TRM BEHIND THE SCENES: Find community during COVID with expanded Calendar

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To help provide support during this COVID-shaped winter season, we’ve made some big improvements to The Real MainStream Calendar. More online events, more recognition of nontraditional holidays, and more annual “awareness” days — both fun and serious — are now part of the Calendar, updated weekly and highlighted in the TRM Weekly newsletter. We’re all striving to find belonging and community, while also trying to stay away from each other! These challenges are peaking right now and will for months, as COVID-19 surges across the country and especially in Iowa…

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Queer, BIPOC activists unpack white privilege, white urgency in “Dah Tea”

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Burnout among Black activists and community leaders is real, and so is the role that white privilege can play — even among “woke” white people active in the fight for racial justice — in triggering it, worsening it, and covering it over. That’s the theme of “Dah Tea,” a new Instagram Live discussion, where queer Black/Indigenous/People of Color activists unpack the challenges of maintaining self-care and healthy boundaries while simultaneously responding to greater awareness of systemic racism among historically privileged whites. “These are meant to be quick, light-hearted chats, and…

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Iowa City’s WOB rises to challenges of COVID-19, historic bicycling interest

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IOWA CITY — Here and there, silver linings exist during the COVID-19 crisis — and one of those is a burst in bicycling interest across the United States so strong it’s made worldwide news. For Iowa City’s World of Bikes, this phenomenon has meant historic sales levels, more workers who are asked to work less, and getting creative about keeping up with the never-ending demand while staying safe. WOB, for instance, created an outdoor sales kiosk and even now only lets customers inside under limited, controlled circumstances with new disinfection…

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Velvet Lotus kicks off two weeks of fundraising with tattoo session

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The tattooing is over — but the fundraising has just begun. Take a look below at the artists from Velvet Lotus Tattoo, hard at work during Friday’s “Tats for Tots” tattoo session. The staff applied 13 tattoos to donors who entered a raffle to not only receive a tattoo, but also donate at least $50 to “Tats for Tots” and the families and children it benefits. Tats for Tots happens every year at Velvet Lotus; Founded almost eight years ago by social worker Annie Ventullo, the event has been at…

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Support for Trump increased this year among Black, Latino, LGBTQ voters

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The progressive post-mortem is already in on last week’s presidential election, and it’s grim: support for Donald Trump grew this year among Blacks, Latinos and LGBTQ people. Trump doubled his support among Black women, from 4 to 8 percent, Newsweek reports. Among Black men, support for Trump grew from 13 to 18 percent. An estimated 36 percent of Latino men voted for Trump, up from 32 percent in 2016. Among Latino women, support for Trump grew from 25 percent to 28 percent. And about one-fourth of Trump voters this year…

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Velvet Lotus keeps ‘Tats for Tots’ alive despite COVID-19

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Annie Ventullo remembers hearing from a school social worker one year, about a child in an abusive situation whose parents routinely threw away her toys at home. “Could we get her some stuff she can play with while at school?” the social worker asked Ventullo, after hearing that she ran an annual fundraising effort for needy families. The exchange is one example of the wide variety of people Ventullo and Velvet Lotus Tattoos aim to help each year with Tats for Tots. Kicking off today and continuing through Dec. 1,…

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Quad Cities “Count Every Vote” ONLINE vigil leads post-election events in Iowa, Illinois

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(UPDATED NOV. 6, 2020) DAVENPORT — Almost a dozen vigils, rallies or strategy events are already scheduled in Illinois and Iowa to help people cope with or respond to post-election uncertainty. They include this Saturday’s virtual Count Every Vote/Defend our Democracy Rally, hosted by Quad Cities Interfaith. Organizers decided Friday to convert the event into an online rally “due to alarmingly high rates of COVID and our health services being overwhelmed,” the group wrote. Quad Cities Faith involves almost a dozen different groups representing academia, various spiritual faiths and organized…

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Same-day voter registration, rides to polls in Illinois, Iowa

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Are you among the estimated 7.3 million eligible voters in Illinois and Iowa who have yet to cast your vote in this year’s election? Would a ride to the polls help? You can still vote today in Iowa and Illinois, even if you’re brand new to the whole process: the two states are among 20 states that allow same-day voter registration. In Illinois, bring two forms of I.D. to register today, including one that includes your current address. In Iowa, bring an I.D. that includes both your photo and your…

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