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The 30 Iowa City to talk social justice on the Ped Mall


The 30 Iowa City

Black Hawk Mini Park (Ped Mall) — Friday, Sept. 16 at 12 p.m. – Saturday, Sept. 17 — Free

The Black Hawk mini park is located on the north end of the Ped Mall. -- photo by Drew Bulman
The Black Hawk mini park is located on the north end of the Ped Mall. — photo by Drew Bulman

A group of Iowa City activists will host a 30-hour teach-in in Black Hawk Mini Park on the Iowa City Ped Mall starting Friday to help the local community get organized around social justice issues. Community members will lead one-hour sessions designed to encourage dialogue and action on a diverse range of topics like how to run for office and understanding white privilege.

Kendra Malone, the primary organizer of The 30, said she chose the teach-in setting because it brings in local community members to share skills and knowledge. Organizers issued an open invitation for anyone from Iowa City to submit ideas for teach-in sessions they would like to lead.

“Lectures are great, but I’ve never heard anyone put out a call to invite community members in to provide a service in education for other community members,” Malone said.

The teach-in is styled after similar events that started in the 60s to provide a forum for community organizing. A 1965 teach-in in Ann Arbor, Michigan is recognized as the first teach-in, part of a movement that grew out of anti-war efforts and culminated in a national teach-in in Washington, D.C.

Malone said it is unusual for a teach-in to include such a wide variety of topics and for it to be held outdoors.

“I haven’t seen anything on this scale, in a public performance where people can witness,” Malone said.

She said she was first inspired to create The 30 because she was tired of only seeing people in the street for rallies and vigils in response to tragic events. She saw a need to be proactive and create a space to share ideas about how Iowa Citians can prevent instances of social injustice like police brutality and discrimination from happening in the first place.

“There is racial segregation and unspoken tension in Iowa City that I see us having a hard time talking about. I’ve never seen an entity publicly say let’s have a conversation about white privilege in a public setting,” Malone said.

No future teach-ins are planned at this time, however Malone said she and other organizers hope that The 30 will provide an opportunity for networking and inspire attendees to take action to build a stronger, more just Iowa City.

“It’s a grand experiment, envisioning community in new ways. I hope as many folks as possible will come and engage in the experiment, but it will be new for all of us,” she said.

Because a goal of The 30 is to create a safe space where participants can allow themselves to feel vulnerable and have difficult conversations photography and video are discouraged.

If attendees require any particular accommodations in order to participate, email The30IC@gmail.com. All are welcome, including children; however, participants are encouraged to check the schedule of speakers first to determine whether the event is appropriate, as discussions are expected to be frank.

Editor’s Note:

Little Village will have a table at the event on Saturday and Little Village Community Manager Simeon Talley was one of the organizers.


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