Message From ACLU Speaker At Thursday’s DMACC ‘We Include’ Series Encourages People To Embrace Open-Mindedness

Pictured: ACLU of Iowa Community Engagement Associate, Damonte Stogner, lead a community discussion for nearly an hour Thursday concerning racial injustice and what individuals can do to prevent it in their own communities.


Last Thursday, the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Carroll Campus hosted Damonte Stogner, a community engagement associate from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa, for a community discussion on the legal and social challenges of racial justice as part of the school’s “We Include” speaker series. The ACLU was founded 100 years ago to protect the individual rights of everybody within the United States, and Stogner says their mission is the same today as it was a century ago.

From its origins defending unconstitutional search and seizure during the 1920s, the ACLU has grown into a nationwide organization that has been involved in some of the most historic U.S. Supreme Court cases, including 1969’s Tinker v. Des Moines concerning students’ right to free speech and Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, which outlawed racial segregation in schools. While there have been great strides made in the last century, Stogner says incidences of injustice are not uncommon. However, he says there are things you can do if you happen to see one.

Stogner adds this can often be difficult, but you can make a significant impact on that individual case. However, he notes this is only treating a symptom of the problem. To bring about true change, Stogner says people need to be open-minded towards individuals who come from different backgrounds.

Full audio from Thursday’s “We Include” presentation from Stogner can be found included with this story on our website.