Black History Month in Iowa

Black History Month is observed in February in the US and Canada. It is good to see events related to Black History.

I feel it is important for those who don’t know, to learn a Black State of Emergency in Iowa has been declared. Information about a travel advisory and white supremacist hotline can be found at the end of this blog post.


I’ve been learning about Black Lives Matter/Black Liberation in Iowa as a result of being involved with Des Moines Mutual Aid. These two organizations are closely linked in a number of ways. At the end of this post are remarks by Patrick Stahl who I know from Des Moines Mutual Aid. Patrick speaks about Mutual Aid’s support for Des Moines Black Liberation.

mutual aid is the new economy. mutual aid is community. it is making sure your elderly neighbor down the street has a ride to their doctor’s appointment. mutual aid is making sure the children in your neighborhood have dinner, or a warm coat for the upcoming winter. mutual aid is planting community gardens.

capitalism has violated the communities of marginalized folks. capitalism is about the value of people, property and the people who own property. those who have wealth and property control the decisions that are made. the government comes second to capitalism when it comes to power.

in the name of liberation, capitalism must be reversed and dismantled. meaning that capitalistic practices must be reprogrammed with mutual aid practices.

Des Moines Black Liberation

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Links to register for the events above: @blmatschooliowa | Linktree

2021 Week of Action Event Registration: What is BLM at SchooL- Iowa? 2/1@5PM
2021 Week of Action Event Registration: Community Forums 2/2@5pm
2021 Week of Action Event Registration: Fund Counselors Not Cops: Why Black Mental Health Matters 2/3 @5pm
2021 Week of Action Event Registration Teach In: Schooling in the age of BLM 2/4@130pm
2021 Week of Action Event Registration – Career Day 2/4@5pm
2021 Week of Action Event Registration – Book Discussion 2/5 @5pm
First Saturdays – Black History Saturday School – Next Class 2/6 @1-3PM

Image may contain: text that says 'BLMigus BLM yarg BLACK LIVES MATTER @DesMoinesBLM $15 Contact makenna. chapma to order your yard sign!'
BLM yard signs now available, email to order! Profits benefit the DSM Rent Relief Fund.

BLM yard signs now available, email to order! Profits benefit the DSM Rent Relief Fund.


ICYMI: We are uplifting demands from people incarcerated in Iowa.
View demands/sign petition at
Email elected officials at
Please help us to SHARE SHARE SHARE! Conditions in jails/prisons are dangerous, especially during COVID.


Des Moines Black Lives Matter

January 28 at 9:05 AM  · BARBERS NEEDED!! We’re hosting a free children’s hair care event on Feb 21, and are looking for local barbers willing to donate their time & talent. DM us if you can help!

Des Moines Black Lives Matter

January 18 at 2:11 PM  · #MLKDay
Today, the world joins in a chorus of praise for the legacy of our dear brother and fellow freedom fighter Dr. Mr Luther King Jr.
We, as the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement Collective, would like to recognize that the foundation of his vision- the demilitarization of the West, the eradication of global poverty and the eternal struggle against racial oppression- is rooted in a dedication to justice and radical truth-telling, above all things.
We, as a collective, believe that to honor Dr. King’s legacy is to honor the legacy of ALL freedom fighters, which is to recognize the unity in our sacrifice, selflessness and solidarity. We must embody these traits ceaselessly.
Peace and All Power to the All People.

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Image may contain: text that says '1 #BlackEmergencylA We declare lowa a sundown state. It is not safe for Black residents to travel alone, especially at night. Recommendations for Black lowans: Do your best to travel in parties of two or more. Always tell somebody where you are going and when you plan to return. Be prepared to escape, hide, or defend yourself in a worst-case scenario.'
Image may contain: text that says '#BlackEmergencylA 2 Know your rights. At home, in the car, when filming the police, and when carrying a registered firearm. Recommendations for Black lowans: You have the right to remain silent. Ask if you are under arrest; ask if you are free to go. DÓNOT NOT RESIST ARREST. If you plan to carry a registered firearm, seek out proper weapons training and education.'
Image may contain: text that says '#BlackEmergencylA 3 Get involved. We urge Black residents to get involved with their communities. Recommendations for Black lowans: Register to vote. Join and support Black organizations. Shop at -owned ousinesses ( Start mutual aid projects & support direct actions which defend the livelihoods of Black people.'

Iowa Coalition for Collective Change

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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 

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

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. He is one of the people I’m getting to know from my work 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.

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