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Statement: Breasia Terrell's death underscores the need for state funding appropriations of homicide

This last week has been a difficult one. After nine terrible months of uncertainty, the Davenport Police Department confirmed that 10-year-old Breasia Terrell’s remains have been found. All of this has unfolded against the backdrop of Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd. Both these events have left Black Iowans collectively revictimized and traumatized. This is especially true for members of Breasia’s family and her extended family, who were present during vigils held last Friday across the state.

We’d like to take a moment to uplift the work that the Iowa Coalition for Collective Change has done to educate legislators on the value of funding for families of homicide and other violent crimes. They have worked tirelessly throughout the legislative session to emphasize the importance of a $2.5 million budget appropriation that could help families like Breasia’s following these kinds of tragic and violent events.

The state of Iowa currently appropriates zero dollars to support services for families of homicide and violent crimes. According to the Iowa Coalition for Collective Change, the Black community in our state has had to invest in providing these services and many hours of labor on a voluntary basis to the families of Breasia Terrell, Abdi Shariff, Michael Williams, Emmanuel Martin Nyariel, Majok Martin Nyariel, and Zacharia Warsame—and countless others who never made the news.

As it’s plain to see, this $2.5 million appropriation is sorely needed. These families deserve the same level of support that sexual assault and domestic violence survivors have received from the state for decades. Iowa has a responsibility to contribute to the work already being done by the community, for the community. In light of recent events, an unwillingness by lawmakers to provide necessary funding to families of homicide and victims of crime is nothing short of negligence.


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