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Level Up for Justice: Press Start

City of Des Moines Symposium

October 12, 2023

Everyone starts the game of life from different starting points, and many people from marginalized communities often start further behind. How can we adequately equip ourselves to create equitable outcomes? How can individual players get involved in “multiplayer” work? No matter where we are on our own journey for social justice, this year’s Civil & Human Rights Symposium aims to provide ways we can advance to the next level and find solutions where everyone wins. This year’s symposium has three symposium tracks based on that belief:

  • Process Your Power: Women's Rights,
  • Dynamics of Disability Rights,
  • Voices from our Youth: LGBTQ+ and Refugee and Immigrant Youth Voices

Additionally, there will be two panel discussions facilitated by members of the City of Des Moines Youth Advisory Board centered around the importance of youth mentorship and environmental justice/climate action. After the discussion, we invite you to check out the vendor booths and explore the youth STEAM booths!

Press Start Logo

Symposium Details

This year’s symposium will be held at the Drake University Olmsted Center on Friday, Oct. 27. The full-day event begins at 8 a.m. And don't forget to attend the Kick-Off Event with Emmett Phillips, Jr. on Thursday, Oct. 26, featuring a workshop on "Art as Activism: DEI Through Creative Eyes." This event will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Franklin Avenue Library.

Registration for the CHR Symposium is available until Wednesday, Oct. 18. Visit DSM.city/CHRSymposium for a detailed agenda and more event information.

Symposium Keynote Speaker

Ashlyn Sparrow is the Assistant Director of the Weston Game Lab at the University of Chicago where she teaches undergraduate, graduate and K-12 students how to design their own games while uncovering the sociopolitical implications of their designs. Through WGL, she has developed a series of alternate reality games including Indiecade award-winning game Terrarium, A Labyrinth and Echo. In addition to her work at WGL, she works as a game designer and programmer in Chicago, having worked on Oni Fighter Yasuke for Waking Oni Games. In her previous role as the Learning Technology Director of the Game Changer Chicago Design Lab, Ashlyn was (and still is) devoted to creating game-based health interventions supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. During her tenure she designed and led the production of The Source, S.E.E.D, Hexacago Health Academy, Bystander and Prognosis.

Civil & Human Rights Symposium 

Registration Details

General admission tickets are $25, but student registration is free and those seeking a financial hardship exemption can email humanrights@dmgov.org or call our office at (515) 283-4284 to receive free admission through a special registration access code. The price of the symposium ticket includes admission to the kick-off panel event.

This year’s Civil & Human Rights Symposium will, indeed, be special, and we hope you’re just as excited as we are about it!

Visit DSM.city/CHRSymposium for more information.


Getting There

DART will provide free public transportation to Symposium attendees on Friday, Oct. 27. Attendees can simply show their event registration to the bus operator upon boarding to ride free that day. The Drake University Olmsted Center is accessible on DART Local Routes 3, 5 and 60. Plan your bus trip at: ridedart.com/mydart/trip-planner.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses or events specific to Downtown DSM.

Andrew Greenberg

Andrew Greenberg is the Interim Director of the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission. Andrew graduated from Grinnell College and the University of Iowa College of Law. Andrew joined the Commission in February 2023. Prior to that, Andrew worked for the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. Learn more about the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Department at DSM.city/CHR.