Planning is underway for a bipartisan Equal Justice Summit, addressing disparities in justice for minorities and others, such as the mentally ill, the homeless, etc.. In the past year, I have talked with a variety of stakeholders in the three branches of government and the community. For the past two months, I’ve been working with an advisory and planning committee to develop an agenda, set a time and place for the summit, and build a list of stakeholders/participants. As the planning for the summit gains momentum, I want to involve all of you and ask for your support for this unique effort.
The purpose of the Summit is two-fold: 1) to create awareness of the issue among all Iowans; and 2) to serve as both a call and guide to action for the legislature, the executive branch, the judiciary, and community stakeholders.
The program for the summit will feature two outstanding keynote speakers, who will set the tone for the meeting, and high-ranking speakers from each of the three branches of government, as well as the voices and images of the people affected by disparities in justice. Our first keynote speaker will be Mark Holden, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Koch Industries. The afternoon session will focus on current best practices and needed future action.
The overarching goal of the summit is create awareness of the issue and its impacts among Iowans. Simultaneously, we intend to develop and communicate a series of action steps for each of the three branches of government in the coming year. In addition, stakeholders from the public and from the relevant organizations will be focused on specific ways to support the action agenda in their respective ways and to extend it to their local communities.
Equality, not disparity, is not an issue which needs more study or more input. Instead, it’s time to begin the process of change. Iowa can be a leader in this area, as we have been in other areas of human rights, and the summit will begin the change process.
Iowa State Representative Helen Miller