From Education to Art “We just want to build community and have a space for students to learn and sustain student organizing.”

Picture is captured by Eric Salmon

DES MOINES, IA On July 13, 2021 the Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) Racial Equity and Justice Retreat opened up for both Middle and High School Students to sign up for their Workshops.

These workshops are intended to continue the advocacy of student organizing towards anti-racism and equity in Des Moines Public Schools. 

This will be taking place August 2nd, 4th, 6th, 9th, 11th, and 13th at East High School from 10:00am to 3:00pm. 


The first workshop will be an Overview of Education Activism. Being educated on history and what it takes to organize for change and mobilizing your community. Other workshops will also include Art Bomb Activism. 

“We’re going to have a workshop on Visual Arts, a workshop on poetry. We are going to have an Artbomb. Artbomb is basically a statement piece that goes out into the community. ACLU  did an Artbomb with the kids in cages to emphasize the detention centers at the border and it’s their present in the community and people were forced to see it” said Endi Montalvo-Martínez one of the many organizers in the works behind DMPS Racial Equity and Justice Retreat.

Workshops will also feature Intersectional Identities featuring students and teachers on a panel of what it is to have intersectional Identities at DMPS. This will allow students to get more of an insight.


Workshops will continue and touch on Mental Health and well being. 

“Our well-being is connected to the work that we do. That’s the reason we do it so we’re going to have one on healing your Inner of a self care for the outer self and then talk about like stigmas and communication skills to set boundaries” said Montalvo

Some of the final workshops will also include a case study in which students will be able to work with other students in identifying social issues. 


“It’s basically like a group project where they identify a social issue in DMPS they researched the topic and then they present like a potential solution and it’s kind of just to get them started to the work that they’re going to do do throughout the school year and we’re going to support them and help them gain the skills.” said Montalvo

Montalvo continued “I like the reservation with my Collective liberation of our students, staff and Community. We just want to build community and have a space for students to learn and sustain student organizing.”

Through this type of work it only continues and this prepares the next generation into making DMPS equitable for everyone and student-lead.

“I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that this work has to be done unapologetically. I used to be a really shy person and I’m learning a lot of from Lyric [one of the other organizers] has from the very beginning has been really Unapologetic…” said Montalvo 


Montalvo continues“…”we can’t say it like that, like oh we have to be nicer about it” but it’s not about being nice. It’s not about making friends. It’s about doing the work that needs to be done.”

With the sign up being open to Middle & High school students time will only tell when the next change will come. 

“I’ve grown a lot through this work, like understanding the experiences I’ve had as a DMPS student are connected to the systems of oppression that exist in other parts of our society.  not only an education, in Healthcare, housing, employment and all things like that connect with living experience…” said Montalvo 

Montalvo continued “…they’re knowledgeable about their experience so if we can get them to reflect on their experience and support them and make sure that they know that they’ll be supported and leading change the other students don’t have to go through the same things they did. They can see how there’s like parallels in like our society not only in education, but other systems in the US”

For any questions or concerns contact DMPS Racial Equity on Instagram.

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