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Dalbey: Cityview project reflects its mission statement


We’ve been having some internal discussions at Business Publications Corp. about our products and the niches they fill in Greater Des Moines and Central Iowa. You’ll begin to see some of the results of some of those discussions as they relate to Cityview in Wednesday’s issue.

In that issue, we’ll announce the Cityview Activists Project, an ongoing effort to recognize and encourage the people who have moved mountains, one stone at a time. It started off as a simple question-and-answer session with local activists, an alternative paper’s response to an oft-asked question in the business community: Who in Greater Des Moines will be in the new class of philanthropists?   That’s an important question and its answer could help shape the Greater Des Moines of the future.

At Cityview, we asked a different, though equally important, question: Who will become the new activists?

To answer it, we created this project, which we believe serves Cityview’s mission statement: “An agent of change raising social, moral and political issues to increase community awareness and action.” It’s not enough for the media to sit back and criticize decisions and snipe at the people who made them. A newspaper has a moral imperative to raise the level of dialogue on issues that divide us and to give voice to people who have few champions. We think Cityview’s project is one step toward accomplishing that.

The project recognizes the realities that the work of activists is difficult, often unpopular and sometimes dangerous, and that public recognition of their efforts is often lacking. In addition to the editorial emphasis on the work activists do to improve their local and world communities, we’re announcing the Central Iowa Activist Awards, which will be presented Oct. 7 at Drake University, Cityview’s partner in this endeavor. The awards will recognize the work activists have done in the areas of human and civil rights; peace; the environment; education and youth advocacy; and neighborhood and community. We’ve also included a general advocacy category to allow nominations in other areas.

The nomination forms will appear in Wednesday’s Cityview, as well as the Sept. 10 and Sept. 17 issues. We expect the contributions of the winners will have been significant. Perhaps they risked death by registering African-American voters in the South during the civil rights movement and continue today to advocate for the extension of full civil rights to all Americans. Maybe they drove prostitution and drug dealers from their neighborhoods and cleaned them up, creating a safer environment for the families who lived there. Perhaps they’ve adopted a river, worked to ensure that everyone’s rights are represented in hog-lot siting decisions or attempted to stem development in environmentally fragile areas. The life’s work of still others may have been increasing understanding among people of different faiths, advocating for children’s rights or working for peaceful resolutions of conflicts between nations.

At the same time, the Cityview Activists Project gives us chance to remind our readers that no single individual can enjoy the full benefits of society if they aren’t enjoyed by all. Think about the people who have gotten their hands dirty to correct that and nominate them for one of our Activist Awards. We promise a surprise or two as we publicly applaud the activists’ work at our Oct. 7 awards ceremony at Drake’s Sheslow Auditorium. And watch Cityview as this community-service project unfolds.

Beth Dalbey is editorial director at Business Publications Corp.   

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