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Denver Rose Foote
TW: Trauma, Policing, Alcoholism, Death, Racism
My name is Denver Rose Foote (they/them), I was born and raised in Iowa. My mothers parents immigrated from Mexico leaving their ChiChimeca ties behind. My fathers mother came from the Philippines. One thing my immigrant elders hoped for coming to America was care and comfort. Instead my family was faced with poverty, alcohol and racism. There was no care for them and that is why I am so passionate to fight for my communities and neighbors because I know my history is not singular.
Being one of the few families of color growing up I witnessed the difference my family faced versus other families around us. Our house wasn’t nice, we didn’t have central air and the ceiling was falling in places. The local police department knew my family and would target my father when he drove, stopping him for no reason- just to scare him and my family. I remember a time when I was driving my fathers car and was pulled over- simply because his name was on the title. I grew up only knowing hostility from police officers, and from a young age I have dreamt of an alternate version of public safety.
There are many families across Des Moines that have and are experiencing what I did as a child. This is why I fight for proper community safety that is built on radical care for each other. Access and support of mental health resources is so personally important to me as well. My mother, Dora Foote, struggled with mental illness. Dealing with the trauma of serving our nation and being a woman of color in rural Iowa. Her health was so bad, she lived on disability. Being a veteran, she would wait months to be seen at the Veterans Hospital in Des Moines. She never did get the help she needed and alcoholism took her life in 2014.
I moved to Des Moines hopeful because of the diversity and opportunity. In 2019 I worked heavily with the Bernie Sanders campaign. Going to beauty school full time and volunteering most nights and weekends to the campaign. I was part of round tables with Senator Sanders, interviewed for CNN, and trained volunteers. I would travel and knock doors in rural Iowa, and all over Des Moines. It was through the Bernie Sanders campaign and organizing alongside Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement where I found my strength to be an activist and build power within my community.
After George Floyd was murdered, thousands of people took to the streets, including here in Des Moines. A movement was happening in Des Moines, something unprecedented. I watch folks from all walks of life come together. Grieving for the countless and needless deaths of Black, Indigenous and Brown folks. This moment in history made me realize, I am not alone. Not alone in the targeting of police, of racism and that defunding the police IS the popular idea!
During this time in history, I experienced brutality at the hands of Des Moines police officers. I was beaten down with their batons, blinded from multiple shots of mace. I watched people who were sworn to help their communities use chemical warfare on my community. Instruments of violence that are banned in other countries. Police responded to a community grieving with violence. Rubbing salt in our wounds that were caused by generational trauma and the ongoing effect of seeing police continually killing BIPOC folks. Although the experience I went to affected me deeply, I found power in my story. I knew I had to speak up for those who could not.
Issues in our city and the fight for what we need is multifaceted. The continual fight for liberation is not beautiful, it is hard and tough. We must fight at all angles to resolve the lack in our community services. It is time we take the power back and give it to the people.
I am running for Mayor to build power in our communities and build systems of care, understanding and acceptability of all folks. I am running not just for me, but everyone who has and is experiencing mistreatment as I have. If any of this resonated with you, know you are not alone and together we can create a city we need.
We deserve care. We deserve safety.
Power to the people.