Community Learning Series: Advancing Racial Equity in Linn County

The Community Learning Series: Advancing Racial Equity in Linn County virtual event was held on Wednesday, November 17. Community Foundation staff shared data about racial disparities in Linn County gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau, Linn County Public Health, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Covering a wide range of social issues, the data highlighted stark local inequities in household income, health outcomes, incarceration rates, and other key indicators.

This information is important as we think about the future of our community. We have a better chance of trending toward a healthy, thriving community if we avoid leaving portions of it behind. A focus on racial equity will ensure that as our demographics shift, we will be able to support healthy people, communities, organizations, and economies.

If you were unable to attend, you can find a recording of the event here.

The “Advancing Racial Equity in Linn County” report containing the data shared, can be found here.

The video shared at the event about Anthony Arrington’s personal experience as a Black man, father, husband, and entrepreneur in Cedar Rapids, can be viewed here.

We’re grateful to our guest panelists, who helped us explore how we can address the root causes of some of the disparities.

Anthony Arrington, CDE Managing Partner, Top RANK Jasmine Almoayyed, Vice President, Continuing Education and Training Services Kirkwood Community College Okpara Rice, Chief Executive Officer Tanager Place Rod Dooley, Lead Pastor, New City Church Diversity & Inclusion Professional

Here are a few ways to support racial equity efforts mentioned at the learning event:

  • Study the data and share it with your friends, families and co-workers.
  • Use your individual power, privilege, and platform to step out of your comfort zone and be bold in efforts where you can have an impact.
  • Create environments where people of color belong and can succeed.
  • Learn about different cultures to increase your competencies around diversity so you can help create more welcoming environments.
  • Don’t remain silent when you observe or hear something offensive or feel it is hurting the success of others.
  • Ensure that your workplace has policies and procedures that are equitable and that hiring managers have proper training.
  • Work to diversify leadership of companies, schools, and churches. Research shows that increased diversity in leadership moves the conversation faster.
  • Seek out additional learning opportunities to understand the challenges of racial equity. Resources mentioned at the event include:
o   Book: Color of Law
o   Documentary: King in the Wilderness
o   Museum Exhibit: African American Museum of Iowa’s Current Redlining Exhibit
  • Learn about and participate in the efforts of local organizations.