A rally in Des Moines. (IPR photo)

For many Black Lives Matter activists in Iowa, there is a feeling of being a part of historic change.

At a recent rally in Cedar Rapids, Kentrell Petties said he joined the throng because he wanted to be a part of something that would make future generations proud. “We’re getting our message across and that’s what matters and everything, you know?” Petties says. “More and more people are starting to show up to these things. That means we’re getting our message across.”

Thousands of Iowans have taken to the streets as part of the movement, successfully spurring policy changes at the local and state level. Petties says he wanted to be a part of history. “This is about the next generation, for our kids, you know?” Petties says. “When I get older, I want my kids to know that I did this, so they won’t have to do this — hopefully, they won’t have to do this.”

The African American Museum of Iowa, located in Cedar Rapids, is working to collect artifacts and experiences from these protests and others for an exhibit on 21st century activism. The museum is collecting protest signs while urging Iowans to share their experiences via an online questionnaire through the end of the month.

The upcoming exhibit will cover Black Lives Matter, MeToo and LGBTQ rights movements. Find the questionnaire at: blackiowa.org.

(By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)