DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) —
“Not in our city”: That’s the message from the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission following the recent hateful rhetoric toward the Latino community.
Officials want everyone to know there’s a safe place to go if you feel threatened.
“Not acceptable, not in our city,” Director Joshua Barr said.
Barr said the city’s civil and human rights commission has received quite a few calls in recent weeks following the death of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts.
After it was revealed her accused killer is in the country illegally, the Latino community has been on the receiving end of several hate messages, including a robocall that called for violence against Latinos and graffiti painted on a southside Des Moines street that read “Deport Illegals.”
“On my watch, we won’t allow racism, bigotry, xenophobia and hateful rhetoric to occur here in the city,” Barr said.
The commission this week reminded people on social media that the city stands by anyone who feels threatened by any hate speech.
“We just wanted people to know that in us they have a place and ally in us that they can depend upon, who will work with them to address the issues that are threatening their way of life or their livelihood,” Barr said.
Meanwhile, Iowa officials continue to condemn the robocall and street graffiti, including Gov. Kim Reynolds, who on Friday said, “it’s awful, it’s unacceptable, it’s uncontainable and it’s disgusting.”
And Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie said in a statement that “such actions have no place in our city.”
Tibbetts’s family members said they are continuing to push back against those using her death to call for tougher immigration laws.
Her father wrote an op-ed published in the Des Moines Register that politicians should stop using her death to advance racist views.