Black Lives Matter Movement & Systemic Racism News

Black Lives Matter

The murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, amplified the Black Lives Matter movement and immediate need for action. As a result, rapid change has swept the country, including here in Iowa City.

Accelerated by local protests and calls for justice, the City of Iowa City has committed itself to strengthening existing social justice and racial equity efforts as well as re-imagining new strategies for dismantling systemic racism in our community.

Review the City's Preliminary Plan to Restructure Police here.

Black Lives Matter & Systemic Racism Resolution (June 2020)

On June 16, 2020 City Council passed Resolution 20-159, outlining 17 actions to be taken by the City to address the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and systemic racism. City staff will periodically provide a status report on progress of these actions. An abridged summary of the resolution items is listed below:

1.  Develop a preliminary Plan to restructure the Iowa City Police Department (ICPD) towards community policing.

2.  Commit $1,000,000 to local efforts promoting racial equity and social justice.

3.  Increase diversity of City employees, expand equitable recruitment efforts, and elevate organizational equity training, policies, and procedures.

4.  Receive a report of ICPD involvement in use of gas and flash-bang devices during a June 2020 Black Lives Matter protest in Iowa City.

5.  Create ad hoc Truth & Reconciliation Commission to carry out restorative justice.

6.  Adopt 2021 state legislative priorities related to criminal justice reform, enhanced authority of the Community Police Review Board (CPRB), and decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana.

7.  Continue use of racial equity toolkit use in all city departments, expand training to the City Council, and educate and train the local business community.

8. Increase accountability and oversight authority of CPRB, where legally possible.

9.  Improve transparency and accessibility of detailed ICPD budget expenditures.

10.  Review inventory of military grade equipment in ICPD, evaluate federal contracts with the ICPD, and express support for divestment of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle.

11.  Enact ICPD General Order to expressly ban the use of chokeholds and any maneuver that cuts off oxygen or blood flow.

12.  Continue ICPD policy and practice to be consistent with IA H.F. 2647, ensuring police officers in Iowa have not committed serious misconduct.

13.  Investigate compliance and evaluate disciplinary action related to proper use of body cameras and vehicle recording devices

14.  Ensure the duty to intervene and stop excessive force, in both ICPD General Order and an MOU with area law enforcement agencies.

15.  Increase opportunities for artistic expression by communities of color.

16.  Prohibit the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bangs against peaceful protesters.

17.  Establish Juneteenth as an official city holiday beginning in 2021.

Summary of Racial Equity Efforts

For information on past social justice and racial equity efforts, visit the Office of Equity and Human Rights.

What is Community Policing?

Community Policing is a philosophy that seeks to address the root causes of crime, works to reduce fear of social disorder, and builds confidence in police through problem-solving strategies and police/community partnerships. It recognizes that law enforcement can rarely solve complex societal problems alone and that creative solutions and partnerships are needed to ensure the best outcome for all residents. Community Policing may mean many different things to different people.

Community Outreach

The City Council, along with its appointed Board and Commissions and City staff, are committed to conducting outreach throughout the community.

If you would like City staff of the Office of Equity and Human Rights to conduct trainings on Know Your Rights in the area of education, public accommodation, housing, employment, credit or on the use of a racial equity toolkit, please contact The Office of Equity and Human Rights.

In addition to specially planned events, the public is invited to provide input at formal City Council meetings, Community Police Review Board meetings, and/or Human Rights Commission meetings.

Upcoming Education + Engagement Events:

  • June 15, 2021: Virtual discussion of "On Juneteenth" by Annette Gordon-Reed at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Complimenatry copies of the book are provided to the first 20 people to sign up. Learn more and register.
  • Ongoing: Iowa City Public Library's Read Woke Program (all ages)

Past Events:

  • June 3, 2020: Speak Up, Speak Out: Wetherby Park - watch the video
  • June 5, 2020: Speak Up, Speak Out: Pheasant Ridge Community Center - watch the video
  • June 6, 2020: Speak Up, Speak Out: Mercer Park - watch the video
  • July 22, 2020: Initial Culturally Responsive Communication training for local business community
  • September 9, 2020: Culturally Responsive Communication training for area property managers/landlords and businesses
  • September 16, 2020: Listening Post #1 on Community Policing (Mental Health, Crisis Intervention, and Addiction), at Mercer Park.
  • September 21, 2020: Community Police Review Board Annual Community Forum, via Zoom.
  • September 22, 2020: Listening Post #2 on Community Policing (Special Needs Population), via Zoom.
  • September 26, 2020: Listening Post #3 on community policing (UI Students), at Hubbard Park.
  • September 29, 2020: Listening post #4 on community policing (abuse and victims of abuse), at Wetherby Park.
  • October 5, 2020: Listening Post #5 on community policing (homelessness), at Chauncey-Swan Park.
  • October 8, 2020: Listening Post #6 on community policing (youth), at Dream City.
  • October 22, 2020: Free advanced implicit bias opportunity for local landlords/businesses.
  • February 11/22, 2021: Free diversity and micro-aggression training opportunities for local landlords/businesses.
  • February 2020: Various events and programs presented in celebration of Black History Month.
  • April 22, 2021: "Unheard Voices: Impacts of Incarceration on Children and Families" forum presented by Inside Out Reentry Community.
  • April 29, 2021: Free race, gender, and violence training by Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. for local organizations and businesses.
  • May 6, 2021: Free power, privilege, and leadership training by Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. for local organizations and businesses

Documents and Resources


More Information

Racial equity is the development of policies, practices, and strategic investments to reverse racial disparity trends, eliminate institutional racism, and ensure that outcomes and opportunities for all people are no longer predictable by race.

Why start with race?

The creation and perpetuation of racial inequities is embedded into economic, educational, health care, governmental, and social structures at all levels. Initially focusing on racial equity provides the opportunity to introduce a framework, tools and resources that can also be applied to other marginalized groups based on gender, sexual orientation, ability, class, and age, among others.

Get involved: 

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