“Kindness Queers,” “queerantine kits” brighten LGBTQIA youths’ lives during pandemic

kindness queers

CHAMPAIGN, ILL. — When Anna Peters and her business partner at the Art Coop began to think about how the pandemic might affect LGBTQIA children, they became worried. And then, inspired. Peters and co-owner Hilary Pope, along with Pope’s art teacher partner, realized they were already equipped to help with the arts resources all around them in the Coop, founded in 1971. The result, quickly, was 250 “queerantine kits” filled with art supplies out the door to “Kindness Queers,” who are LGBTQIA youngsters who may not have access to arts…

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Social justice pioneer Kesho Scott resumes outreach to small Iowa communities

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CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s been eight months since George Floyd’s death triggered nationwide historic protests against racial injustice and police brutality. But the work of memorializing him, and so many other people victimized by inappropriate policing, isn’t over, says Kesho Scott. Tonight at 7 p.m., from Cedar Rapids, Scott will lead an online memorial of Floyd, resuming a series she began this summer at the invitation of seven small Iowa towns.  The retired Grinnell College professor has worked for decades on behalf of social justice, including on the streets of…

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Fresh Feel Fade team brings family feel to contemporary style

Fresh Feel Fade family

IOWA CITY – When Johanna Lopez-Velador began receiving chemotherapy in November and needed to accept the temporary loss of all her hair, she knew where to turn. Johanna and her wife Karla immediately texted Angie Corbin and Molly Quast at Fresh Feel Fade Salon and Spa, where they’d been clients for three years. Corbin handled the administrative side, finding an immediate opening somewhere in the packed schedule of her wife Molly Quast, the haircut and color guru behind Fresh Feel Fade. On the big day, Lopez-Velador said, Quast gently walked…

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“POC and Q+T-centered:” new Methodist denomination takes intersectional to new levels

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“No one is shunned,” announced Rev. Alex Da Silva Souto, a queer native Brazilian Methodist pastor in Connecticut, about halfway through the first-ever Zoom service for LMX. They and Althea Spencer-Miller, a Drew University professor who studied in the West Indies and Jamaica, then began listing just some of the identities beyond LGBTQ+ that LMX is intended to reach. “Subalterns, outliers, speak!” Spencer-Miller said. “Wounded leaders,” said Da Silva Souto. “Mama bears… sis with an s, cis with a c … and if you have no idea what I’m talking…

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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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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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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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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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Since 1998: Love, hate during Coralville resident’s Matthew Shepard pilgrimage

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The bar where Matthew Shepard’s murderers lured him to his death was called The Fireside Bar & Lounge. By the time I visited it during a spontaneous roadtrip to Laramie, Wyo., in 2012, the bar had been closed and empty for many years. I could see through one glass panel and was surprised by how small it was.  Compared to images I had conjured of Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney lurking in the shadowy background as they planned their attack on Matthew, this was absurd. I realized Matthew’s attackers couldn’t…

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