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February 2, 2017 Blog

Plug into your community with DHR's blog.

With this first DHR Speakout entry, we are delighted to introduce a new way to hear balanced, thoughtful ideas about Human Rights in Iowa. 

Iowa is on a path that draws optimism.  World class education, improved family incomes, safe communities, responsive government – these are all indicators of what a great place this is to live.  At the same time, we know that not all Iowans share the same access to the abundant opportunity being a resident of Iowa can offer.  This blog will allow our team at DHR to explore topics with you that are essential to bring these hallmarks of prosperity home to every Iowan.

At DHR, we are able to scale up the impact of state and local programming because we concentrate on bringing it to the people who need it most.  This is what we have always done, but, in this time of financial belt tightening, the need to target the state’s resources to achieve the greatest impact becomes even more critical.  To do this, our offices jointly focus on four areas where we can make the biggest impact in the lives of the people we serve.  These are:

Civic engagement.  Voting, volunteering, being on a board or commission, or running for elected office are some of the best ways to make your voice heard.  We are building capacity for people to become agents of change in their communities.  When we create better understanding of how to impact social and policy issues, we give people what they need to take charge of their own future. 

Language and communication access to government.  Issues of access are compounded when Iowans have language or communication barriers – and those barriers exist across all populations.  People who are Deaf or have hearing loss, people who speak a native language other than English, or even people who have difficulty understanding the process of government experience challenges when trying to connect with state and local agencies. 

Youth leadership.   When we provide youth who might not see themselves as leaders with the opportunity to practice leadership, they can become contributors to a thriving community.  To achieve this, we introduce traditionally under-served youth to leadership, career options and higher education opportunities.

Community connections.  Engaged people are essential to building strong communities, and when the voices of all Iowans are heard, our state becomes a better place for everyone.  When we get right down to it, at the Department of Human Rights, we focus on the fact that we’re all human … and that humanity is more important than anything that might separate us.

Stay tuned to this space for information about what we are doing, ideas we want to share, and ways you can be a part of making Iowa better for all Iowans every day.  We also welcome your thoughts.  Connect with us and let us know what is important to you.

Written by: Monica Stone, Deputy Director, Iowa Department of Human Rights