Recognition in the 2016 Condition of the State
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad recognized State Pres. Betty Andrews and the NAACP in his 2016 Condition of the State address and highlighted some concerns of Iowa’s Criminal Justice system. In his address, as the Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady did last year, he emphasized the work of the NAACP and our efforts reaching out to both of those branches of Government order to work toward a better Iowa for everyone. We appreciate these comments as it is important to keep this conversation alive and to move on these justice concerns.
2016 Iowa NAACP Day on the Hill
Thanks to all who attended the 2nd Annual Iowa NAACP Day on the Hill at the state capital on February 10. It was a huge success with over 70 in attendance throughout the day. Our Legislative Round Table Luncheon included about 20 legislators, we received a ton of media coverage around our legislative initiatives and many attendees experienced lobbying for the first time. Most importantly we had the opportunity to lobby around our legislative agenda and press for much needed change. Our work on Capitol Hill is part of the ongoing efforts of the NAACP to engage our law makers, to ensure that they hear the prospective of Iowa’s minority and particularly African American Citizenry. We addressed several legislative bills that could fill in areas in which our state is systematically lacking. Thank you to State Rep. Ako Ako Abdul-Samad for hosting us on the hill.
Legislative Action & Criminal Justice Reform Work
The state area conference has become an important participant in the legislative process. In 2014 we resolved to increase our legislative activity to be on par with our advocacy
with the executive and judicial branches of Iowa government. With that we delved into legislation and launched our Day on
the Hill. Hats off to the State Area (and Des Moines Branch) legal redress committee led by Russell Lovell and David Walker for being the wind beneath our wings in moving our legislative strategy. This dream team which also includes other attorneys and State President Andrews and Des Moines President Woods. The NAACP has authored and / or advocated for racial profiling, juvenile records confidentiality, ban the box (fair chance hiring), and equalizing punishment for crack and powder cocaine bills which have all made it past the legislative funnel. These efforts which started with the launch of the Iowa Summit on Justice & Disparities are vitally significant to reducing several disparities and will be expounded on at our March State Area meeting is extremely important and this space does not do it justice.
St. Ambrose University College Chapter
Please join us in celebrating our newest NAACP Unit, St. Ambrose University College Chapter. National Board Member Dedric Doolin reports that the charter for the St. Ambrose College chapter was approved at the February 20, 2016 meeting of the National Board of Directors in Baltimore, MD.
The Iowa-Nebraska NAACP has received a grant from the National NAACP to enroll individuals in the Affordable Health Care before the January 31, 2016 deadline. State Health Chair Jacquie Easley McGhee partnered us with Mercy Hospital and held an activity called Rockin’ & Enrollin’ at I’ll Make Me a World in Iowa, Iowa’s African American Festival on January 30. The program successfully enrolled over 20 people and provided information on self-enrollment to hundreds more. The Iowa-Nebraska State Area Conference was one of only 12 states selected for this grant by the national NAACP health department.
Financial Freedom work continues in 2016
Iowa-Nebraska NAACP will continue its work around Financial Freedom Education. The state area conference will launch a series of 5 financial literacy workshops throughout Iowa and Nebraska in May. The state area conference received a mini-grant award from the National Economic Department under its Wells Fargo sponsorship. The workshops on budgeting and home buying will be hosted by local branches and presented by Wells Fargo.