Iowa City City Council tables decision to remove chair of Truth and Reconciliation Commission
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa City City Council voted on Thursday to table a decision about whether to remove the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The decision came after an emergency meeting to discuss the issue. Amel Ali as the newly elected chair of Iowa City’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission faces calls for her removal after the leak of a podcast where she disparaged other Black leaders in Iowa City, referring to some as “coons”.
The issue came up during public comment at Tuesday’s Iowa City Council meeting when Johnson County Supervisor Royceann Porter demanded the council remove Amel Ali from the commission. Porter said she received an anonymous letter containing recordings of a podcast “Rock Hard Caucus”. In it, Ali refers to Porter and other community leaders as coons, makes other derogatory comments and describes herself as getting intoxicated before meetings and driving drunk. Porter says the comments came on multiple episodes of the podcast.
Porter served as the TRC chair when it formed in 2020. She later resigned, and is now a part of the Black Voices Project.
Ali later apologized for her comments to the council through video conference. She said her words were in anger and poor taste.
Some of those with the public came out in Ali’s defense, and Ali also spoke during the meeting.
“I think it’s clear I’ve done the brunt of the work since November,” Ali said. “I’ve really tried to foster the relationships between the facilitators and I don’t want to go into the statement I made a few days ago during your Tuesday meeting, because I was taking accountability for what I did. I know what I said was wrong, but my question is, at what point do I stop taking the people who are closest to Royceann advice.”
Ali went on to say Mayor Teague told her to reach out to Royceann, which she did, and said Royceann refused to talk to her.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission will have their own meeting where they’ll discuss this issue Thursday at 7 p.m.
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