Social Justice and Racial Equity Initiative

In June 2012, the Iowa City City Council established the Diversity Committee which was formulated to serve as an ad hoc council committee to review issues relating to diversity within the City organization. The committee reviewed the policies, practices and procedures within the Iowa City Police Department and the Transportation Services Department with the intent to provide a set of recommendations to the City Council on diversity-related matters. In March 2013, the Diversity Committee supplied the City Council and City staff with their recommendations. City staff developed an implementation form and reporting process designed to incorporate recommendations from both the Diversity Committee and City staff. The City Manager initiated a Diversity Task force and appointed an Equity Director to ensure the recommendations are implemented and in compliance with the goals of the City Council. The Council passed a resolution supporting various recommendations from City staff and the Diversity Committee.

Council Resolution of 2013 Approving Staff Recommendations for Implementation
of Various Recommendations by the Ad Hoc Diversity Committee

Council Resolution approving 2015 Equity Action Plan and the Five Areas of Focus

Resolución del Consejo por la que se aprueba el Plan de Acción Equidad 2015 y las Cinco Áreas de Enfoque

قرار مجلس بالموافقة 2015 خطة عمل الإنصاف وخمسة مجالات التركيز


Social Justice and Racial Equity Grant

In fiscal year 2017, the City Council approved $25,000 for a new grant entitled the Social Justice and Racial Equity Grant (SJRE). The SJRE grant lists six priority service areas: Education, Building Community, Housing, Criminal Justice, Health, and Employment. The Human Rights Commission reviews applications then forwards its recommendations to the City Council for review and approval. Organizations whose programs, services or activities address one or more of these priorities will be considered first for funding. In fiscal year 2019, the City Council approved $75,000 for the grant.

PowerPoint Presentation from Social Justice & Racial Equity Informational Session held on November 13, 2018.

Submissions for the Social Justice and Racial Equity Grant Fiscal Year 2019.

City Council Resolutions in Support of Inclusive, Diverse and Safe Communities

Resolution Reaffirming the City of Iowa City Law Enforcement Non-Discrimination Policy

Resolution Rejecting Acts of Intimidation and Supporting a Diverse and Safe Community

Resolution Reaffirming the Public Safety Function of Local Law Enforcement

Resolución Reafirmando la Función de Seguridad Pública de la Policía Local

قرار وإذ تؤكد من جديد وظيفة السلامة العامة من إنفاذ القانون المحلية


Résolution réaffirmant la fonction de sécurité publique de l'application de la loi locale

Resolution Reaffirmming the City of Iowa City Law Enforcement Non-Discrimination Policy


قرار إعادة تأكيد سياسة عدم التمييز لإنفاذ قانون مدينة إيوا سيتي



Community Policing

Learn more here.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Dr. Christopher Barnum, Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice and Director of Graduate Studies Masters in Criminal Justice at St. Ambrose University, has been studying Iowa City Police Department traffic stop data from the years of 2005-2007, 2010 to present.

Learn more about the study.


Social Justice and Racial Equity Quarterly Updates

The Social Justice and Racial Equity Quarterly Updates supplies the public with up-to-date information regarding the Council Resolution approving the 2015 Equity Action Plan and the Five Areas of Focus.

Social Justice and Racial Equity 1st Quarter Update for 2019
Social Justice and Racial Equity 2nd Quarter Update for 2019

Equity Director

Stefanie Bowers was appointed by the City Manager in 2012. The Equity Director serves as adviser to the City Manager on issues of equity and inclusion. Specifically, she focuses on providing strategies, planning, facilitation, and development of government work on racial equity and engagement for the present and long term. Her work also includes enforcement and protection of Iowa City’s Human Rights Ordinance. She also publishing the monthly newsletter on social justice and racial equity (The Lens), the quarterly report, and the annual report on racial equity.

City Manager's Roundtable

Created by the City Manager, the Roundtable meets bi-monthly to discuss City efforts at eliminating racial disparities. The Roundtable is made up of chairs and directors of community organizations and City staff.  

Roundtable Representatives

Picture of members of roundtable at a table.

Annual Racial Equity Report

The racial equity report is a way for the City to measure its progress as it relates to improvements for communities of color. The report published since 2014, provides the yearly racial demographics for police charges against youth and adults, the racial demographics of City staff and the racial demographics of persons serving on City Boards and Commissions.

Government Alliance for Race and Equity (GARE) 

The City of Iowa City is a part of the Government Alliance for Race and Equity (GARE). GARE is a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. Across the country, governmental jurisdictions are:

  • Making a commitment to achieving racial equity
  • Focusing on the power and influence of their own institutions, and
  • Working in partnership with others

When this occurs, significant leverage and expansion opportunities emerge, setting the stage for the achievement of racial equity in our communities.

More information about GARE is available at For Iowa City Profile visit