Waterloo neighborhood holds candidate forum on issues impacting communities of color

Published: Oct. 17, 2020 at 10:10 PM CDT
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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - People in Waterloo held an event Saturday to address issues impacting the Black community. It was part of the North End 2020 Candidate Forum and with a little more than two weeks until Election Day, people in that neighborhood hoped to hear from those running to represent them in the U.S. Senate.

“So we really wanted to have an opportunity to ask our questions, questions about our neighborhood, pertaining to situations that directly impact us in Waterloo,” Bridget Saffold, co-organizer of the event said.

Several candidates running for office were invited to take part in the forum. That includes Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer, her challenger Ashley Hinson, Senator Joni Ernst, and her challenger Theresa Greenfield. Only Greenfield showed up. The North End 2020 Candidate Forum meant to focus on issues impacting the Black community.

“We hear the terms black and brown, which is a huge array, sometimes we would like to hear specially something that pertains to us as black people,” Saffold said.

In attendance, Damien McMullen of Waterloo. He said he wanted the candidates to hear his concerns about important issues to him like racial disparities in healthcare.

“It’s their loss if they don’t choose to meet us or to do introductions, its fine with me,” McMullen said.

People pressed Greenfield on her stance on things like social justice issues. She said black and brown communities have suffered discrimination for generations.

“That has built the systemic racism we have and I am here today to learn, to listen, and have a conversation with you,” Greenfield said.

Saffold said it’s important her community’s voice is heard during this election cycle.

“I feel like in Iowa a lot of focus is put on rural communities, farms and things like that and not so much specially the African American communities, things that are affecting us,” she said.

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