A. MINORITY IMPACT STATEMENT: What is a Minority Impact Statement and how should it work? Hear about the recent efforts nationally with Iowa's pioneering minority impact statement law and how this legislation is making a difference in Iowa and around America. How can we better use this tool to reduce disproportionality in the justice system and beyond?

Wayne Ford, Retired Iowa Legislator and Founder of the Minority Impact Statement Institute & Kurt Swaim, First Assistant State Public Defender



B. ADVOCATING FOR VICTIMS -THE IMPACT OF CRIMES IN THE COMMUNITY:  Iowa is experiencing a sharp increase in homicide and violent crime. Despite making up only 4% of the state’s population, over one-third of homicide victims are Black. It is imperative that we begin to examine the impact of crime in our communities; including the experiences of victims of crime, the advocates that provide support and the multi-layered systems that both assist in survivors’ healing and create barriers that cause harm. Luana Nelson-Brown, Executive Director Iowa Coalition For Collective Change


C. CRITICAL RACE THEORY? A BAN ON TEACHING DIVERSITY? WHAT DOES THE NEW LAW REALLY MEAN?  In May 2021, Governor Reynolds signed into law House File 802, a bill related to diversity and inclusion training for employees and students. This workshop is designed to provide educators and others with additional insight on how districts can provide meaningful training and curriculum on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Melissa Peterson, Government Relations Specialist for the Iowa State Education Association



D. PRIORITIZING DIVERSE JURIES:  Both the U.S. and the Iowa Constitution guarantee a person accused of a crime a jury trial and an “impartial jury.”  All-white juries could inhibit defendants of color from exercising their right to a fair jury trial, if they impede the fairness of jury deliberations, disadvantage minority defendants in plea negotiations, and create an appearance of unfairness that undercuts public confidence in the justice system. Major recent decisions from the U.S and the Iowa Supreme Courts provide reasons for optimism against discriminatory strikes of minority jurors by prosecutors and against racial bias of potential jurors.

David Walker, Co-author with Russell Lovell of the NAACP Amicus Brief in State v. Veal and on the remand of State v. Plain


E. POWER PANEL- THE ROLE OF A PROSECUTOR: Also known as County Attorneys and District Attorneys, prosecutors in the legal system hold many powers and have great discretion. These attorneys make decisions about if, how, and when the law is enforced including whether to charge, and at what level to charge. They decide whether to seek a plea bargain or to go to trial. Prosecutors are also responsible for a variety of public safety issues. This panel will help you learn more about the role of  local prosecutors.

Panelists:  Janet Lyness, Johnson County; Jeff Wright, State Public Defender; Laura Roan, Polk County Assistant County Attorney and Jessica Reynolds, Executive Director of County Attorneys Association.