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Racial Justice

A Police Officer Killed George Floyd Almost 1 Year Ago. What Has Changed For Iowans?

George Floyd Officer Trial
Jim Mone
/
AP
A mural of George Floyd is seen in George Floyd Square in Minneapolis in April.

While protests for racial justice and protests against police brutality are not new in Iowa or in the country, such efforts gained new momentum and global attention after Memorial Day 2020, when George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer. A video showing Floyd’s arrest and death circulated quickly on social media, leading to protests on a global scale in the midst of a pandemic.

On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, a jury found the arresting officer, Derek Chauvin, guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. But those guilty verdicts don't mean the country will, or should, go back to the way it was before last May. Floyd's murder has renewed a national reckoning with racism and police brutality that is ongoing. In the year since Floyd’s death, thousands of protesters have been arrested, incidents of police violence have continued across the country and “Defund the Police” has become a contentious rallying cry among some activists. Meanwhile, Iowa lawmakers have unanimously passed a number of police reforms, and communities in the state have passed reforms of their own. Lawmakers have also more recently considered changes to protest laws, cities have grappled with how to represent Iowans and parents continue to have difficult, necessary conversations with their children.

And there have been other small, but important, changes in the day-to-day lives of Iowans. Iowa Public Radio wants to hear from you: what has changed for Iowans in the year since Floyd’s murder? What has changed for you? What else do you want people to know?

Share your story

We're looking for individuals to share their experiences over the last year with the IPR community on air and online. Here's what to do:

1.) Record yourself using a voice memo app on your smart phone. If you don't have a smart phone, you can leave a voicemail at (515) 650-1049‬ along with your contact information.

  • Make sure you're in a quiet area to record — sounds like air conditioning or a refrigerator humming can sometimes be heard on a recording
  • Turn your smart phone on airplane mode or turn off your notifications so phone and app alerts will be muted as you record
  • Make sure that when you're ready to begin recording you can see the numbers running — this is how you know you’re recording
  • Hold your phone up to your ear, like you would on a regular phone call
  • Introduce yourself in the recording. (Ex: I'm Jane Doe in Des Moines. I'm a producer for IPR.)
  • Hit the stop button on your voice memo app and save the file
  • Please try to keep your unedited audio recording under eight minutes
  • When you're ready, send your file(s), along with your name, contact information and other materials (photos/videos) to iowaamplified@iowapublicradio.org. We would love to have a photo of you to accompany your audio recording.

2.) If you're stumped on where to begin, start with one of the prompts below. Being descriptive is a good thing.

  • What is something you want people to know about the last year?
  • Have you attended a protest? Has anything about the protests surprised you? Do you feel that the protests changed anything?
  • Has the way you relate to your community changed?
  • Has the way you talk about the news changed?
  • Did the Chauvin verdicts surprise you?
  • What concerns you most about your community or the country in the coming year?

A producer may reach out to you so that IPR can share your first-person account with our audience as an audio diary. Stories will be edited for time and sound quality. You can send any questions to iowaamplified@iowapublicradio.org.

Thanks to America Amplified and KOSU for project guidance.