Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

December 10, 2021

The Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR) brings strength to Iowa's rich heritage.  Our three divisions - Community Action Agencies, Community Advocacy and Services, and Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning - work to reduce cultural, social, and economic barriers to opportunities for Iowans to succeed.

International Human Rights Day December 10, 2021

Every year on December 10, the world celebrates Human Rights Day, the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The 2021 theme for Human Rights Day, set by the United Nations General Assembly, is: EQUALITY - Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights. This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to 'Equality' and Article 1 of the UDHR – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” 

At the Iowa Department of Human Rights, our mission leads our work every day - a mission that ensures that Iowa can be a place where all people are important members of our community, and everyone can contribute their unique talents to our state.  We are dedicated to sustaining the focus on inclusion, equity, and removal of barriers to opportunity.  We reaffirm our commitment to fostering a resilient and just community by improving the criminal and juvenile justice system through data and research; ensuring homes are warm and safe during the winter season; increasing access to government services and community connectedness; and providing leadership opportunities for youth. 

DHR to Participate in Iowa Summit on Justice and Disparities

The Iowa Summit on Justice and Disparities will be held on December 14, 2021.  The Iowa Department of Human Rights/Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning staff will conduct a workshop on  the school to prison pipeline and racial disparities in the juvenile justice system.  Our staff will also be participating on a plenary panel that will discuss ways to improve the criminal and juvenile justice systems, which will include recommendations from the Justice Advisory Board and Juvenile Justice Advisory Council.  In addition, the 2021 Creative Expressions artwork will be on display. Creative Expressions is an activity supported by the National Youth in Transition Database project for youth who have experience in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Event:  The Iowa Summit on Justice and Disparities 
Date:  December 14, 2021, 8:00-5:00
Place:  FFA Enrichment Center, 1055 Prairie Trail Parkway, Ankeny, IA 50023
Website and registration:

We're Hiring!

The Iowa Department of Human Rights/Division of Community Action Agencies is looking to hire a positive, team-oriented individual to serve as a Secretary 2.  The deadline to apply is December 16, 2021, at 11:59 PM.  For more information and how to apply, visit the State of Iowa Careers page: 

                                                          Generated button

Nominations Open for 2022 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards

The Iowa Department of Human Rights' Commission on the Status of African-Americans is seeking nominations for two awards that honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Commission will present MLK Achievement and Service Project Awards at the 33rd Annual Celebration of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. virtually on Monday, January 17, 2022. 

Iowans are encouraged to nominate deserving individuals in the following categories:

MLK Achievement: Recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to Dr. King's vision, helping others, cultural awareness, diversity, active community participation and promoting racial equality of all people in Iowa. 

MLK Service Project: Recognizes individuals and/or organizations who are or have participated in a service project that has strengthened their Iowa community, such as mentoring, read to children at schools, community centers, or shelters, restored schools, built playgrounds, and organized neighborhood watches, etc. 

Nomination forms must be postmarked by December 18, 2021.

If you have questions, contact the office at 515-281-3274 or toll-free 800-351-4659.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Call 2 Serve Youth Contest

Students First through Eighth Grade are encouraged to submit entries for the 11th annual Iowa Department of Human Rights' Commission on the Status of African-Americans Call 2 Serve contest, promoting the 2022 Martin Luther King Day of Service. Please get your students involved! Winners will be awarded at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration virtually on Monday, January 17, 2022. 

Entries must be postmarked by December 18, 2021

Contest information
Enter the contest here

DHR Copyright Release Transfer
DHR Waiver Release

Hamilton Relay Scholarship: $500


The goal of the Hamilton Relay Scholarship is to support students who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or have difficulty speaking in their post-secondary education. The Hamilton Relay Scholarship is extended to qualifying high school students living within each of the states where Hamilton Relay is the contracted Telecommunications Relay and/or Captioned Telephone service provider. Hamilton Relay selects one recipient from each state annually. Scholarship recipients will be determined on or before March 1, 2022.

 Eligibility Criteria

  1. Applicant must be a graduating high school senior who is deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or has difficulty speaking.
  2. Applicant must be a resident of one of the following states: CA, DC, GA, ID, IA, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MT, NM, PA, UT, VA or WA. 
  3. Applicant must complete and submit application, essay, letter of recommendation and signed talent release form to be eligible.
  4. Scholarship will be awarded to the selected applicant in each state after the Hamilton Relay Scholarship Committee reviews all applications submitted on or before the posted deadline.

 Guidelines for Hamilton Relay Scholarship

  1. Application packet must be completed and postmarked by January 31, 2022 and must include all the following items:
    1. Scholarship Application
    2. Letter of Recommendation from faculty staff member at high school or from employer
    3. One page essay as required (topic assigned on application)
    4. Signed Talent Release Form
  1. Mail the application and attachments to:

              Hamilton Relay Scholarship Committee
              1006 12th Street
              Aurora, NE 68818

Scholarship award recipients must complete and return a “Scholarship Recipient Agreement Form” and provide a copy of their Letter of Acceptance from the post-secondary school they will attend, allowing Hamilton to process payment directly to the school.    

                                                       Generated button

How to have a healthy and safe holiday season

The holidays may look different once again for many people--adults and children alike.  Healthcare workers are stressed; people have lost loved ones; households may be experiencing financial challenges;  and just getting ready for the holidays in and of itself can be stressful.  Here are some resources to help you manage stress during this busy time. 

  • COVID Recovery Iowa offers free, confidential virtual counseling and assistance for all Iowans affected by COVID-19.  Language interpretation is available.    
    • Warm Line 1-844-775-9276
    • Iowa Concern Line 1-800-1985 
    • Spanish Line 531-800-3687
  • Your Life Iowa - Free, confidential support and resources for problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling, suicidal thoughts or mental health. Call 1-855-581-8111, text 1-855-895-8398, or chat at   Language assistance is available. 
  • How Right Now has resources for specific populations and categories of need.  
  • CDC Video - Navigating the Winter and Holiday Blues 

COVID-19 Language Resources

American Sign Language Videos-CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Resources for Limited English Proficient Populations

Congolese Health Partnership Videos

Coronavirus, State Website

Crescent Community Health Center-Marshallese Language

EMBARC Ethnic Minorities of Burma and Advocacy and Resource Center

Hawaii Office of Language Access-Youtube

Iowa Department of Human Rights-Language Access

Iowa Department of Public Health

Iowa Spanish Helpline 515-344-3936 

Multi-Lingual Hotline  1-877-558-2609

Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa  

Test Iowa-Free COVID-19 Test Kits 

Previous Newsletters

Are there other resources we should know about? Let us know.

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, click here or navigate to the "Manage Subscriptions" section below.

Iowa Department of Human Rights
Lucas State Office Building
321 E 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-242-5640 or 1-800-351-4659
Contact Us Form