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.
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.
City Council Resolutions in Support of Inclusive, Diverse and Safe Communities
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.
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.
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.
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 http://racialequityalliance.org/. For Iowa City Profile visit http://www.racialequityalliance.org/jurisdictions/iowa-city/.