With no shortage of opinions about the upcoming Iowa City Council primary, a gap in the conversation exists around the identities of the candidates. With the field of candidates 80 percent white to fill a seat previously held by a black man, why is no one asking, “If these folks are so concerned about bringing voices to the table, why not start by making space for the most marginalized voices first?”
The candidacy of Bruce Teague does just that. His identity as a black, gay man not only provides a perspective currently not represented, but his presence as a business owner means he holds an ongoing stake in the success of this community. His positions are consistent with increasing accommodations to historically underserved populations, maintaining a balance between fiscal responsibility and leveraging resources for the greatest good, and continuing to ask critical questions regarding public transportation accessibility, fair housing, and fiscal priorities.
Bruce’s specific experiences in this community — shaped by his identity and the world we live in which undervalues the experiences of black men (especially gay, black men) — add a critical perspective that brings unheard voices to the table. If we, as a community, remain committed to creating an atmosphere of inclusion, then we must remain vigilant to not just elect people who are “a voice for others,” but elect people who truly bring new voices to the table so they may tell their own story as they push us all to be better together.