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Throughout last summer’s racial justice protests, demonstrators frequently called for an end to “systemic racism.” Broadly defined, it’s policies and practices entrenched in a society that harm certain racial groups and help others, whether intentionally or not. IPR News is looking at what systemic racism looks like in Iowa -- including housing, criminal justice, education, health care, business ownership, and farming -- and how it affects Black Iowans today.

Understanding The History Of Systemic Racism In Iowa

Charlie Neibergall/AP
Betty Andrews, president of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP, speaks after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an executive order granting convicted felons the right to vote during a signing ceremony, Aug. 5 at the Statehouse in Des Moines.

This week IPR is featuring a series of reports about systemic racism in Iowa. Iowa Public Radio's Morning Edition host Clay Masters kicks off the series by talking about the history of systemic racism in the state with Iowa-Nebraska NAACP President Betty Andrews.

Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd this year brought heightened awareness to systemic racism and social justice across the country, including in Iowa. But Black leaders in Iowa have been working to combat the issue here for decades. One of those leaders is Betty Andrews. She’s president of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP.

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.