History of 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 

This grant opportunity is available to Iowa City-based organizations, both non and for profit, with the purpose of encouraging, empowering, and engaging social justice and racial equity initiatives through programs, activities, or services that help eliminate inequities in the Iowa City community. Programs that address one or more of the six priority service areas will receive preference: 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. The City Council has approved $75,000 for FY2022, which will be split among the recipients.

Watch the Fiscal Year 2022 Informational Session on the grant (Recorded November 9, 2021)
PowerPoint Presentation from Social Justice & Racial Equity Informational Session (November 9, 2021). 
Submissions for the Social Justice and Racial Equity Grant Fiscal Year 2022.
Fiscal Year 2022 Rubric Used by the Commission to Evaluate Submissions.

Social Justice and Racial Equity Quarterly Updates from City Departments

The Social Justice and Racial Equity Quarterly Updates supplies the public with up-to-date information regarding City staff's work on social justice and racial equity. 

Most current update: 
Social Justice and Racial Equity 4th Quarter Update 2021

Social Justice and Racial Equity Update Archives

The Lens

A newsletter that spotlights Social Justice and Racial Equity.

Most current edition:
April 2022

The Lens archive

Annual Racial Equity Report Card

The Racial Equity Report Card 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 of persons charged by the Iowa City Police Department, the racial demographics of persons stopped by the Iowa City Police Department, the racial demographics of City staff, and the yearly number of complaints of discrimination based upon race filed with the Office of Equity and Human Rights. 

Government Alliance for Race and Equity 

The City of Iowa City is a part of the Government Alliance for Race and Equity (GARE). The City joined in 2015, making it the second City in Iowa to become a member. 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 this link.