Iowans protest anti-Immigrant racial profiling law on International Worker's Day

May 1, 2024

Peter Flynn, Gavin Gassmann, Michael Powers

IOWA - On May 1st, International Worker's Day, the Latinx community and their allies across Iowa held candlelight vigils in four major cities. The main focus of the vigils was opposition to the enactment of the controversial bill SF 2340 by Governor Kim Reynolds. The Latinx community, advocates, and allies stand firm in declaring SF 2340 unconstitutional and antithetical to American values.

In Des Moines, Jose Alvarado from Latinx Immigrants of Iowa expressed, "This bill isn't just a piece of legislation, it's an attack on our community's very essence." These peaceful vigils served as a reference of solidarity, sending a resounding message that fear will not govern the lives and actions of the Latinx community in Iowa. Speakers shared personal stories and lead the crowds in chants of "No Tenemos Miedo (We Are Not Afraid)".

May 1st - Des Moines

Stop SF2340 Vigil - Des Moines Iowa

In Davenport Iowa, Speakers shared their opposition to the bill based in religious beliefs. One pastor quoted from the Torah. "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself". A fundamental call to unity that many religious people live by, but that the Republicans in power in Iowa reject and tarnish with anti-Immigrant hate.

Michael Guster, President of the Metrocom NAACP, shared a letter from the Davenport Chief of Police, stating that they would not enforce SF 2340 while a similar bill was in litigation in Texas, and that they have received no orders to enforce the bill. They also promised to guarantee no racial discrimination policy would be instituted. The community will need to hold them to that. The Davenport Police, and all law enforcement in Iowa, has the opportunity and obligation to reject the anti-constitutional bill. The vigil closed with a call to get out and vote, and the St. Anthony's Church Choir "Playing us out", as Pastor Rudy put it.

May 1st - Davenport

Stop SF2340 Vigil - Davenport Iowa

In Iowa City, Mayor Bruce Teague joined the vigil and at the end gave a proclamation of solidarity with all immigrants, documented or not. This proclamation represents a real progressive force within the city. We hope that events like these push the Iowa City community to be the leader of progress against Republican led anti-Immigrant hate in Iowa.

May 1st - Iowa City

Stop SF2340 Vigil - Iowa City

In a press release, organizers also sought to emphasize that America's immigration system desperately needs to be reformed. "We seek a comprehensive immigration reform - one that recognizes the contribution of immigrants rather than criminalizing them.", organizer Manny Galvez said. Iowa's agricultural and service sectors are both heavily reliant on immigrant labor. "Our state thrives because of immigrant labor. This law is a step backward for everyone." highlighted Mayra Hernandez of Quad Cities Interfaith. All the organizers wish to express above all else that silence in the face of injustice is not an option. Iowans from all walks of life must join hands and convey the unwavering spirit of Unity.

Stop SF 2340. No Tenemos Miedo (We Are Not Afraid)

Stop SF 2340. No Tenemos Miedo (We Are Not Afraid)

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