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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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,…

Read More

Winter clothing drive, new vegan offerings at Iowa City’s Trumpet Blossom Cafe

trumpet blossom cover 2

IOWA CITY — Trumpet Blossom Cafe and Katy Meyer already reinvented the way they provide all-vegan, all-local food in Iowa City, in response to COVID-19. Now, the 8.5-year-old restaurant and bar is reinventing its charity work, one of its pivotal qualities over time. Earlier this week, Trumpet Blossom hosted a winter clothing drive for the Iowa City Tenants Union and Shelter House. Meyer provided a complementary vegan treat to anyone who swung by to drop off winter clothes of any kind that they no longer need. The need for these…

Read More

Leash on Life steps up support during coronavirus crisis

IMG 4571 scaled e1602465443547

IOWA CITY and NORTH LIBERTY — Leash on Life has given back to its communities for 15 years through donations to animal shelters throughout Johnson County. But when the coronavirus crisis hit, it was a “whole new beast,” says owner Laurie Smith. So Leash on Life stepped up its volunteer efforts: it began donating and transporting pet food to not just animal shelters, but also human food pantries, throughout Johnson County. Customers began volunteering to buy bags of pet food for those in need, and have been responsible for the…

Read More

New Calendar of Events helps find the highlights in Iowa, Illinois

header calendar 1 scaled

Are you overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) with events to partake of in the COVID-19 era? We’re trying to do our part to help, with the new Calendar of Events for Iowa and Illinois, updated twice a week. You’ll find highlight events here throughout the two states that help promote intersectionality and a more collaborative society. Read here about the latest Calendar, updated Tues., Sept. 22. You can also catch a summary of highlights, like Illinois’ “Pride Fest 2020” virtual celebration, and St. Louis’ art gallery tour of historic depictions of the…

Read More

SOMM Wines stays a step ahead, finds new COVID-aware location during crisis

werner pic 1

UPDATE: As of Nov. 3, SOMM Wines is back open! Limited curbside pickup hours of NOON TO 5 PM TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY. Watch Somm Wines for updates. FAIRFIELD — SOMM Wines’ response to the coronavirus crisis has been like a textbook in “one step ahead.” Before most businesses were even thinking about the virus, back in early March, SOMM owner Krista Matthes put out a summary of heightened disinfection. When “curbside” hadn’t yet become part of the retail lexicon, Matthes was already offering it. Before many businesses were thinking…

Read More

Thrift Bandit is eastern Iowa’s socially responsible outlaw of recycled fashion

thrift bandit cover

When they realized they were both wearing “polyester grandpa pants” and cardigan sweaters, Michael and Stef Duncan knew they were destined for each other.  They didn’t realize those grandpa pants would also inspire a business they would co-run. Thrift Bandit is the online vintage venture of Michael (from Burlington in southeast Iowa) and Stef (from Jerico in northeast Iowa), who describe themselves as “nerds running this out of our basement.” Launched in the summer of 2019, Thrift Bandit seeks to provide an alternative to first-hand, mass-produced disposable clothing — and…

Read More