University of Iowa social work professor honored for community advocacy


In fall 2014, Sandra McGee was at her Des Moines church when she found herself asking African American teenagers what they thought about the spate of killings of black males by law enforcement across the United States.

“They said that they literally expected to be killed by the police,” McGee recalls. “They had this huge fear.”

McGee, a Des Moines native, social worker, and community advocate, decided to do something about it. She organized forums addressing the relationship between local and federal law enforcement and the African American community in Des Moines. The Enhancing Relationships forums brought together constituencies that hadn’t talked regularly—and are widely credited with creating more understanding and trust between the groups.

It’s also the main reason why…

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