DES MOINES, Iowa — After a racially-targeted mass shooting in Buffalo took the life of 10 Black individuals, Rev. Rob Johnson of Des Moines shared the hurt from this event travels beyond Buffalo, leaving communities of color feeling unsafe everywhere
"It brings pain. Black people have been shot at their churches, at the mall, in movie theaters, like people have been shot in grocery stores, on the street. This right here, sometimes, I just don't understand why these things happen," he said.
"We've seen several racially-motivated crimes over the last few years, and our hate crimes here in Iowa have risen by 60%," said Luana Nelson-Brown, executive director of the Iowa Coalition for Collective Change. "So this is a precursor for what we might expect to see here as well. I think there is a growing divide in our country, one that's already, you know, always existed, but is ever-widening."
Nelson-Brown explained her organization is available to help victims of racially motivated crimes
"We can help you with everything from surviving trauma through surviving the court, and all of the other things that you'll have to do with funeral arrangements the whole nine," she said. "We often work with the Central Iowa Trauma Recovery Center, which is here in Des Moines and they specialize in trauma recovery and have therapists for people of color."
Johnson hopes Iowans start investing in the prevention of racially-motivated attacks as he says they take place in our own backyard
"Let's not forget that right here in Des Moines, Iowa right here in the state of Iowa, we're not immune to this type of mentality. And somebody may be thinking about this, and that is dangerous to us all. And so the question then becomes, we need to make sure that we are prepared in case something like this does happen."