Black State of Emergency in Iowa #BlackEmergencyIA

Des Moines Black Lives Matter October 13 at 11:20 AM  · Black Iowans are not safe. We’re joining with a number of other community organizations to implement strategies and policies to protect one another. #BlackEmergencyIA The Press Release can be found at the end of this post.


Key Points:

  • A coalition of 10 organizations working to end police brutality, violence and enact a host of other reforms declared a ‘state of emergency’ for Black Iowans and also warned them not to travel alone — especially at night.
  • Learn more about the coalition’s efforts by following the social media hashtag #BlackEmergencyIA.
  • Des Moines Black Lives Matter clarified why it’s now known as the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement. Matthew Bruce, an organizer with BLM, said the group wanted to make sure that “we reflected that not only are we valuing our lives, but we are dismantling the systems that keep us oppressed.”

Blacks Iowans exist in a “state of emergency” and need resources to fight longstanding racial disparities and violence, said a coalition of 10 community organizations from across central and eastern Iowa.

“With this declaration of a state of emergency for Black Iowans, we are also calling on all local elected officials — from city elected officials to state representatives — to Governor Reynolds to our federal elected officials in the congress and the senate — to join with us in recognizing the state of emergency for Black Iowans and reacting with the resources that are necessary to help combat this,” said Jaylen Cavil, an organizer with the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement (BLM).

The coalition of groups include:

Black Iowa in ‘State of Emergency’. Activists sound the alarm about the dire longstanding racial disparities harming Black lives by Dana James, Black Iowa News, October 14, 2020

This video is of the #BlackEmergencyIA press conference on 10/13/2020

Following is part of the transcript of the video. It begins with Matthew Bruce speaking.


Matthew: All right everybody, I want to thank everyone that’s come out, especially those that have supported BLM – Des Moines BLM – all summer.
Just to run down some of the things we’ve accomplished:
we’ve accomplished getting the curfew ended – a racist curfew ended –
we accomplished getting all of our protesters out of the Polk County Jail
we accomplished a racial profiling ban here in Des Moines
we accomplished a plan for a more perfect union statewide
we got 60,000 people their rights to vote back, and
we’ve established also – Iowa City has done a lot of work on police accountability. The only city, the only city council to force their police department to release body [camera] footage of tear gassing people, the only people to get that level of accountability.
And we have institutionalized a direct action movement, and that is bigger than any of those one things, is that the tools that got us those amendments to the system is gonna sit here and exist indefinitely. And that’s the most – yeah that’s some claps – that’s the most important part of what we’ve built so far.


Those remarks were followed with more people speaking. I’m including what Patrick Stahl said, because he is one of the people I’m getting to know from my recent engagement with Des Moines Mutual Aid’s food giveaway program.


Patrick: Hi, I’m Patrick Stahl with Des Moines Mutual Aid.

Des Moines Mutual Aid is a collective that does outreach for homeless folks in our community, houseless folks in our community. We also assist BLM with their rent relief fund, and most of the work we’ve done is running the bail fund for the protests over the summer. In the course of that work, we have witnessed firsthand the violence that is done upon people of color, Black people specifically, by the white supremacist forces of the state – in this state, in this city, in this county. There is absolutely a state of emergency for people of color and Black people in Iowa. The state of emergency has been a long time coming. We will support – DMMA will absolutely support any and all efforts of this community – BLM, and the people of color community more generally- to keep themselves safe. Power to the people.


#BlackEmergencyIA

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