Iowa, Illinois show poorly for women, people of color

Living in Iowa or Illinois can be an economic challenge if you’re a person of color or a woman, recent studies show. Zippia declared Iowa the “second-worst state to be black,” with Illinois coming in at the 11th-worst spot. In addition, 24/7 Wall St. has five Illinois cities in its list of the 15 worst cities to live if you’re black. And Iowa’s Waterloo/Cedar Falls is considered the country’s third-worst place to live if you’re black, after topping the list for several years. In addition, Iowa is among the states…

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‘Coming out’ again: The Real MainStream brighter, better, and reinvented

Read about how The Real MainStream is reworking itself to better serve Iowa and Illinois. Whenever I run across one of my keepsake copies of the first 13 editions of The Real MainStream, published before the current worldwide pandemic, I feel awash in memories and sensations. “We’ll never give up the handshake!” joked a customer and I in early March. Mere days later, he and dozens of others in our circulation area announced they were saying “no” to not only handshakes, but all in-store traffic for a few months.  Back…

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Proteus provides face masks, COVID-19 support to farmworkers in three states

Proteus, Inc. is collecting face masks, providing free testing, educating workers on prevention, and helping coronavirus survivors with follow-up services, through a new initiative it began in March. The Des Moines-based nonprofit has already provided masks for 2,000 of the estimated 7,500 migrant farmworkers throughout Nebraska, Indiana and Iowa. Their top goal is to receive enough donated masks to provide at least two to every farmworker in the three-state area. “Farmworkers are essential workers. They contribute to supporting the food supply chain, agricultural economy, and help put food on our…

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Love Letter to my Black Queer People

I see you. Every time I sit down to write this column, to put into words all the tender spots in my heart, I feel this extreme tiredness. The kind of tiredness that, even in 90-degree heat, sinks you right back under the covers. I keep thinking about all the eyes that will see it. All the non-Black hearts that will try to connect with the love I intend only to go to you, my Black queer people. All the non-Black minds that will dissect and analyze all the words…

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Fairfield store stands proud with LGBTQ Pride, Black Lives Matter message

FAIRFIELD — A few years ago, Paul Praither saw a headline that wrenched his heart: a teenager that worked for him at Everybody’s Whole Foods, who was undergoing a transition from one gender to another, had chosen to end his life. “He was a really nice kid. I wish he would have said something. I wish I would have said something,” Praither said. The tragedy inspired Praither to lead an LGBTQ renaissance at Everybody’s — a visual explosion of acceptance, equality and diversity that has blossomed this summer into a…

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Cedar Rapids models success of the ‘peaceful protest’

The protests in 1,700-plus American communities since George Floyd’s May 25 murder have ranged from violent, to peaceful, to showy, to subdued. That includes the protests in Iowa. In Des Moines, clashes between police and demonstrators have been tense. In Iowa City, a mostly youthful protest group opted for more “in your face” tactics like shutting down interstates and marching to council members’ homes. The Quad Cities is dealing with deaths related to random violence that occurred after and near peaceful protest sites. Tiny towns like Fairfield, Washington, and West…

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Juneteenth celebrations blossom online and throughout Iowa, Illinois

A three-day virtual festival, comedy nights, protests, family-friendly gatherings, concerts, and online events of all kinds are honoring Juneteenth like never before this year. The annual June 19 celebration, which honors the date that slavery was abolished, is receiving long overdue nationwide focus in light of the recent rash of police killings of black men. The entire state of Illinois will lower its flags to half-staff in honor of the holiday. More than 70 Chicago restaurants have joined to offer Juneteenth specials, writes Chicago Eater. Many cities, including Chicago, have…

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Tarotscope: A Time of Unlearning (June 6-17)

As a heteronormative, cisgender, white woman of European and English descent, who has lived a life of privilege, I feel inappropriate when I say, “I am tired.” But I am. Many of us are. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Being tired is good. It means we are doing the Work. It means we are pulling our heads out of the sand. If you’re white, it hopefully means you are swallowing the pride that comes with the color of your skin. You’re starting the long and arduous process of dismantling, brick…

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Des Moines’ history of systemic racism said to be built around housing restrictions

The city of Des Moines intentionally undertook policies in the 1930s and 1960s to limit housing options for Black residents, writes a University of Iowa student. In addition, writes Ross Clowser, the city’s failure to clean up areas deemed by the EPA to be contaminated with toxins have hit Des Moines’ Black residents harder than the general population. As a result, living in Des Moines can be as hard for a Black person as living in some of the nation’s most segregated communities, Clowser writes in a 2018 paper he…

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