April 10 2021 Press Release following Thursday's Event
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 10, 2021
Iowa’s Black Voices Unite Against Racist Bills
On April 8, 2021, the Advocates for Social Justice hosted a non-violent, permitted “Kill the Racist Bills” protest to address the bills: Senate Files 534, 476, 479, and House File 802. These bills aim to (a) limit protestors’ rights by increasing criminal penalties, (b) increase the protections of qualified immunity for law enforcement, (c) take state funding away from cities that reduce or reallocate police budgets, (d) bans all racism, sexism and diversity/equity/inclusion training and education for government agencies and schools.
ASJ stands firmly against these bills. We hosted this protest as a way for community members to voice their opinions on this dangerous legislation and ask Governor Reynolds to put an end to these bills. Members of the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement and activists from Minnesota also attended the protests and voiced their concerns. After ASJ co-organizers Angelina Ramirez and Harold Walehwa spoke to the crowd about the bills, the nephew of George Floyd, Cortez Rice spoke. Having applied for and been granted a permit earlier in the week to enter the Capitol, organizers led protestors into the Capitol. This was done so in a single-file line, making sure everyone went through the metal detector and had their temperatures taken. The event was peaceful and was not intended to seek arrest or unrest.
Shortly after moving inside, Black high-school student Josephine Mulvihill politely asked for State Patrol officer’s names and badges. She was then aggressively thrown to the ground, arrested, and charged with assault against a police officer. As a few ASJ members were physically present during this incident, and after reviewing the video footage, we can confirm that the conduct of arresting Officer DJ Hernandez was unjustified and inexcusable.
After witnessing the arrest, many protestors in the crowd began to voice their frustrations with unjust law enforcement. However, there were no further arrests, no property damage, and no violence during the entirety of the event.
The Advocates for Social Justice is beyond disappointed with this arrest and expects to see the Iowa State Patrol office and Polk County Sheriff’s department drop the charges on Josephine Mulvihill. Her traumatic experience highlights the need for more accountability on law enforcement in Iowa.
“We’re literally in the middle of the Derek Chauvin trial, but we’re trying to pass bills to increase qualified immunity? Why would y’all be trying to increase the protection police officers have, instead of trying to go for accountability?” said Harold Walehwa, ASJ co-organizer, and Coe College student, at the April 8th protest.
The Advocates for Social Justice, Iowa Black Caucus, and many other organizations aimed at fighting for equity and justice are coming together as a unified voice to oppose this unjust arrest and these bills. Black Iowans seek common-sense racial justice reform, not the harmful legislation that the Iowa State Legislature is considering.
“Today, we call on the politicians that promised to lead us toward safety, good health, protection, and prosperity. We call on them to put an end to this racist legislation. We call on them to pass legislation that will help Iowans of color. We call on them to keep their promise,” said Angelina Ramirez, ASJ co-organizer and Coe College student, at the April 8th protest.
If you would like to help us continue the fight against these injustices, you can support us by donating here
or click Contact Us > Volunteer Request to see what other opportunities we may have.
Thank you for showing interest in social justice reform and working to stop the racist and dangerous bills that are pushing through the Iowa State Legislature.
Follow these steps to ensure your voice is heard.
1. Read the Bills Here:
Limiting Protestor’s Rights: SF497/SF534
Expanding Qualified Immunity: SF476
2. Article’s Regarding the Bills:
3. Contact Governor Reynolds & Your Representatives
Find sample letters and major points of the bills here.
Find the legislators we need you to contact here.
Please Note: The sample letters are basic and leave plenty of room for you to add your own voice and experiences, as well as the impact this bill will have on you.
A form letter works, a personalized letter works BETTER.
4. Sign this Petition:
Here is a link to the petition. Keep the link on your phone, text to your customers, friends, biz associates, etc. Share, share, share!
5. Demonstrate at the Iowa State Capitol on the West side
Thursday, April 8th @ 11:30 AM
Share the graphics attached below on your social media and to your mailing lists. Here is also a link to the graphics, as well as a map of the location.
If you can, call off work or school to attend the protest. We need YOUR voice. Bring signs calling out Gov Reynolds and your legislators & get ready to be loud!
This is our best shot at putting visible pressure on the Governor to stop these bills.
Please feel free to share this document! If you have any questions contact us at email@example.com or text Angelina Ramirez at (623) 980-8467