116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Amel Ali has resigned from Iowa City’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission effective immediately, creating another vacancy on the commission.
Ali has been a member of the ad hoc commission since it was created by the Iowa City Council in 2020 in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
She served as vice chair for the majority of her tenure, and was unanimously selected as chair in July.
Ali came under fire in early August after she was accused of using a racial insult against other Black leaders and made disparaging comments on a local podcast. The episodes, which were originally published behind a paywall, are no longer online.
“I feel very lucky to have been a part of a first of its kind TRC in the state of Iowa,” Ali wrote in her email to the Iowa City Council and city staff. “I am forever grateful for all of the knowledge and learning that happened over the last two years, even during times of turmoil and frustrations.”
Ali apologized for the comments last month but said she could not resign. Instead, Ali outlined to the council what a potential restorative justice process could look like to repair the harm she had caused.
At the time, some council members raised concerns about whether the commission could move forward with its truth-telling mission on racial concerns if some members of the community don’t feel welcome sharing their experiences.
Others highlighted the potential for restorative justice and said this is a chance for the commission to do the very work it’s been tasked with.
Ali said in her resignation letter she is “closing this chapter” of being a commission member on the panel but is excited about “what will come of the opportunities I will have the capacity to better engage in.”
“I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the TRC and I wish you all the absolute best,” Ali said.
The vacancy created by Ali’s resignation is the second one in recent months. Daphney Daniel resigned last month, citing health and personal reasons.
The commission has been working for months to hire a facilitator to help carry out its mission and is reworking its facilitator proposal, which will need council approval.
The commission is charged with issuing a report to the City Council by June 2023, with recommendations for changes and to advise whether the commission should continue or be disbanded.
The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 6.
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