Real change

FD leadership summit to focus on race relations

A leadership summit will soon be held in Fort Dodge that organizers hope will be a first step in creating real change when it comes to racial and cultural understanding.

The summit, called A Week in Dodge, will consist of a series of conversations and training centered around the issues of race, culture, diversity, racism, leadership and real change. It will feature nationally recognized speakers such as Eddie Moore Jr. and John G. Igwebuike.

The sessions will be held May 3 through May 6.

Charles Clayton, executive director of Athletics for Education and Success, is one of the speakers and helped organize the summit. He said even though more race-related incidents have come to light in recent times throughout the country, this educational opportunity has been in the works for the past few years.

“Myself and Chief (Roger) Porter (Fort Dodge Police Department) — he and I have been talking about doing something like this for two-and-a-half or three years,” Clayton said. “So even before some of the social justice unrest last year and the George Floyd (tragedy), we had already been having conversations.”

City employees, business professionals, police officers, educators and health care professionals will be participating. The general public is encouraged to participate also, Clayton said.

“It’s really for everybody,” Clayton said. “It’s open to anyone and everyone.”

Topics like racial and historical literacy, effective listening and understanding bias, are on the agenda.

“We really want to build some equity in our community and work on leadership skills when it comes to diversity and inclusion,” Clayton said.

Clayton said the training sessions are like a marathon, not a sprint.

“Focused preparation and training is needed for long distance runs,” he said. “With this inaugural empowerment and leadership summit, community members are going to begin with the stretching and warm-up phase, then deliberate practice runs in order to build up the endurance and stamina needed to run the marathon itself together.”

Some trainings are offered twice, over two days. This does not mean one is required to attend both days. Rather, the goal is to offer more than one session in order to accommodate agency schedules and offer flexibility to their personnel and team members.

Clayton said the summit is a meaningful opportunity for Fort Dodge.

“This great opportunity is going on right in our backyard,” he said. “All these key leaders are in this community taking part in something. I think it’s a proud moment for Fort Dodge.”

Clayton said the plan is to host the summit annually. He believes this type of communication and training is necessary to diffuse racial tensions.

“It’s helping build equity in our community and even our state,” Clayton said. “If you build up equity, you won’t get that violence or tension because you built up that good will. And it’s time for us to start doing that. Once you do that, when something bad does happen, I think it’s easier to say it was one bad seed because you have enough good equity built up in the community.”

A Week In Dodge is offering both virtual and in-person options. In-person meetings will be held at Iowa Central Community College.

To register, visit https://web.cvent.com/event/6789e26e-ea6c-4a3d-a779-cde2bd7d5cab/summary

Cost is $175 per person.

The Speakers

Eddie Moore, Jr.: In 1996, he started America & MOORE, LLC to provide comprehensive diversity, privilege and leadership training/workshops. He is featured in the film “I’m not Racist … Am I?”

Moore is the founder/program director for the White Privilege Conference (WPC). In 2014, Moore founded The Privilege Institute (TPI) which engages people in research, education, action and leadership through workshops, conferences, publications and strategic partnerships and relationships.

John G. Igwebuike: A professor in the School of Business at Alcorn State University, he is also founder and nonprofit leader of Guanacaste: The Lead Listening Institute. Guanacaste, which is Spanish for “Listening Tree,” is a quiet revolution — a unique movement dedicated to advancing and championing the positive power of effective listening in human relationships to facilitate diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, as well as being heard and seen (DEIBBHS).

Guanacaste impacts lives by way of workshops and writings, teachings and training, presentations and papers, as well as coaching and counseling offered through The Lead Listening Institute.

Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford: She practices and teaches at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/ Harvard Medical School (HMS) as one of the first fellowship-trained obesity medicine physicians in the world. Stanford received her bachelor of science and master of public health from Emory University as a MLK Scholar, her Doctor of Medicine from the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine as a Stoney Scholar, and her master in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as a Zuckerman Fellow in the Harvard Center for Public Leadership. She completed her Obesity Medicine & Nutrition Fellowship at MGH/HMS after completing her internal medicine and pediatrics residency at the University of South Carolina.

She has served as a health communications fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and as a behavioral sciences intern at the American Cancer Society. Upon completion of her MPH, she received the Gold Congressional Award, the highest honor that Congress bestows upon America’s youth.

Charles Clayton: Founder and executive director of Athletics for Education and Success, a local nonprofit with the mission to “restore hope to minority, at risk and low-income youth and families by providing safe, affordable recreation and extra-curricular activities.” He served as chair and resided over the longest running event/fair in the county “Frontier Days” from 2004 to 2010. He’s served on governor-appointed committees and boards such as The State Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee. He was a commissioner with the African American Commission on African American Affairs.

He’s served on the local Webster County Diversity Committee and the Fort Dodge Human Rights Commission. Clayton is vice president of the local NAACP.

Joshua V. Barr: An Emmy award-winning, transformational leader from South Carolina. In 2015, Barr became the director of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission. As director, he increased the number of complaints filed in the office by 170% and the number of probable cause discrimination cases by 500%. He also spearheaded the Bridging the Gap initiative where the Commission conducted community dialogues to develop policies designed to increase opportunity and make a safe, more just community for all. Through the initiative, the Commission was able to create new city policies including: protected class status for persons with government benefits to obtain housing; protecting the right of residents to be free from inquiry about immigration status from local law enforcement; and developing a cultural competency training program for all city employees. In 2020, Barr debuted the Emmy award winning documentary “Breaking Bread, Building Bridges,” where he and his team took 40 strangers and matched them together based on their differences to have dinners over the course of a few months.

Summit in Fort Dodge

What: A Week in Dodge: Re-education, skill building, empowerment and leadership summit

When: May 3-6

Where: Virtually and at Iowa Central Community College

Cost: $175 per person

Sponsors: UnityPoint Health, Athletics for Education and Success, America & Moore and Iowa Central


Charles Clayton

Eddie Moore Jr.

John Igwebuike

Dr. Fatima

Cody Stanford

Joshua V. Barr


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