DES MOINES — A group of racial justice protesters took their cause inside the state Capitol on Wednesday and spoke with state lawmakers and the governor’s staff.
An organizer with the Des Moines chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement said protesters were able to express their concerns and desires for policy change to several state lawmakers, but said at times the group felt as if they were merely being paid “lip service.”
One key state lawmaker who talked with the group said he expects to pass legislation that included some of the policy changes the group demanded.
Matt Bruce, an organizer with the group, said members spoke to a meeting of all House Democrats; to Republican Sen. Brad Zaun, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee; and to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ staff.
Bruce said at times the group felt as if they were “being fed lip service,” and at other times felt lawmakers were actively trying to avoid the protesters.
Bruce warned state leaders that black Iowans’ frustration with the inaction of elected leaders will only grow if nothing is accomplished during this legislative session.
“We told (state lawmakers) they have a serious security breach already in the state of Iowa. Racism and racist violence is the No. 1 issue in the state, the No. 1 issue affecting people’s safety,” Bruce said. “All over the state it’s going to be hard for (protest) organizers to keep control of the tension, keep control of the anger and the rage.