116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The three candidates who have launched their bids for Cedar Rapids mayor will be pressed Saturday on their visions to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the city in the first sponsored forum of the campaign cycle.
The African American Professionals of the Iowa Corridor will host a forum from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium, 1220 First Ave NE. All three candidates — Advocates for Social Justice board Vice President Amara Andrews, Mayor Brad Hart and nonprofit Women Lead Change CEO Tiffany O’Donnell — will participate.
Former Mayor Ron Corbett will serve as the moderator. It is not a debate format, so a question will be posed and each candidate will respond to all questions, said the group’s president, Brandon Jackson.
People may register to attend for free at eventbrite.com/e/copy-of-mayoral-candidates-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-forum-registration-150495178129. Face masks are required for attendees.
The public may submit questions at blackiowacc.com.
The event page states that each candidate has spoken about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion “for them and the future of Cedar Rapids. For the first time you will get a chance to witness all candidates in the same place answering questions from the public on the topic!”
After a year of nationwide outcry sparked by George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police in May 2020, calls for law enforcement reform — and more broadly for racial justice — rang throughout the country and reverberated in Cedar Rapids. Activists’ demands through the Advocates for Social Justice led to the approval of a citizens’ police review board in the city.
Jackson said some topics discussed in the forum, like systemic racism, will relate to this racial justice movement.
Other such questions that will come up include how the mayors plan to engage the community in the city’s decision-making processes as well as how they envision supporting women- and minority-owned business to achieve success, particularly as they manage challenges related to COVID-19 and last summer’s derecho.
A livestream will be available through African American Professionals of the Iowa Corridor Facebook page @AAPIowa.
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