LETTER: Iowa, America face ‘moral crisis’

February 7, 2019

Our country is in moral crisis, and Iowa is not immune. More than one in three Iowans are poor or low income, including 43 percent of Iowa’s children. While the rich get richer, ordinary Iowans struggle to obtain the basic necessities of survival: food, water, medical treatment, and economic opportunity, including education and justly compensated employment.

Last Thursday, a dozen representatives of the Iowa Poor People’s Campaign gathered at the State Capitol to deliver to our legislators a list of demands, including an end to racist gerrymandering and voter suppression laws; the repeal of the state law prohibiting local governments from passing minimum wage increases; and the creation of a public jobs program to transition to a green, living-wage economy.

We are a nonpartisan movement of poor and low-income people, clergy, and moral leaders of all races, ethnicities, religions, and political affiliations, seeking to hold our government officials accountable to the moral vision articulated at our nation’s founding. We are not Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. Our struggle is not about left versus right, but right versus wrong. It’s about whether Americans truly believe that all are created equal, with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — or whether those are just pretty words and rhetorical flourish.

We will continue to organize and mobilize across this state until our demands are satisfied. We will continue to move forward together toward a more perfect union. - Ryan Dowell-Baum, Sioux City

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