellow Americans when he refused to join the Confederate Army. These two situations, hundreds of years apart, illustrate that conscientious objectors against war are timeless. They are still saying “no.” And groups like Veterans for Peace in Iowa City are doing their best to ensure the rest of us remain aware. The VFP-161,…

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The anti-woman vibe of witch hunts

Being a practitioner of witchcraft has been a part of my life since I was a young girl. I always found comfort in the earth, singing in the rain, soaking up the sun, and  cleansing my spirit with warmth and light. Today, I continue to educate myself about non-conventional religious practices, learning new things about myself along the way. With this unique personal context, I am painfully aware of a new trend to exploit “witches” like me. I’m seeing headlines complaining about “witch hunts,” Geico commercials staging witches as broomstick…

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Say ‘No’ to Nasty

The angry, curse-driven phrase jumped out during Howard Schultz’s announcement he was considering a run for president. “You egotistical billionaire asshole,” shouted a man, chiding Schultz for possibly contributing to a future Trump victory. I admit, it was a little satisfying. I’m as weary as anyone of the continuing parade of older, rich, white, straight, cis males who think we actually need more of their perspective in top tiers of leadership. But the moment also crystallized for me that Trump has injected yet another form of poison into our discourse,…

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Blocking the wrong people: back in Facebook jail

In March, Facebook announced a new ban on white nationalist, white separatist, and white supremacist content. For many, this seemed like a long overdue policy change. Others said they would believe it when they see it. For me, this policy fails to address the harmful and hateful things on social media that do not meet the criteria of “white nationalist” or “white supremacist”. For example, even Facebook admits this new policy wouldn’t touch holocaust deniers. All the anti-immigrant, anti-muslim, antisemitic, pro-Trump garbage is here to stay. Also, how would this…

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