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advocates for
social justice

Cedar Rapids Black Lives Matter protest.

ASJ Mission

Our mission is to create social, political, and environmental change within greater Cedar Rapids, prioritizing the objectives of the Black Lives Matter movement to eliminate white supremacy and systemic racism, and affirm the lives of under-resourced and marginalized communities.



Citizen’s Review Board

Read our CRB Research Brief


Ban the use of Chokeholds, Knee-to-neck Maneuvers (and other lethal restraining techniques) and Strengthen Existing Use of Force Standards


Impose Strict Body Camera Provisions


Abolish Qualified Immunity


Significant investment in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Decriminalize minor marijuana crimes and other lower-level offenses.


Make the negotiations between municipal authorities (management) and the bargaining units that represent police officers public

MEET OUR Co-Founders

Founder Leslie Neely

Leslie Hauskins

An ASJ co-founder, Leslie is continuing to learn what it means to be an Activist. She currently works with local political and community leaders on decriminilizing marijuana and other measures around police reform. 


She is the mother of four wonderful boys. She is a native of Chicago, IL, and attended Harold Washington College with a focus on Liberal Arts.


She’s been an Iowa resident since 2001 and employed by Toyota since 2017. She is a member of the Toyota CSC Central's Racial Justice Action Committee where she works on racial and equity initiatives. 

Founder Nicole Legrand

Nicole Legrand

Originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Nicole LeGrand is an ASJ co-founder and democracy defender. 

Nicole is working alongside political and social leaders in Cedar Rapids to help the ASJ move forward on their list of demands with the Cedar Rapids City Council, Police Force, and Mayor.


She is the proud mother of two and graduate of the Surgical Technology Program at Kirkwood Community College.

Founder Tamara Marcus

Tamara Marcus

Tamara is a co-founder of the Cedar Rapids non-profit, Advocates for Social Justice, the Linn County Sustainability Manager, and a Ph.D. candidate in the Natural Resources and Earth System Sciences program at the University of New Hampshire. Tamara has been working with Black leaders and city staff on creation of the Citizen Review Board.  


Previously, she has worked with non-profits and local governments in the Indian Himalaya to translate results of her research into local environmental policy. Ms. Marcus has been a Fulbright-Nehru fellow, a NASA New Hampshire Space Grant fellow, and a National Center for Atmospheric Research fellow and completed her B.S. in biochemistry and English from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. 

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