Iowa’s Creative Corridor Association of Black Social Workers holds first meeting

The founding members of a new Eastern Iowa organization want to increase the number of black social service professionals and make Iowa’s Creative Corridor one of the best places to develop leaders in the country. Officially formed in October, founding members of Iowa’s Creative Corridor Association of Black Social Workers held their first official meeting Tuesday night at the African American Museum of Iowa to talk about their goals and vision for the group. “The group is designed to make the Creative Corridor one of the best places to develop African-American social workers,” said Chad Simmons, executive director of Diversity Focus. The Black Social Workers group will work with social service providers and social service organizations, he said. As communities continue to diversify, Simmons wants to ensure social service organizations are headed by people who are representative of the area’s changing demographics. Allen Bell, certified family support specialist at the Jane Boyd Harambee House, said there aren’t very many black social workers in Cedar Rapids. He hopes the organization will give Cedar Rapids’ black social workers a chance to pool resources, connect and support one another. Bell has been in social work for 32 years. He said the organization is important as Cedar Rapids sees an influx of people migrating here from major metropolitan areas such as Chicago. “Those folks have a struggle in the transition,” Bell said. “Getting here, trying to get their kids in school, trying to find employment, trying to find a place to live. When you’re in that kind of transition, you find that a lot of gaps are created that you sometimes feel like…