Your Clear Next Step's DEI Initiative

As part of our own commitment to continuous improvement, we launched a monthly, internal Diversity, Equity & Inclusion forum where each month our staff and partners have the opportunity to hear from speakers on topics. Then we engage in fruitful discussion with the presenter and as a team on how we can continue to be a more inclusive workspace.  We are using the broadest definitions of these terms, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, and political beliefs, with a conscious commitment to create spaces of belonging and opportunity within our own organization and, hopefully by modeling that, to encourage our clients to do the same. 

This is where you can access past session recordings, the YCNS DEI event calendar, as well as a local, public event calendar to continue your engagement. 

Watch Past Session Recordings!


Your Clear Next Step DEI Calendar


Date: Anytime! Time: Anytime! Link(s): Watch past recordings!



Date: 3rd Time: 4:00pm Link(s): Explore

Join us on a field trip to the Des Moines Public Library (1326 Forest Ave) for their program Explore Visual Black History, as February is Black History Month. We will have quiet observation and reflection, followed by open discussion. We will meet at the library from 4-5pm, and hope to enjoy more time together at Louie's Wine Dive (4040 University Ave Suite A) afterwards. Joining us elsewhere afterwards is optional. 

Library Description: "Drop by the Forest Avenue Library to look at photo books, graphic novels, and other visual records of Black history. These books are available to check out year-round! For now, we're pulling them out with tables, chairs, and supplies to reflect if you'd like to."


Date: 10th Time: 4:00pm Link(s): Zoom, Ted Talk - Playlist

Join us in watching a these two TED Talks out of the TED playlist, Revolutionary Women! as March is Women's History Month. We will watch the videos and have open discussion. 

TED Description: "These women fighting for justice and equality deserve center stage."

Gloria Steinem (2020): Discusses the Feminist Movement and provides her own commentary as a leader and activist. 


Kimberlé Crenshaw (2016): Defines Intersectionality and how it can be used to explain prejudice.



Date: 3rd Time: 12:00pm Link(s): Zoom

Barb Ranck will share with us about Human Trafficking, a topic she is passionate about. We will have open discussion/Q&A.


Tentative Date: 25th Tentative Time: 4:00-8:30pm Link(s): CelebrAsian

We will volunteer at CelebrAsian, an Asian American Festival which takes place in Des Moines. One of our 2022 speakers, Nu Huynh, is the Executive Director or Iowa Asian Alliance. IAA organizes this and other events throughout the year. 

IAA Description: Why pay for airfare when you can travel to Asia for free at CelebrAsian! Experience over a dozen Asian Villages where you can delight all five of your senses from the authentic Asian food, educational activities, to live cultural entertainment!"

Our volunteer slot is on Thursday the 25th from 4:00-8:30pm. We will be helping to set up for the festival.


Date: 17th Tentative Time:  Link(s): Iowa Juneteenth
We will volunteer at Iowa Juneteenth's Neighbors Day Event. It is similar to a festival with booths and tents, food, and entertainment. 
Iowa Juneteenth Chairperson Description: "We had a wonderful time celebrating our past, reflecting over the present, and planning our future. Your donation to the organization will be used to further the mission which is to provide education in African American culture and history, collaborating with like-minded organizations to cultivate awareness of our contributions. The theme for Iowa Juneteenth 2023 is Freedom to be."
Our volunteer slot is on Saturday the 17th from 12:00-4:00pm. We will be monitoring the Children's Play Area. 


Date: 28th Time: 4:00pm Link(s): Zoom, The Inaugural Episode, Reverse Racism

Join us in watching Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man from Emanuel Acho. We will watch the two videos and have open discussion. 

Emanuel's Description: "Following the death of George Floyd, Emmanuel Acho knew that he had to do something. So he did what he does best - talk to people. Acho sits down to have an “uncomfortable conversation” with white America, in order to educate and inform on racism, system racism, social injustice, rioting & the hurt Black people are feeling today."

You can also visit his website and watch more videos included in this series!


Date: 21st Time: 12:00pm Link(s): Zoom, Virtual Exhibits

August 26th is Women's Equality Day, so join us in a virtual tour of online exhibits from the National Women's History Museum.

Museum's Description: "Explore our collection of virtual exhibits and learn about trailblazing women, past and present."

We will each view at least one exhibit on our own, then come prepared to share highlights, interesting facts or details, reactions, thoughts and feelings, etc. How you present is up to you - whether that is through notetaking and speaking, or sharing your screen and walking us through your exhibit, etc. 


Date: 22nd Time: 4:00pm - 7:00pm Link(s): Latino Heritage Festival

We will volunteer and/or attend the Latino Heritage Festival as a group. Joe Gonzales, one of our DEI speakers in 2022, is the Executive Director of Latino Resources for the Latino Heritage Festival organization. He also recorded a podcast with Sinikka titled 5 Ways Diversity Makes Us Better. We'd love to continue this relationship with the organization in this way. 

The festival will take place on September 23-24th, and we will volunteer with the festival set-up on the 22nd. Please follow this link to sign up, and let me know once you do! Stay tuned for more information regarding when and where we will meet as a group!


Date: 20th Time: 4:00pm Link(s): Zoom, Ted Talks 1 & 2

Join us in watching these two Ted Talks discussing Indigenous Heritage for Indigenous People's Day on Oct. 9th. We will watch and have open discussion. 

1 Description: "Conservation champion and TED Fellow Adjany Costa is on a mission to empower Indigenous communities. Instead of imposing pre-designed policy and plans on local people, she says, conservation efforts should center those who know the land best, enabling them to tailor solutions to their unique environmental, social and economic realities. She presents a roadmap for Indigenous communities to take back ownership of their heritage and reclaim stewardship of their land. "Real community-based conservation ... fosters fierce independence," Costa says."

2 Description: "Land thrives in Indigenous hands, and there are real, tangible ways you can help return what was stolen by colonizers from tribes across North America. Indigenous scholar Lindsey Schneider addresses the ill-gotten legacy of settler colonialism with an introduction to the Land Back movement: the push to return stewardship of the Earth to its rightful guardians and restore balance to ecosystems for generations to come."


Date: 3rd Time: 3:30pm Link(s): Zoom, Iowa DD Council

Join us in hearing from Brooke Lovelace, the Executive Director at the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council! She will present on the organization and what they do. We will then have discussion and Q&A. 

Iowa DD Council's Mission, Vision, and Leadership Statements: 

Mission: Create change with and for persons with developmental disabilities so they can live, work, learn, and play in the community of their choosing.

Vision: Iowans with disabilities and their families are fully included in the communities of their choice.

Leadership: These dedicated individuals are leading our organization and making strides for change in Iowa.


Tentative Date: 1st Tentative Time:  Link(s): ArtForce Iowa

We hope to volunteer and/or attend Holiday Hustle as a group. Christine Her, one of our DEI speakers in 2022, is the Executive Director at ArtForce Iowa, the organization who partners with Mainframe Studios to hold this event. 

ArtForce Iowa's Description: "The Holiday Hustle kicks off the holiday season by providing an opportunity for young people to share their work with the community. These annual events allow young people to sell their art work and publicly perform, so they can apply their financial literacy skills, make money and invites the community to be active change makers."

The date is TBD as the event date has not been released by ArtForce Iowa yet, but it was held on Dec. 2nd in 2022, and is typically the first Friday in December. Stay tuned for more information about when and where we will meet as a group!

Public DEI Calendar

Here you will find other various public DEI events occurring near our Des Moines Metro area. These are events we will not be attending as a YCNS group as part of our formal DEI calendar this year, however, you are more than welcome and encouraged to participate as your interest and time allow!

While this list is not extensive, and is ever-evolving, please feel free to dig deeper into your own area and any other events you are aware of. If you know of an event that the YCNS team could benefit from, please let us know! 

Name of Event/Organization Date & Time Location Link(s)
Des Moines Biergarten

Fri, Oct. 6 - Sun, Oct. 8

12pm - 9pm

Water Works Park - Lauridsen Amphitheater

Des Moines, IA

Learn More
Spielgarten at Des Moines Biergarten

Sat, Oct. 7 (Recurring weekly on Saturday until Oct. 28

1pm - 5pm

Water Works Park - Lauridsen Amphitheater

Des Moines, IA

Learn More
Indigenous Iowans Day

Sat, Oct. 7

9am - 4pm

Living History Farms

Urbandale, IA

Learn More
Bilingual Storytime

Sat, Oct. 7

10:30am - 11:15am

Norwalk Easter Public Library

Norwalk, IA

Learn More
Worldwide Food Truck Tours

Sat, Oct. 7 

12pm - 10pm

Court Avenue Bridge

Des Moines, IA

Learn More

Sat, Oct. 7

4:30pm - 11pm

Downtown Waukee Triangle

Waukee, IA

Learn More
Indigenous Peoples Day

Sun, Oct. 8

2pm - 5pm

Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt - Wildlife Area

Maxwell, IA

Learn More
Capital City Pride Presents: Sam Schedler

Fri, Oct. 12


Temple Theater

Des Moines, IA

Learn More
Bilingual Storytime

Sat, Oct. 14

10:30am - 11:15am

Norwalk Easter Public Library

Norwalk, IA

Learn More