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Economic Development as Social Justice — An Obermann Conversation
Dec 2, 2021
07:00 PM - 08:00 PM
This summer, a new Story Map of Black-owned businesses in Johnson County was created. It connects users to a rich and ever-growing directory of businesses and entrepreneurs in the eastern Iowa corridor and challenges us to understand the connection between economic opportunities and social justice. Our speakers will help us understand historic barriers faced by BIPOC people interested in starting a business, and why tearing down these barriers matters to all of us.
- Daria Fisher Page, Clinical Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Community Empowerment Law Project in the legal clinic at Iowa Law
- Matthew R. Gilbert, attorney-at-law, entrepreneur, coach, and Founder and President of Iowa C.O.R.E. Inc., Economic Development Chair for the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP
- Travis Kraus, Associate Professor in the University of Iowa School of Planning & Public Affairs and Director for the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, a community engagement program that helps create more sustainable futures while enhancing teaching and learning at the University of Iowa
- Tracy Jon Sargeant, Executive Director, Multicultural Development Center of Iowa
This virtual event is free and open to all, but registration is required: REGISTER.
About the speakers:
Daria Fisher Page teaches and directs the Community Empowerment Law Project in the legal clinic at Iowa Law. Her students represent individuals, nonprofits, and organizations working to strengthen their communities, create economic opportunity, and advance social justice in matters ranging from entity formation and strategic planning to coalition building and the design of advocacy plans. Her research and scholarship currently focus on access to, and experiences of, justice; meaningful community engagement; and legal education reform.
Before joining the Iowa faculty, Professor Fisher Page was a Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where she directed The Community Justice Project, a clinic engaging poverty law issues through individual representation in litigation and organizational representation in transactional matters. She was selected to facilitate Georgetown’s innovative Lawyers in Balance program, introducing students to mindfulness and meditative practices, and taught in two of the Law Center’s post-graduate programs, the Delaney Public Policy Residency and the DC Affordable Law Firm.
A native of Waterloo, Iowa; Matthew R. Gilbert, Esq. descends from generations of servant leadership. The Furgerson – Harris – Nash families are well known for advancing civil rights, education, health and equity for African American communities in Iowa. An advocate, entrepreneur, and ecosystem builder that values cooperation, justice, and historic preservation; Matthew is differentiated by a complement of executive strategies, transactional expertise, and transformative resilience. An experienced advisor for elected officials, public figures, business owners, faith-based leaders, and public-private partnerships; Matthew’s mission is to coach and advise families, businesses, and communities in creating generational wealth by leveraging legacy and impact.
Matthew is Founder and President of Iowa C.O.R.E. Inc., Economic Development Chair for the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP, and a servant-leader on local, state, and national boards, commissions, and committees. Matthew enjoys mentoring youth, volunteering, and holistic wellness. “My vision is to develop compassionate leaders who demonstrate a mentality reflecting greatness, influence change, and commit to generational impact in historically disenfranchised communities of color.”
Travis Kraus is an Associate Professor in the University of Iowa School of Planning & Public Affairs and is the Director for the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, a community engagement program that helps create more sustainable futures while enhancing teaching and learning at the University of Iowa. Travis views Strategic Doing as a tool to enhance the capacity of rural and urban communities in Iowa to address the environmental, equity, economic, and cultural issues they face today.
Prior to joining the University of Iowa in 2016, Travis led the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organizations in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, worked as a regional planner for the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission, and was a successful small business entrepreneur for many years. Travis earned a masters degree of Urban & Regional Planning from the University of Iowa, where he also earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a secondary teaching certificate. Travis is involved in the Iowa City arts scene as both an artist and a board member for the local arts non-profit Public Space One.Tracy Jon Sargeant is a lifelong technology enthusiast and a serial entrepreneur responsible for several successful tech start-ups throughout his career. He currently works as a Security Engineer for a leading cybersecurity company. Sargeant is also a mentor for students at the University of Iowa and an advisor to multiple start-ups in the Iowa City area. He also serves on the board of directors for the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC), a nonprofit organization that coordinates people-to-people exchanges between international visitors and residents of eastern Iowa’s Creative Corridor, as well as the Iowa City Fab Lab, a non-profit technical prototyping space for innovation and invention based on MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms educational outreach program.
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at