Op-Ed: Des Moines city officials ‘have placed impediments in the pathway’ of community voices, says Black community leader

The chair of a Des Moines commission said Des Moines city officials aren’t listening to community members’ views.

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During the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission’s 2023 retreat last February, the Des Moines Assistant Manager Malcolm Hankins stipulated the directive given to him by the City Manager Scott Sanders that there would be no development made in advancing a Community Review Board for community law enforcement.

“Back the Blue” means to maintain the domestic militarization of the city.

Negus Rudison-Imhotep, Ph.D, MPA., is chair of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission. Source: Rudison-Imhotep.

If any advancement were to be engendered, a community advisory board would be spawned, yet advisory boards still need to have governance. Members of the commission witnessed city officials usurping their authority over the appeals of the citizenry. Being a new member of the commission who has become chair, I have noticed the different dynamics of each representative on the committee. Several commissioners have affirmed that city officials have placed impediments in the pathway of the voices of members of various communities in this city.

The voices of the proletariat volume have been thoroughly minimized. We live in a society where the power structure has absolute authority, and the encroachment on their position can place those seeking positive, secure change in precarious situations. White supremacy racism upholds the norms they have generated to keep the status quo. They were conscious of the foundation of this country and the continued onslaught of the collateral consequences many people encounter from the ordinances of lawmakers. The typical person has no recourse when their fundamental human rights have been infringed upon. By omitting the desires of the citizenry, every effort is null and void. Yes, the fox continues to guard the hen house.

Postulating evidence-based data in addressing multifaceted dilemmas in the city of Des Moines is most prudent. The pandemic and the George Floyd murder operated as a socioeconomic and sociopolitical barometer, which lifted the veil of ignorance from the faces of the masses.

Individuals living in the margin know their habitat and the exorbitant disparities they encounter daily.

With the aid of cell phones, people who may be deemed redundant have become instantaneous journalists whose photos become global with the click of a finger. Subjective and societal attitudes counteract the recognition of diversity. Xenophobia is a sophisticated galvanizing element that is inserted in every culture. Historically the racial divide has perpetuated an American caste system that has labeled people of African descent as a redundant portion of the American populace. Presupposing disseminates obstructions to diversity; individuals or groups who are sincerely apprehensive about advocating diversity must come to recognize others’ realities and views. Intrinsic laws were engendered to underwrite and propagate a legacy of social, economic and political disparity.

Preserving negative encounters from a particular ethnic group assists in establishing deep-seated anger and unquenchable bitterness for the ethnos discussed. In all real regards of what we may consider being facts, no one ethnic group is monolithic.

A concerned citizen,

Negus Rudison-Imhotep, Ph.D., master’s of public administration

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