The Slay Fund for Social Justice

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Drake Community Press

Since our founding in 2014, the Drake Community Press (DCP) has been serving a community readership on issues of interest and concern to Iowans.  DCP partners with Iowa organizations to promote positive interaction and community betterment, as well as provides students with practical knowledge of book editing, design, and production with a cross-disciplinary and collaborative focus.  Working within the unique framework of a community-publishing model, DCP engages in community writing projects where all stakeholders are writing with each other.

While the results of a DCP project culminates in the release of a book, the Press is critically invested in relationship-building among individuals and groups, where all collaborators gain a deeper understanding of their community.

The sales of all DCP books go directly to a community beneficiary, to help further the cause and development of the partnering community organization. Since its release in early 2014, DCP’s most recent book—The Ones I Bring With Me: Iowa’s Young Latinas on Identity, Education, and Success—has raised nearly $15,000 with its collaborator, Al Éxito, a Latin@ mentoring program for middle and high school students across central Iowa.

For its newest project, DCP has partnered with Drake University’s The Comparison Project  as well as the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) to highlight the astounding religious diversity in the Des Moines area. Tentatively called Religions of Des Moines, the book will introduce readers to 15 local religious communities through descriptions of their embodied practices, sacred spaces, and local histories. Proceeds of the sale of the book, slated to launch in early spring of 2017, will be donated to DMARC’s food pantries of Central Iowa.

As part of the community-based publishing model, DCP also organizes community-building events to strengthen relationships between all stakeholders. For Religions of Des Moines, students will be hosting a poster session and dessert bar on April 7th from 6:30 – 9 pm to present the research they’ve been doing in religious communities to all the religious communities featured in the book. In conjunction with DMARC, DCP will also be hosting a public tour of sacred spaces in the greater Des Moines area featuring the spaces of the book’s communities.

The Slay Fund’s generous donations over the past two publishing cycles have funded the work of student editorial interns, responsible for research, writing, editing, and organizing content for the book project as well as grant writing, event planning, and organizational tasks to make sure the community publishing process is in order.

For more information on our involved organizations and events, visit our websites:

DCP projects are dedicated to improving awareness about cultural groups in our community and raising thousands of dollars to fund organizations that support them. In so doing, the DCP offers meaningful experiential learning opportunities (like pizza and marathon editing sessions into the wee hours) where students commit to a project larger that matters more to them than any individual outcome. 

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