PACG 2020 Year-End Summary
PACG wishes all of its many members a Happy Holiday and Peace in the New Year!
Our Board of Directors took the time to share a personal message to each of you. View that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82wmSk7vLfQ.
This has been a challenging year for us all. Thanks to dedicated volunteers, our generous donors and a little creative thinking, PACG has adapted to organizing and working for social justice during the pandemic. Our PACG Board and Forums have met via Zoom throughout these last 9 months. PACG bought a corporate Zoom license and we decided to share it with other social action agencies in the Quad Cities area. This new format has taught us a lot about how to set up successful and secure Zoom meetings. We made our voice stronger and were able to reach a broader progressive audience. We collaborated with partner agencies: Quad Cities Interfaith, Sisters of St. Francis (in Clinton), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), One Human Family, Catalyst Kitchen, United Way, Augustana College, St. Ambrose University, Wapsi River Center, Western Illinois University, Iowa Interfaith Power and Light, Our Lady of the Prairie and Quad Cities Interfaith.
The PACG Board and our groups have continued to be active. The Civil Rights Forum, Environmental Forum, and Health Care Reform Forum and Book Club have met with regularity during a very unusual time.
The PACG Civil Rights Forum began the year working for restorative justice by meeting with those involved with the anti-immigration rally at the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church. Members also met with Iowa US Senate candidate, Theresa Greenfield, to deliver the message, “Children do not belong in detention camps.” In May PACG signed on to a Protect Iowa Workers statement and joined a broad coalition of Iowans to protect the safety of Iowa’s workers during the global pandemic. The Forum is also active in the Juvenile Justice Coalition of the Quad Cities.
The PACG Environmental Forum screened the film, From Paris to Pittsburgh, at Augustana College in Rock Island. In March they promoted the “Plant 1000 Trees” event. They co-sponsored a virtual screening of the film The Story of Plastics at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the QC. The forum assembled a panel of sponsors including Rock Island Soil and Conservation District and Niabi Zoo to discuss the film after the showing.
Because of the pandemic, the forum reconfigured its Earth Day Celebrations.
- In May, they set up a voter information table each Saturday at the Freight House Farmer’s Market.
- They prompted the cities of Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island and East Moline to proclaim July as “Earth Month.”
- They celebrated Earth Day at the Farmer’s Market. Many vendors participated in this physically distant, outdoor event.
- They hosted the Citizen’s Climate Lobby via Zoom. Donald Addu presented a discussion, “The Environmental Voter: A Path to a Just and Stable Climate.” Over 40 people attended this virtual event.
Throughout the year, the PACG Health Care Reform Forum members have been writing letters to the editor that have been published in the Quad City Times. They also continued to promote Affordable Care Act education and enrollment.
The PACG Book Club continues to meet monthly with a focus on racial justice. Topics for 2021 will be expanding to include books on how the environment and health care play a role in racial inequality. The Book Club has gone international with one member zooming in from Canada!
The Dick Fallow Endowment continued its association with PACG. At the Holiday Party in December of 2019, PACG awarded the Dick Fallow Social Justice Endowment Grant to Project Renew. In February of 2020 one of our founding members, Kriss Wells passed away. PACG made a donation to the Endowment to honor him.
The PACG Board ended 2019 with a Holiday Party. Over 70 PACG members gathered in person at the German American Heritage Museum to award the Dick Fallow Award, review 2019 and eat food catered by Maria from Catalyst Kitchen.
During this election year of 2020, the Board encouraged members to submit platform planks for the Iowa Caucuses and also co-sponsored nonpartisan caucus trainings with the AAUW, QCAIR, and Alliance for Retired Americans. We also co-sponsored three virtual Informed Voter Town Halls. After the election PACG also co-sponsored a “Count Every Vote” virtual rally.
In commemoration of Black History Month in February, PACG members donated $2,200 to purchase an information kiosk at the Friends of Martin Luther King Interpretive Center in Davenport.
In May PACG co-hosted the Covid-19 Victims Remembrance Day.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement, PACG began holding weekly “Racial Equality Now” demonstrations at John Deere Rd and 16th St. in Moline at 11:30 am. Each Saturday since then, supporters stand at this busy intersection holding BLM signs and encouraging drivers to honk in support.
To celebrate our 15th Anniversary, PACG began a fundraiser to collect funds for our Y15K Initiative. PACG matched pledges up to $7500. Our members helped us raise another $12500. We distributed over $20,000 to specially chosen organizations that serve those in our community especially hard hit by the pandemic:
- QCAIR (for immigrants)
- Heart of Hope Ministries (food distribution in Rock Island)
- Cobblestone Place (low-income housing which gives PACG very affordable office space)
- Catalyst Kitchen (in conjunction with Black Hawk College to provide food service certification).
PACG celebrated its 15th Anniversary with a Virtual Picnic and Pie Auction. We raised over $500 from our pie auction! Maria at Catalyst Kitchen provided Enchilada dinners. We were able to have a feast and support a minority-owned small business.
In December we have been busy helping to co-sponsor the “What is the White Power Movement and Why Should You Care?” webinar organized by our friends at One Human Family Quad Cities.
We are forgoing our annual holiday party due to the pandemic, but we will continue our work undaunted! We have composed a little summary of our activities over this past year and I’d like to share it with you below.