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ACLU 100 Experience Comes to Iowa

The Iowa chapter of the ACLU was founded in 1935, 15 years after the national organization. (ACLU of Iowa)
The Iowa chapter of the ACLU was founded in 1935, 15 years after the national organization. (ACLU of Iowa)
April 11, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa – A two-day exhibition highlighting accomplishments of the American Civil Liberties Union ahead of its 100th anniversary next year comes to Des Moines today.

Kylie Gottschalk, community engagement associate with the ACLU of Iowa, says much like the national organization, the Iowa chapter continues to fight for people affected by issues such as mass incarceration, immigration and human rights. Last month the Iowa chapter released a report that shows Iowa has the highest rate in the nation in the percentage of black students arrested, compared with the student population overall.

Gottschalk thinks this week's even will help highlight the ACLU's ongoing work.

"People hear about certain things happening, but I think this event, specifically really will help give people a larger understanding and see the bigger picture and how these issues affect people all over, including Iowa,” says Gottschalk.

The exhibit will be set up in the courtyard of the Des Moines Social Club today and tomorrow. The traveling event arrives in Iowa after stops in Los Angeles, Austin and Denver and will include talks by elected officials, business leaders and civil-rights advocates.

Gottschalk says the Des Moines exhibit is meant to spark a deeper conversation about the challenging, high-stakes civil liberties battles of the nation's past, present and future, including those in the heartland.

"We're really focusing on voter restoration and restoring voting rights for people's felony convictions, as well as immigration, making sure people know and understand their rights and feel safe and welcome in their communities,” says Gottschalk.

The ACLU of Iowa recently led a successful challenge to the state's "ag gag" law which was overturned by a state court in January. The law blocked the ability of journalists, food-safety and labor advocates to do undercover work in agricultural facilities.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - IA