The Iowa Commission on the Status of African-Americans is hosting what’s called the “Ongoing Covenant with Black Iowa Summit” today at East High School in Des Moines.
Spokesman Abraham Funchess says the idea is to open up communication among the commission, local and state elected officials, and state government. Funchess says they want to “shift” the conversation among the black community in Iowa from “talking about our pain to beginning to talk about our plan.”
He says the event will not only identify the issues black Iowans face, but also propose solutions to the problems and “attach a budget” to them. Funchess says they already have an idea of some of the key issues: they want to close the education achievement gap, they want to deal with the high incarceration rate of black Iowans, as well as health, affordable housing and other issues.
Funchess hopes the summit is a launching point and people will come out of the meeting energized to go out and address the issues in their community. The summit is today from nine a.m. to three p.m. at Des Moines East High School. Governor Tom Vilsack will deliver the opening address.