Ad Hoc Truth and Reconciliation Commission

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The City Council has established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to bear witness to the truth of racial injustice in Iowa City and to carry out restorative justice, through the collection of testimony and public hearings, with such work to include a recommendation to the Council of a plan for dedicating and/or renaming public spaces and/or rights of way in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement. TRC By-Laws can be read at this link. To view the TRC Brochure click this link

Public Announcement 

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Iowa City was created to facilitate difficult and sometimes painful conversations on racial injustice in our midst. Our mandate consists in researching the facts, but also to listen to the diverse voices of our community and offer healing opportunities.

With this objective, the TRC will hold a Community Encounter for Truth-Telling on March 20-21. We invite testimony from the members of Iowa City on the intersection of racial injustice and policing and law enforcement. The Encounter will be an opportunity to be heard by the members of the TRC in representation of the City, to speak freely about your experiences, negative or positive, to discuss harm and repair, and to envision transformation.

Do you have an experience related to racial injustice or discrimination in the field of policing and law enforcement? If it was harmful or traumatizing, have you processed enough of the raw pain to be able to share openly about it? If so, please reach out to the Iowa City Truth and Reconciliation Commission; call: 319-887-6082 or email: adhoctruth@iowa-city.org

To honor the depth of people's truths, an initial selection of voices will be invited for this first offering of space. The TRC will follow up with each person who expresses interest in sharing their truth, and will invite testimony privately or publicly, as it is safer for each participant and to motivate vibrant debate in our community.

Please review the questions below. If you are emotionally ready to reflect on questions like these in a public forum, please reach out now. The TRC will be honored to hear from you at the contact information listed above.

Indicative questions for potential testimony:

What have been your experiences with police / law enforcement in Iowa City?

  1. Can you identify positive aspects of that interaction?
  2. Can you identify negative aspects of that interaction?
  3. If something negative happened, did anyone intervene on your behalf? What kind of support would you have wanted?
  4. Were you harmed as a result of that interaction? Please describe the harms that were inflicted.
  5. What would you need to experience harm repair?
  6. In the context of interactions with police/ law enforcement what would racial justice look like for you?

What to expect: if you feel like the questions above are significant to you, please reach out to us and we will communicate with you. You have the right to decide whether to provide testimony, and whether you prefer to do it in a public manner or in private. A testimony to the TRC is not an administrative or a judicial complaint, but a contribution to public discussion toward transformation and racial justice.

Every member of our community can participate, and the commission will do its utmost effort to accommodate different stories and needs. Also, please note that the TRC intends to organize further Community Encounters on other areas related to racial justice, including for example economic opportunity and access to quality education. There will be several opportunities to engage in dialogue.

Contact

Ad Hoc Truth and Reconciliation Commission
410 E Washington St
Iowa City, IA 52240
Phone: 319-887-6082

To contact the entire Commission, email AdHocTruth@iowa-city.org. All correspondence addressed to the Ad Hoc Truth and Reconciliation Commission becomes a permanent public record.

Public Meeting

The Commission meets the first and third Thursdays of each month at 7PM in Emma J. Harvat Hall, City Hall, 410 E. Washington Street, Iowa City.

Agendas

In order to encourage input from the public, the Commission intends to offer the opportunity to participate in the meeting remotely. However, this meeting is in-person, and those wishing to ensure their ability to participate should attend the meeting in-person. If you instead wish to participate remotely, you may attempt to do so by joining the below link. Please note that the meeting link and ID for the first Thursday is different than the meeting link and ID for the third Thursday.

First Thursday Meetings
ID: 867 2424 8095

Third Thursday Meetings
ID: 895 3695 0485

If you have no computer or smartphone, or a computer without a microphone, you can call in by phone by dialing (312) 626-6799 and entering the meeting ID when prompted.

Watch Previous Meetings

Beginning April 29, 2021, City Channel 4 began providing video of Truth and Reconciliation Commission meetings. You can watch or listen to previous meetings on City Channel 4's website. Video and audio will be uploaded within

two business days of the scheduled meeting.

Duties

The charges of the TRC are as follows:

  1. Fact-Finding - The TRC shall collect evidence, including first-hand testimony, of discrimination and racial injustice in multiple settings and compile a complete record of racial injustices that will inform and support the fundamental institutional and policy reforms necessary to address systemic racism.

  2. Truth-Telling - The TRC shall: 1) Provide multiple fora and creative opportunities for persons impacted and traumatized by racial injustice to share their stories of racial injustice and experience to be heard by: (a) fellow communities of color; (b) a broad cross section of the entire Iowa City community; and (c) key decision-makers in city government, the business community and the University; 2) Explore ways to provide such opportunities through art, music, theater, workshops, rallies and other forms of congregation, multimedia and listening designed to reveal truths that cannot be fully expressed in traditional fora; and, 3) Create a repository for community stories expressed in multiple media (written, video, audio, art) that can be catalogued and used to educate and inform members of the community.

  3. Reconciliation - The TRC shall: 1) Provide opportunity for and facilitate direct conversation among and between community members of color, white community members and representatives of various sectors in which people of color experience discrimination and injustice (e.g. police and protesters, landlords and tenants, students and teachers, patients and health care providers, business owners and staff); 2) Create a replicable model that provides a structure for enabling these conversations throughout the city; 3) Make available opportunities for a broad cross section of the community to learn about discrimination and racial injustice in our community; and, 4) Identify and recommend to the City Council institutional and policy reforms, new social practices, expectations, protocols, habits, rituals, conversations and celebrations that will move Iowa City toward a shared experience of race and difference, justice and equity and community and harmony.

Mission Statement

Who are we? Our Commission represents a collection of citizen activists from diverse backgrounds calling on the Iowa City community to account for their history of racialize oppression. We are individuals who are committed to structural change, truth telling, healing trauma and repair. We share in common a vision for an equitable and sustainable community free of violence and systemic racism. We believe the time has come to foster change.

Our Mission: The Iowa City Ad Hoc Truth and Reconciliation Commission is committed to implementing and sustaining grassroots, community-centered truth-telling processes to address past and present instances of both direct and indirect actions of violence, discrimination, and racism in Iowa City. We will collect testimony from a variety of institutions including but not limited to schools, housing providers, government officials, health care, banking institutions, and law enforcement.

Indigenous Land Acknowledgement of the Ad Hoc Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Human Rights Commission

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