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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — The Iowa Freedom Riders, an Iowa City-based group that advocates for the “liberation and joy of Black and Brown people,” has paused meetings of the People’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee, a group formed in March as an alternative to a city-created commission.
In a statement released Sunday on Twitter, the Freedom Riders said the PTRC meetings “have steered off course and have become a place for white people to come and discuss their issues,” rather than a place for people of color to voice concerns or ask questions.
“When we started doing these meetings, we hoped it would be a safe and healing place for Black and Brown people in Johnson County to discuss the injustices they face on a daily basis, whether that is wrongful eviction notices, armed guards in a Casey’s or walking while Black,” the statement said.
Issues raised by white people at the meetings are valid, but “are more likely to be heard by those in power,” the group said.
The Freedom Riders’ statement says it will step back from the committee to see how it can better “achieve what we set out to do.”
The Freedom Riders formed a Truth and Reckoning Commission in March with the “goals of truth-telling, reparations for marginalized groups, creating a space for healing and education,” KWWL television station reported.
The group was an alternative to the Iowa City Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a nine-member organization created this past year by the Iowa City Council in response to demands from the Black Lives Matter movement. That group is charged with hearing evidence of racial injustice in Iowa City.
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