A Statement from the Executive Director

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Dear Iowans,

The African American Museum of Iowa team and board have been deeply saddened and outraged by continued injustices against black people in our country. In recent days, the Museum has been the focus of an outpouring of support, with offers of individual, community, and organizational collaboration. This is a clear message that what we do matters to communities across the state. The Museum is uniquely poised to serve as a resource for many seeking historical perspectives, real answers, and social justice platforms.

There are many people who were taken off guard by the most recent and traumatizing murders of black people by law enforcement. These instances of police brutality are only more examples of centuries of oppression. There has been a collective gasp of pain and outrage as yet another video has become the witness for the unheard in our society. The exhaustive list of black men, women, and children who have been victimized throughout the history of this country is not new but now being seen through a new lens – one of authenticity and truth.

The mission of the Museum is to preserve, exhibit, and teach the African American heritage of Iowa. Teaching includes exposing the past and recent injustices to impact the strides we can make today and tomorrow. We are weeks away from our annual Juneteenth celebration, which will take on added meaning this year. This year, we won’t just be celebrating, but launching renewed efforts in the fight toward real justice and equality, armed with allies and voices that need to be heard. There has been a unified awakening of many Americans and global citizens to the atrocities faced by black people today and over the last 400 years.

History has demonstrated the injustices are many and the time of action long overdue. I am heartbroken but not hopeless. I pray for peace and justice in our land. We must demand it for the sake of all our children and their children.

Whether you march, implore your legislature, kneel, or stand up to lawlessness, please do consider your own personal responsibility toward ensuring all people are treated with dignity and humanity. All lives don’t matter until Black lives matter!


LaNisha Cassell
Executive Director