Marshalltown was the location of a statewide "Doers and Dreamers" immigration forum Nov. 9 held at Marshalltown Community College.
Some of the groups participating included the ACLU of Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI), Immigrant Allies of Marshalltown, the American Friends Service Committee, and the Sioux County Center for Assistance, Service, and Advocacy (CASA), and members of the United Methodist Church.
Others attending included immigration lawyers, community leaders, educators, faith leaders and a number of immigrants.
At the Nov. 9 DREAMers & DOers Forum in Marshalltown, participants from central Iowa listen as Anne Junod of northwest Iowa shares regional goals for working on fair immigration reform and immigrant rights issues.
Erica Johnson, ACLU of Iowa Immigrants' Rights and Racial Justice Advocate and the forum's facilitator, said "We're working to build relationships all over the state. We want to empower and inspire new and emerging leaders to go back to their communities and tackle issues there. With those who have been leading immigration efforts, we hope the forum re-energizes them."
One of the speakers included Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper, who spoke about how advocates can work more effectively with law enforcement and about his department's approach to immigrant issues.
The forum also included discussion about Iowa's role in immigration reform nationally, attendees sharing practices and strategies that had helped make them more effective.
"It was just incredible today to make connections with other Iowans, hearing their stories, and the powerful work being done in communities of all sizes," said Joa LaVille of Immigrant Allies of Marshalltown. "I think we all went away from this experience feeling stronger and more determined."