Letter: Work together to end youth violence

The Iowa Democratic Black Caucus (IDBC) represents a large block of African American voters throughout the State of Iowa. Our mission is to educate, inspire and motivate these communities to exercise their rights to engage in local, state and national political processes.

We have been notified of a serious problem involving African American voters and escalating youth violence in Cedar Rapids. We strongly endorse 1 Strong, a community organization, and their request to the Cedar Rapids City Council to have the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) perform a field investigation into youth violence.

This investigation will identify key problems within the black community and recommend evidence-based approaches to addressing this violence. We believe this investigation is important since already this year at least three blacks under 21 years old have been killed and 15 more injured by gunfire. We believe shedding light on this problem will not only uncover reasons behind this dilemma, but lead to action against individuals causing this blight. Further, it will show the 6,000 African American residents that their city government officials are committed to providing them a safe productive environment.

Successfully investigating and eliminating this blight could undoubtedly improve the number of blacks participating at the polls, as well as be a large step toward improving race relations between African Americans and law enforcement officials in Cedar Rapids. This could lead to positive outcomes between the minority community, law enforcement officers and the Cedar Rapids government.

Iowa Democratic Black Caucus Executive Board

Ako Abdul-Samad, Chairman

Jamie Woods, Vice Chairman

Sylvia Mills-Echols, Secretary

Tomi Johnson, Treasurer


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