Robert Smith is a recent newcomer to Des Moines, Iowa as a native of Maryland (hence his love of crabs and seafood) where he lived on the Eastern Shore, Baltimore City, and most recently Prince George’s County.
Prior to relocating Des Moines, Robert navigated professional roles with Baltimore City Public Schools, The National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Sasha Bruce Youthwork, and The National African American Drug Policy Coalition (Robert urges the community to pay close to the public safety, economic, and public health interests of substance use legislation and its impact African Americans). Currently, he serves as the Community Liaison for the 15 county-Des Moines Service Area of the Department of Human Services.
Robert believes that African-Americans deserve a space of balance and stability in their lives which starts with the dignity of work. During a freshman year history course at Morgan State University, he cross-compared the works of Souls of Black Folk (W.E.B. Du Bois) and Up From Slavery (Booker T. Washington), in response he learned the importance of African-Americans he learned the constant importance for African-Americans to safe and fair access to paths to employment, safe and fair treatment during employment and safe and fair opportunities to contribute to society (which happens once the individual is in a state of balance and stability).
Additionally, Robert believes that the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the fragility and urgency within our contemporary Labor space: Issues such as paid sick leave, frontline risk exposure, and the lives of service workers (mainly Black/Brown people and women) and the “care economy” rose to national dialogue and now require a local DSM NAACP response. Robert also seeks to encourage the chapter to strengthen ties with local employers to identify methods to not only acquire but sustain and grow African-American employees.
In his spare time, Robert enjoys all things podcasts, Rnb/Funk Music, Pumas/New Balances (it’s a DMV thing), and believe it or not Sudoko.