Civil and Human Rights Commision Showcases ‘Bridging the Gap’

DES MOINES, Iowa — On Monday, the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission is going to showcase the results from meetings to address key issues in and around the city.

The commission director, Joshua Barr, said they met with over 200 members of the community, Including police, residents, city council and business owners as part one of the Bridging the Gap project.

The showcase is Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Des Moines Central Public Library.

Barr said they have nine concepts they want the public’s feedback on.

One of those concepts is to make the city government more reflective of its residents and add more diversity.

The event is also focused on forming relationships between all city entities, businesses, organizations and residents.

Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said events like this are important especially for reaching people they haven’t been in contact with.

“It’s much more difficult to not be straightforward with somebody you don’t have a relationship with, it’s much more difficult to hurt somebody you don’t have a relationship with and it’s much more difficult to ignore someone who you don’t have a relationship with. So once you’ve got that going on, any kind of interpersonal communication with someone, the problem solving is second nature, because you both decide that’s what you want to do. That’s why we are here and that’s why we are together,” Sgt. Parizek said.

Parizek said a good example of community relationship building is already happening in schools.

“Look at our schools and our school resource officers. It’s probably one of the best examples we have of relationship building efforts. Our neighborhood cops or our school resource cops, they know the people in each organization, they know the people in each school and it’s a lot easier to walk up and say, ‘Hey young man. Can we talk?’ if they know you,” Parizek said.

If you can’t make it on Monday, The Civil and Human Rights Commission will have another showcase in October.