Following up on Racial Justice Initiatives in the QCA

We are deeply saddened that Black Americans still cannot do basic things without fear of being harassed or murdered by the police.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 13, 2021

Subject: Following up on Racial Justice Initiatives in the QCA

 

We are deeply saddened that Black Americans still cannot do basic things without fear of being harassed or murdered by the police.

 

In light of yet another murder (that of Daunte Wright in Minnesota), we are calling on Scott County leaders and their respective police departments to discuss what changes they have made since the BLM vigil this summer at Vander Veer Park, where Mayor Matson and Davenport Police Department Chief Sikorski vowed to make reforms to ensure that the safety of our Black community members is a priority.

 

Several proposals were promoted by BLM members, such as deprioritizing marijuana arrests to address racial disparity, implicit bias training, and de-escalation training. We believe these reforms are necessary and long overdue. 

 

Our state has a proud anti-racist history in education, from the University of Iowa being the first state university to open its doors to African Americans on an equal basis in 1855 to Jane Elliott’s 1968 Brown Eye/Blue Eye activity.  However, we now have a Republican-controlled legislature in Iowa which is openly hostile to racial reality, as evidenced by their efforts to ban the 1619 Project, created by Waterloo native Nikole Hannah-Jones, from being taught in our schools.

 

We see an unfortunate connection between parental concerns at North Scott over teaching tolerance through the 1619 Project and the racist bullying of a Black student by her classmates. We have too many Iowa politicians willing to distort and dismiss the experience of Black Americans, and the controversy over the 1619 Project is just the latest example of this racial fear mongering posing as public concern. We cannot move forward as a society if we deliberately deny the past, if honorable leaders do not advocate for education over ignorance; or for honest scholarship over bigoted distortions. 

 

As so many speakers professed at last summer’s BLM vigil pointed out, and as so many of our Black and allied community members say every day, racial problems in Scott County do exist. We call on leaders in Scott County to engage with local efforts for racial justice, and institute some of the reforms suggested to make our community a safer place for everyone. And we’d like to know: nine months after the vigil for George Floyd’s murder, what have you done to protect our communities?