DES MOINES, Iowa — Members of the Iowa Black Lives Matter Coalition hope that they have a voice in this year’s legislative session.
The group has a list of six key issues they are bringing to the legislature for policies they say are crucial in creating more equality for Iowans of color.
One of those issues is legalizing cannabis and expunging records of those convicted of possession. A 2020 report from the American Civil Liberties Union shows Black Iowans are 7.3-percent more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white Iowans.
The other priorities are:
- Repeal Iowa Code 80F (the Iowa Peace Officer Bill of Rights)
- Repeal of SF481 (enforcement of immigration laws and penalties)
- Repeal Iowa Code 904.808 (requires the state to purchase items from Iowa Prison Industries)
- Create legislation to promote Black maternal and infant health.
- A constitutional amendment to protect the voting rights of Iowans who have been convicted of a felony.
“And you have not had one public official speak up in the city or on behalf of the state and say we need to do better about preventing racialized violence, nobody has stepped up and said it that we’re the only ones that are carrying that message,” said Maté Muhammad with the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement.
Overall, they want elected leaders to be more vocal in their promises to protect Iowans of color.
“They’re never going to deliver the things that need to happen so yeah, we do focus on them but we have to realized we are not going to get liberation to the Des Moines city council or the Iowa State Legislature or the Iowa governor that’s just not going to happen,” said Jaylen Cavil of the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement.