Three Iowa cities, Chicago show top LGBTQ ‘equality’ rankings

HRC LGBTQ rankings Iowa Illinois

Three Iowa communities garnered perfect scores for their formal LGBTQ-affirming policies, laws and city outreach, while Chicago was the only Illinois city to earn 100 out of 100. The ninth annual study of cities across the nation and their LGBTQ-friendly policies involved 506 cities populated by more than 94 million people, says the Human Rights Campaign, which conducts the study in collaboration with several other groups. Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Dubuque all scored 100 along with the Windy City. Other high-ranking cities in both states include West Des Moines…

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Spacious new Cedar Rapids home for ReAlive Metaphysical following derecho damage

ReAlive Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS — A new home for ReAlive Metaphysical means more space inside and outside for a safer shopping experience, says owner Korrina Dawson. The longtime metaphysical store now has 2,300 square feet and is part of a storefront parking lot with more than 20 spaces. ReAlive was forced to relocate when the August derecho destroyed the roof of its Marion location. Its new location on Cedar Rapids’ southwest side is pulling strong business, Dawson says. Before relocating, ReAlive had to close for about six weeks while it figured out…

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COLUMN: Reynolds, Iowa agencies failing seniors in COVID protection

seniors COVID

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa officials lied to you this past week. They told you during a press conference that they were doing “everything we can” to fight the virus and obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) for Iowa’s besieged health care workers, especially those at long-term care spaces. But this simply isn’t true. Much like how Donald Trump tried to rewrite his inadequate response to COVID-19, so is Reynolds trying to rewrite hers. Here’s the truth she’s not telling you: In March of 2020, eight months ago, all Pottawattamie County…

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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”

dah tea cover

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

wob cover

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

velvet lotus cover

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

equality illinois panel

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

tats for tots.

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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