Move more police funds to social services, decriminalize cannabis: top choices to lessen police brutality in new “Break the Binary” poll (TRM Blog)

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Our new “Break the Binary” poll is designed to improve public discourse by countering binary thinking along with its scary step-sibling, triangulation. Read about results of our first pilot poll; participate in the new one.

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NEW: Share the joy of books, reading in “Off the Shelf”

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Welcome to our new book review feature, “Off the Shelf.” Open to any book reader who wants to share your thoughts on how you’re affected by what you read, Off the Shelf is also led by decades-long voracious reader and personal reading activist Cathy Chavez, who will provide a monthly review. Take a look at Chavez’s first review, on an award-winning book from July 2019. BOOK: “The Nickel Boys” AUTHOR: Colson Whitehead ABOUT THE BOOK: Historical and literary fiction of 213 pages, released in July 2019 RATING: 5 Stars REVIEWED…

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George Floyd memorials today as police ethics face growing local, national questions

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IOWA AND ILLINOIS — As the nation and several groups throughout Iowa and Illinois honor the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s videotaped murder at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers, police ethics are under the spotlight anew both locally and nationally. And while Officer Derek Chauvin will serve life in prison for the murder of Floyd, more devastating videos of other Black men mistreated at the hands of police are joining with local police-related controversies to increase tension — all under the shadow of a federal partisan stand-off over…

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High school writers connect across chasms with Page Poetry Contest

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IOWA CITY — With the 2020 murder of George Floyd, and the trial of the officer who killed him, a program I started as a high school writing program has become an escape, an outlet, and a way to deal for the young writers who are participating. Page Poetry Contest Winners from IC Speaks Over the past year, IC Speaks and our members have dealt with a pandemic, and an explosion of political conversation happening worldwide. In some cases, I had BIPOC students writing pieces about the anger and pain…

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Warhol numbs, Dylan Kelly makes us care: two Scholastic Art Award winners then, now

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This is a case of a lesson learned, and then unlearned. Some years ago, as a high school art teacher, I learned to withhold praise for personal styles in student work. Teens, not fully formed in mind or body, will stay with the praised style, hesitant to explore other ways of working. Andy Warhol embodied this behavior. TEEN WARHOL Hyperallergic Magazine reported on teen art at NY’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, a display of students who had won this year’s 90-year-old Scholastic Art Awards. The magazine mentioned that Warhol won the same award…

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White Male Fear: Problem & Solutions (Letter to the Editor)

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To the Editor: Our country and our community has a White Male Fear Problem. Not all, but too many, white males think this country belongs to them: it doesn’t. They think men are superior to women: they aren’t. They think the problems in our communities are due to minorities: the problems in our communities are due to systemic racism and oppression of the poor (which includes, ironically, poor white males). They think – no, the problem really is that they don’t think: they merely judge from a position in our…

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Lies, melodrama, and the hunger to control guns and drugs: roots of police brutality (TRM Blog)

police brutality

Days after Derek Chauvin’s trial resulted in full convictions last week for George Floyd’s murder, we’re in the thick, realizing things haven’t changed much in the past year. Since Tuesday alone, victims of known videotaped police shootings are a 40-year-old unarmed Black father of 10 wanted on drug charges, shot in the back; a 21-year-old unarmed Black father of one wanted for missing a Zoom hearing on gun charges; another 21-year-old unarmed Black man who sought help from police; a 16-year-old Black girl shot from behind while rushing another girl…

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TRM Blog: Race, gender and religion? Or ego, pride and control? Real-life intersectionality in Grinnell

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GRINNELL, IA — The straight white male history teacher could not have been more repentant. “I drew incorrect conclusions …. I misinterpreted … I did not paint an accurate picture,” he said of an attack letter he wrote about efforts to make Grinnell-Newburg’s public school curriculum more diverse and welcoming. “I failed to reach out… failed to take the time …. misinterpreted… had preconceived notions,” said Kent Kastendick. On he went, in at least 17 different ways, trying to pull back the wave of anger, suspicion and fear he inspired…

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