Kim Cheeks - Office on Status of African-Americans News - 3rd Edition - 2020 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Iowa Events

iowa department of human rights

January 16, 2020

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2020 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Events 

State of Iowa
Iowa Commission on the Status of

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For Release
January 16, 2020 

The State of Iowa Department of Human Rights’ Office and Commission on the Status of African-Americans will host its annual celebration honoring the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 20, 2020.


Monday’s presentation will include a living history program, “The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Toward Justice”, presented by Joseph McGill, Jr., founder of the Slave Dwelling Project and a former member of the Iowa Commission on the Status of African-Americans.  The Slave Dwelling Project organizes overnight stays in extant slave dwellings to promote preservation of the dwellings and education about slavery and the contributions of African-Americans. 

Achievement Awards

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Achievement Award will be presented to five individuals who have demonstrated commitment to the vision of Reverend Dr. King by promoting the racial equality of all people in Iowa through service, diversity, cultural awareness, and active community participation.  The honorees are:

  1. Lisa D. Covington, Program Coordinator of Beloved Community Initiative, Iowa City 
  2. Tiffany Johnson, Producing Artistic Director of Pyramid Theatre Company,
    Des Moines
  3. Lieutenant Lillie M. Miller, Des Moines Police Department
  4. Kimberly Wayne, Ed.D, Founder and Director of Jewels Academy, Des Moines
  5. Susie Weinacht, Mayor Pro-Tem, City of Cedar Rapids

Youth Award

A youth multi-media contest was held on the question:  How would you demonstrate or promote courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service in your school or community following Dr. King’s principle of non-violence? The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. youth contest award will be presented to seventh grade winner, Marqaries Neighbors of Des Moines. 


Musical performances will be provided by Courageous Fire and Reverend Derek Covington.

Event Information

What:          Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

When:         Monday, January 20, 2020

Time:          10:45 AM

Where:       Franklin Junior High School Auditorium                    
                   4801 Franklin Avenue          
                   Des Moines, IA 50310

The event is free and open to the public.  There is no need to register.

Contact Information

Sonya Streit, Public Information Officer, 515-242-5640,

Kim Cheeks, Office on the Status of African-Americans, 515-281-3274 or 1-800-351-4659,

Iowa Department of Human Rights
Lucas State Office Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319 

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John R. Grubb YMCA - Des Moines

Monday, January 20, 2020
7:30 - 9:30 AM

The Knapp Center

2601 Forest Avenue
Des Moines IA 50311

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Drake University Law School
Institute of Justice Reform
sponsored by Verizon

Verizon and Drake University Law School’s Institute of Justice Reform and Innovation invite you to attend A Forum on Criminal Justice Reform: Taking the Next Step, Opportunities and Challenges.

The event will take place on Monday, January 20th at 4:30 PM (following the Black & Brown Presidential Forum).

Location:                             Downtown Des Moines Hilton

                                            Cloud Ballroom A

                                            435 Park Ave.

                                            Des Moines, IA 50309

The forum will feature criminal justice experts from a wide array of focuses, including:

Judge Mark Bennett-     Former District Court Judge and Director of Drake University Law School’s Institute of Justice Reform and Innovation

Beth Skinner-                 Director of Iowa Department of Corrections

Wendy Saumelson-        Adult Division of the Juvenile Public Defender Office

Helen Miller-                   Chair of the Iowa Parole Board

Dennis Henderson-        Program Manager with Urban Dreams and formerly incarcerated individual

Moderator-                         Craig Silliman, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative, Legal and Public Policy Officer at Verizon

A cocktail reception will follow the event, featuring refreshments and light appetizers.

To register, visit: https://events.r20. eventReg?oeidk= a07egu5rper84b63e1c&oseq=&c=& ch=

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