This is our regular, weekly, Meetup. Please come and join us for an interesting discussion on a variety of issues.
Faith Lutheran Church in Clive is exploring the religious diversity in Des Moines and is inviting representatives from different faiths to speak through the month of February. They have asked Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers to help them understand non-believers.
We will be speaking on our viewpoints and our group’s activities, as well as the atheist experience within our culture.
If you would like to attend this discussion, plan to be early and please RSVP so the church can prepare suitable space.
The IAF Book Discussion Group is an ongoing effort to provide interesting intellectual conversations for members of IAF and other interested parties on texts and topics relevant to the Secular perspective.
For this session the group will continue with our exploration of the text “The New Jim Crow” by renowned author and social justice advocate Michelle Alexander.
The reading schedule for sessions two and three is as follows –
March – Chapters 2 & 3 (to page 139)
April – Chapters 4, 5 & 6 (to page 261)
After this series on social justice, we will spend the next three sessions focusing on fiction again after which we will tackle a text on philosophy/psychology.
For session 1, please be prepared, if possible, to present things from the reading assignment that stood out for you so that we can gain a good cross-section of individual perspectives where the reading is concerned. Consider questions of content, such as passages that stood out for you or particular facts you found interesting that you might want to explore further. Definitely don’t be afraid to ask questions about concepts and ideas that are new to you.
The conference room that has been reserved at Kirkendall Public Library has a maximum capacity of 20 so RSVP early to get a seat. Social time will be available from 6:30 to 7 PM if you want to come and just chat before the discussion begins. We’ll see you there. 🙂
You can read about the book by going to the primary website for the title HERE.
If you prefer, though, here is a brief synopsis of the title from the same –
“The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. Since its publication in 2010, the book has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year; been dubbed the “secular bible of a new social movement” by numerous commentators, including Cornel West; and has led to consciousness-raising efforts in universities, churches, community centers, re-entry centers, and prisons nationwide. The New Jim Crow tells a truth our nation has been reluctant to face.
As the United States celebrates its “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of black men in major urban areas are under correctional control or saddled with criminal records for life. Jim Crow laws were wiped off the books decades ago, but today an extraordinary percentage of the African American community is warehoused in prisons or trapped in a parallel social universe, denied basic civil and human rights—including the right to vote; the right to serve on juries; and the right to be free of legal discrimination in employment, housing, access to education and public benefits. Today, it is no longer socially permissible to use race explicitly as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet as civil-rights-lawyer-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander demonstrates, it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways in which it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once labeled a felon, even for a minor drug crime, the old forms of discrimination are suddenly legal again. In her words, “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”
Alexander shows that, by targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.
The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community—and all of us—to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.“
Volunteer Opportunity! Come support Planned Parenthood of the Heartland as they prepare for their annual Spring booksale at the Fairgrounds 4-H building. The bulk of the work is unpacking boxes of books and arranging them on tables so please wear clothes and shoes that you can work in comfortably as you’ll be on your feet quite a bit. To find the 4-H Building, turn right from the main fairgrounds entrance off of E. 30th St and drive to the farthest building in that corner of the grounds. For security reason, volunteers are instructed to enter the building via the door on the SW corner, just to the right and around the way from the main entrance.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it out at 4:00 – just come when you can, there will be plenty to do. Planned Parenthood asks that all volunteers stay for a minimum of two hours but they understand that not everyone can meet this goal. Please do RSVP if you plan to attend so we can send a headcount to the Planned Parenthood Book Sale organizers. Thank you for volunteering!
UPDATE: Due to a scheduling conflict, the book sale has been pushed back to April 20-24. Unboxing will occur on Tuesday, April 18th.
The Humanist Society of Iowa is proud to host Amanda Knief as she gives an explication of her book “The Citizen Lobbyist”. Amanda, formerly an Iowan, is one of the founding members of the Iowa Atheists & Freethinkers.
Amanda Knief will travel from her home in Washington, D.C., to present the Humanist’s February program. Amanda earned her JD degree from Drake University before working at the Iowa Legislature and seeing for herself “how the sausage is made.” The votes we cast in November did not end our participation in the critical presidential and legislative terms ahead. Amanda will educate us on how, step-by-step, we can make our voices heard.
Amanda Knief, National Legal and Public Policy Director-American Atheists
Amanda Knief is a public policy and constitutional expert on religious freedom and civil liberties. She is the author of The Citizen Lobbyist: A How-to Manual for Making Your Voice Heard in Government. Amanda has a JD from Drake University Law School and a BS in journalism and science communication from Iowa State University. She has previously worked as a legal counsel and legislative drafter for the Iowa Legislature and the lobbyist for the Secular Coalition for America.
Amanda Knief is the National Legal and Public Policy Director for American Atheists. She directs American Atheists’ policy advocacy, legal strategy, and serves as In-House Counsel.