Media Contact

Veronica Lorson Fowler, ACLU of Iowa Communications Director

July 25, 2019

Des Moines, Iowa — Today the ACLU of Iowa announced that it is giving Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) its Partners in Liberty award.

"Iowa CCI has been an important, effective force working on critical civil liberties issues," said ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Mark Stringer. "Among other things, it has worked tirelessly and for years for racial justice. That includes advocating for anti-racial profiling city ordinances and statewide legislation. They've done an amazing job and truly have moved the ball forward in an area where there has been much resistance. In particular, Iowa CCI does an excellent job in shining a spotlight on the stories of individuals who have been directly affected. They've been leading a vocal effort in Des Moines to get the city council to adopt an anti-racial profiling ordinance"
Iowa CCI is being recognized for its important work in other areas as well:
  • It's been a vocal opponent of police use of force and has long advocated for a citizens review board.
  • Most recently, Iowa CCI has been an important client in the ACLU of Iowa's Ag Gag 1.0 and Ag Gag 2.0 lawsuits to protect the free speech rights of advocates and investigators.
  • Iowa CCI also has worked effectively to protect immigrants from wage theft and worker safety violations.
  • Iowa CCI does an unparalleled job of engaging impacted individuals and communities and helping to tell their stories with compelling examples. That includes sharing Des Moines Police body camera and dash camera video that corroborated important details of the racial profiling incident last July of two young Black men who were stopped while driving. Those officers refused to tell the driver why he was stopped, searched, handcuffed, and put into a squad car, even after they were released without any charges filed. 
  • Iowa CCI is also responsible for elevating the story of a Black campaign worker who was questioned by West Des Moines Police simply for walking around in a white neighborhood.
The organization will receive the award at the ACLU of Iowa’s Bill of Rights Brunch on Saturday, October 12, at the downtown Des Moines Hilton.
Photo: front row (left to right): Matthew Peirce, Cherie Mortice, Janis Elliott; back row, (left to right): Rosie Partridge, Paul Wittau, Lori Young, Barbara Lang, Nick Schutt, Patti McKee, Tom Mohan.