The Iowa Conference’s United Methodist Women will host their annual meeting on Zoom Livestream or in-person at the Cherokee United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 2, 2021. Coffee and registration will be from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and the meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. This year’s theme is Ignited for Justice. It will feature a video drama called “Grace Notes,” and notable speakers are Flora Lee from Sioux City, Iowa, and Sue Ritts, from Shesler Hall. Registration ends September 24, 2021. To register, fill out this form and email it to Myra Bowman at [email protected].
“What I’m looking at providing is just a conversation around being ‘Ignited for Justice’ and ‘Iowa-nice,’” said Flora Lee, a former 12-year member of the Sioux City School Board, school social worker, and professional development coordinator. “We forget that we have issues and that there is institutionalized, systemic racism in Iowa within all of our systems. I want to just talk about some of those issues and look at the racism within our government, churches, schools, and in general and how we operate at times.”
“When one says ‘institutionalized,’ I want to say that it is a habit because that’s the way we’ve always done it, and we don’t think of it as being anything harmful to anyone or any group. I think we need to look at when people say, ‘systemic racism,’ or talk about any of the ‘isms,’ that it is some of the things that we do on a day-to-day basis because that’s what we’ve been taught. And it has become a habit. Most and quite often, with 95% of the people, it’s not intentional,” said Lee.
While on the school board, Lee advocated for antiracism, equality, multicultural education, and awareness for staff and students. She speaks to groups about using cliches and derogatory terms and educates them on their historical background and inappropriateness.
“That is what we need to talk about to our Sunday school classes, educational classes, or at home, around the table. We need to talk about those issues and how to change,” said Lee
Flora Lee is a life-long Iowan from Sioux City. She served on the Sioux City school board for 12 years as Vice President, President and on the policies and the finance committees. She was the president of the Sioux City National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for ten years. She is retired from Northwest Area Education Agency after 21 years of working as a school social worker and professional development coordinator. She is now semi-retired, working a few days a week for the Sioux City Human Rights Commission, coordinating and organizing educational programs for the public and the community, working with community organizations, and serving on other boards and committees.
“There is a risk involved with change, and it doesn’t happen until people are uncomfortable, and this subject matter can make us uncomfortable,” said Lee. “I’m honored to be your speaker, and I hope we have some good discussion, and we all leave with some insights.”