Being in Iowa

Being in Iowa is a series of multi-part reports that goes in-depth to examine what it is like to be a minority in Iowa. The reports look at the issues, history, cultural traditions, challenges and future of each diverse group of people that are part of Iowa. Reporter Rob Dillard tells the stories by talking with the leaders and having intimate discussions with some members of each group, and taking listeners to the places that exemplify these communities.

Being in Iowa is funded in part by The Principal Financial Group Foundation, the Alliant Energy Foundation, The Dr. Richard Deming Foundation, and Veridian Credit Union.

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Iowa Public Radio today returns to its ongoing series “Being in Iowa.” This week we look into what it means to be gay in Iowa. The most recent poll to gather public sentiment about same-sex marriage taken a year ago shows more Iowans oppose it than support it – but by a narrow margin, 38 to 34 percent. Almost as many people – 30 percent – say they don’t care one way or the other. Iowa Public Radio’s Rob Dillard revisits attitudes toward gay marriage nearly three years after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled it legal.

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day we listen back to a program from September of last year. As part of IPR's Being in Iowa series, we examine the African-American experience in Iowa. Ben's guest's are Waterloo East High School Principal Dr. Willy Barney, counselor Shannon Harrington and Des Moines University Medical Director Dr. Carolyn Beverly.

All this week we've been hearing what it's like being physically disabled in Iowa. Reports from Iowa Public Radio's Rob Dillard have highlighted many facets from the lives of people who are blind, deaf, and who have trouble with mobility. Today we wrap up the series with several different perspectives on the topic, including that of a blind twenty-two year old college student and a disabled man from Ankeny, who recently grabbed headlines for climbing to the top of Chicago's tallest building.

Today, Iowa Public Radio concludes its week-long series “Being Physically Disabled in Iowa.” It’s estimated that 96-thousand Iowans between the ages of 16-and-64 have some type of physical disability. Many of them are keeping their competitive fires burning by joining adaptive sports programs. Reporter Rob Dillard takes us to a gym and a ball field to meet a group of disabled athletes.

Today Iowa Public Radio has the third segment in a five-part series titled “Being Physically Disabled in Iowa.” It’s estimated that some 20 percent of the nation’s farmers are working the land with some type of physical disability. That compares with six percent of the overall workforce who are disabled. Reporter Rob Dillard takes us to a farm in Central Iowa, where a long-time farmer is adjusting to a missing limb.

Today we continue with our five-part series about what it means to be physically disabled in Iowa. There are two special schools for disabled students in the state – The Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton and the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs. They both fall under the auspices of the Iowa Board of Regents. But as reporter Rob Dillard tells us, they are taking different approaches to providing an education for the young people they serve.

Today, Iowa Public Radio continues its week-long series “Being Physically Disabled in Iowa.” Over the past 20 years, access to public buildings for people in wheelchairs has vastly improved. The 1992 Americans with Disabilities Act gets much of the credit. This federal law requires facilities to take reasonable, achievable steps to remove barriers for people with disabilities. Reporter Rob Dillard spent a recent afternoon with a wheelchair-bound woman, checking out various public buildings in Des Moines. They found a few roadblocks still in place.

Today we return to our series “Being in Iowa,” produced by reporter Rob Dillard.  Iowa Public Radio has been bringing you the stories of Iowans who make up various pockets of the state’s population. So far, we’ve examined aspects in the lives of Latinos, military veterans, Muslims and African-Americans. This week, we focus on the physically disabled. To begin, Rob introduces us to some residents with vision problems. It’s estimated there are 69-thousand Iowans who are visually impaired, a thousand of them completely blind.

All this week Rob Dillard has continued his series, "Being in Iowa," on Iowa Public Radio with a look at the African-American experience in the state. Today we wrap up this week's series with a discussion about the gaps that exist between African-Americans and the rest of the country: gaps in the areas of education, jobs, and health. We'll find out what's behind those gaps and how we can cover them. Guests include Waterloo East High School Principal Dr. Willy Barney, Shannon Harrington - the owner of a counseling business in Waterloo, and Des Moines University Medical Director Dr.

Today, Iowa Public Radio concludes its five-part series on African-Americans in the state. Reporter Rob Dillard has looked into the issues they face in the areas of education, employment, politics and health. He ends with a story about faith. The church has historically played a crucial role in the lives of many African-Americans.  It has been in the pews of black churches where they’ve found comfort and inspiration. Rob takes us to a Sunday-morning service in Waterloo where parishioners are charting their paths toward spirituality.

Iowa Public Radio’s week-long look at African-Americans in the state continues today with reporter Rob Dillard considering the multiple health risks they face. Blacks have a higher propensity than whites for such chronic diseases as diabetes and heart disease. The occurrence of infant deaths among African-Americans in Iowa is at three times the rate of whites. Rob talked to a number of health professionals about why this is and what, if anything, blacks can do to lower the risks.

Today, Iowa Public Radio continues its look at African-Americans living in Iowa. So far, reporter Rob Dillard has examined some of the educational and economic challenges they face. Now he turns to the political scene. There have been very few black politicians elected to public office in Iowa – none to statewide office. Rob met with some of these African-American leaders to find out what their time in office has meant to the state.

Today, we continue with our “Being in Iowa” series. All this week, IPR reporter Rob Dillard is asking the question, what does it mean to be African-American in the state? Nearly a third of all blacks in Iowa live below the poverty line. They earn on average less than half of white households, and their unemployment rate is more than double the overall state figure. Rob introduces us to three African-Americans, who are working to improve their economic standing with some assistance along the way.

Today, Iowa Public Radio returns to its series “Being in Iowa.”  Reporter Rob Dillard has been exploring what it means to be Latino, a military veteran, and Muslim in the state. Now, he shifts his attention to African-Americans. The 2010 census pegs the number of blacks living in Iowa at nearly 90-thousand, or just below three percent of the total population. Most of them are clustered around the urban centers of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Waterloo.

This week, Rob Dillard's series, "Being Muslim in Iowa," has highlighted Iowa's rich Muslim history. It's a history that includes the establishment of the Mother Mosque of America in Cedar Rapids nearly eighty years ago. This hour we'll explore Iowa's Muslim connections. We'll talk with Lisa Killinger, an Iowa woman who was raised Episcopalian and eventually converted to Islam. Also, Professor Mahmoud Hamed of Drake University and Miriam Amer, Executive Director of the Iowa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

All this week, Iowa Public Radio reporter Rob Dillard has been exploring what it means to be Muslim in Iowa. Much of his reporting for this series has taken him to metropolitan areas, where most of the state’s Muslims live. But to conclude the week, Rob travels to a berg in northeast Iowa where one Muslim man has found a home.

Iowa Public Radio continues its week-long series called “Being Muslim in Iowa.” Reporter Rob Dillard has traveled extensively around the state, meeting a few of the estimated 20,000 Iowans who follow Islam. Most of these people have practiced the faith all of their lives, growing up in families who stretch their roots to the Middle East, Africa or Eastern Europe. But a handful of Iowans have converted to Islam from other religions. Today, Rob introduces us to three of them.

We’re looking at the lives of Muslims in Iowa this week. So far, reporter Rob Dillard has traced the history of Islam in the state, which dates back to the 19th century. He’s also asked a few Muslims living here why public opinion goes against their faith. Today, he looks at how Islam determines what food Muslims eat. The diets for strict adherents of Islamic law are free of pork and alcohol.  Today, Rob visits an eastern Iowa company that’s in the business of ensuring the food consumed by Muslims in the state and around the world meets this guideline. 

Iowa Public Radio is taking a look this week at Muslims living in the state. Opinion polls indicate Americans remain conflicted over Islam a decade after the terrorist attacks of 9-11. A survey by the Pew Research Center a year ago shows the percentage of people in the U.S. with a favorable opinion of Islam has tumbled from 41 percent in 2005 to 30 percent.  Muslims have been put on the defensive in recent years, asked to defend Islam against charges it’s a violent religion.

Today, Iowa Public Radio returns to its series, "Being in Iowa." Reporter Rob Dillard brings us the first of five installments on what it means to be Muslim in the state. A majority of Americans say they know very little about Islam. In fact, a recent Pew Research Poll showed a quarter of those surveyed said they knew nothing at all about the religion, which is followed by one-and-a-half billion people in the world. Muslims make up a small portion of Iowa’s population, well below one percent.

All this week we've been hearing what it's like being a Veteran in Iowa. Our reports from Iowa Public Radio's Rob Dillard have highlighted many facets of the lives of former soldiers: the mental anguish of war, concerns about health care, and the drive lure young veterans into military organizations. Today we wind up our week-long focus on veterans in Iowa with conversations about many of these topics.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. So far this week, Rob has told us about health care as it affects veterans, the mental anguish they experience after war, the drive to lure young veterans into military organizations, and an all-veterans band. Now we meet a veteran whose life was changed – but not ruined – by an accident he suffered while he was an army sergeant.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. Today, Rob Dillard examines the mental problems that sometimes beset veterans after they serve their country. Many turn to booze and drugs to fight off the demons that haunt their dreams after fighting during wartime. Thousands of them wind up on the streets or in homeless camps after they fail to reconnect with family and friends. Rob sees what’s being done in Iowa to help these troubled veterans.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. Iowa Public Radio reporter Rob Dillard has met with military service organizations and health-care providers in an attempt to uncover issues that face many veterans on their return to civilian life. Now, he takes on a lighter topic. Rob has found a bunch of Iowa veterans who are in the entertainment business – tooting horns, pounding drums and bringing joy to audiences statewide.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. Today, reporter Rob Dillard talks with members of military service organizations. Nationwide, these groups have struggled to maintain membership levels in recent time. Some of the smaller chapters are in danger of disappearing altogether. In Iowa, however, Rob found they continue to play an important role in the social lives of many veterans and their families.

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