He noted the United States incarcerates more people than other countries, so it should have the lowest crime rate and rank among the safest, “and yet that’s not true.”
Betty Andrews of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP said she is encouraged that more people are listening to concerns raised by racial minorities and are stepping forward to address inequities that have been spurred by high-profile deaths of Black victims at the hands of oftentimes white law enforcement officers.
“I think that one of the biggest civil rights tools that has ever been invented is the cellphone,” she said. “The fact that we can record video and people can actually see the death, unfortunately, of George Floyd, which kind of puts a mirror up to America and says that there is no way that we can deny this.
“The thing that the cellphone did was bring truth to Black voices and brown voices that had always been speaking but now with this video and things like that, people cannot deny what has happened,” added Andrews, who has served with Skinner on Reynolds’ FOCUS committee working on criminal justice reform recommendations.
She said Iowa achieved a “big victory” when Reynolds signed an executive order that will give “40,000 to 50,000 people the opportunity to vote after being incarcerated.” But Zeno said lawmakers need to take the next step in the process of amending the Iowa Constitution with the felon voting language.
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