Chair of racial justice commission faces calls to step down after leaked audio reveals racial slur

On Thursday, KCRG reported that the recently elected chair of Iowa City's Truth and Reconciliation Commission is facing calls to resign after her appearance on a podcast in which she disparaged other local Black leaders.

"The Iowa City Council has set a meeting for Thursday morning to remove Amel Ali from the commission," reported Adam Carros. "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."

According to the report, the TRC was established by Iowa City officials amid protests over the murder of George Floyd. Its mission is to "bear witness to the truth of racial injustice and carry out restorative justice."

"Porter said she received an anonymous letter containing recordings of a podcast 'Rock Hard Caucus,'" said the report. "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. 'Her choice to speak this way clearly demonstrates that she is not capable of leading us towards reconciliation,' Porter said demanding the City Council remove Ali."

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According to the report, Ali has apologized but rebuffed calls for her to step down, saying, "I cannot walk away and turn my back on the trust, hope and responsibilities entrusted to all of us on this commission," and suggesting the leak was intended to sabotage the commission's work.

Attendees at the meeting were split in defense and condemnation of Ali.