AMOS & UCDSM
A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS) is a non-partisan, non-profit community organization in central Iowa made up of 29 diverse member institutions- churches, synagogues and advocacy organizations that represent thousands of residents of metropolitan Des Moines and Ames. It seeks to channel individual action into a responsible and powerfully-organized force for the common good. AMOS builds relationships with community leaders and government representatives to advocate for the changes the community is seeking. Many First Unitarian members are active participants in AMOS. Learn more about AMOS here, or contact Sally Boeckholt to learn how you can get involved.
Although AMOS is always listening to the community’s needs and concerns, some of the areas that teams are currently working on are: Mental Health Re-Design, Workforce Development Issues (ProjectIowa), Juvenile Justice, and Affordable Housing Issues.
Members of First Unitarian Church have been working with AMOS for the past 7 years to address Iowa’s disproportionate rate of the incarceration of African Americans. To learn more about how you can get involved, we have included a member contact for each group. Contact information can be found in the church directory.
- AMOS Criminal Justice Team— working to end the school to prison pipeline in Des Moines and the disproportionate incarceration of African Americans in Des Moines. Members of First Unitarian help co-lead this team while working with others to create systemic change in our schools and police department. This team has generated the following two mediation programs to end the school to prison pipeline. Contact: Harvey Harrison.
- Let’s Talk Mediation (AMOS) —This program was created to support youth in finding their own solutions to conflict. This helps them avoid out-of-school suspensions or the need to engage the School Resource Officer, both of which fuel the school-to-prison pipeline. Learn more at amosipl.org/LetsTalk or Contact: Harvey Harrison to attend a training or learn more. Requires availability during school hours.
- Second Chance Mediation (AMOS) —Recognizing the success of Let’s Talk Mediation, Police Chief Wingert asked AMOS to offer similar services to youth engaged with the police outside of school hours for minor offenses. With successful conclusion of this program, youths’ records are deleted. Contact: Ellen Taylor to attend a training or learn more. Requires availability after school hours.
- Legislation to Ban Racial Profiling —AMOS launched a racial profiling project with the Des Moines Chapter of the NAACP to document cases of racial profiling as they occur in central Iowa. Contact: Harvey Harrison.