Looking to capitalize on the controversial comments of U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, some Siouxlanders are underway with a diaper drive to aid people who can use the items for their children.
Jackie Stellish, of Sioux City, said she didn't agree with the comment by King about children that drew national attention. Stellish helped launch Iowa Welcomes Everyone's Babies diaper drive, which will deliver hundreds of diapers over the month of April.
King on March 12 tweeted that America "can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." The tweet was in support of a Dutch politician who opposes immigration and has spoken against Islam. King tweeted that Geert Wilders "understands that culture and demographics are our destiny."
King followed the controversial social media post with several interviews on national outlets where he defended his comments. Critics accused King of racism and condemned the support the tweet received from some white nationalist leaders.
Stellish said some people held Iowa protest rallies about King's comment, a wording she said "is just ridiculous." But her aim was to make a difference and widely demonstrate the values of tolerance and a helping nature that Iowans have.
"We need to turn this into a positive," Stellish said.
The diaper drive began in Sioux City with the Faces of Siouxland Multi-Cultural Fair on April 2, and will run through April 30. Stellish said the initial day was great, with more than 600 diapers.
The diapers (and baby lotion and like items donated) will go to many agencies in western Iowa counties that King represents, including the Community Action Agency of Siouxland and Mary J. Treglia Community House, both in Sioux City. Other places for diapers include West Central Community Action Agency in Denison and Upper Des Moines Opportunity in Storm Lake.
Stellish is also among the Sioux City organizers for a Saturday event. Action Iowa, a grassroots progressive action group, is working with Americans for Democratic Action and Indivisible Iowa, on a tax rally, to coincide with the typical deadline for filing federal tax returns on April 15.
Tax marches will take place in Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Davenport and Sioux City. The city march will be held at noon, with a walk from the downtown Wilbur Aalfs Library to the Federal Building.