Refugee & Immigrant Advisory Subcommittee


The Refugee & Immigrant Advisory Subcommittee (RIAS) is a subcommittee of the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission that is comprised of community members that are a part of or work directly with immigrant and refugee communities. The group works directly with those impacted to identify barriers that prevent individuals prospering as Des Moines residents.

Members of RIAS work to improve the following:
  • Secure equal rights and opportunities.
  • Incorporate the refugee/immigrant community into Des Moines.
  • Provide input on the development of a city immigrant and refugee commission.
  • Stimulate interaction between the native born and immigrant residents of Des Moines.
  • Celebrate the culture of refugee and immigrant communities.
  • Educate the public about subjects related to foreign-born persons.
  • Advocate for the civil and human rights of refugee and immigrant persons.
  • Inform the refugee and immigrant communities about the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission.

DSM ReimaginedOne aspect of the Bridging the Gap project are the DSM Reimagined Dialogues. These dialogues, a joint project of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission and the Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Subcommittee, utilized this facilitation guide for conversations with key demographics to assess the viability and access of city resources. This was the first step to a collaborative input process to develop recommendations critical to improving city services.

Over the course of six months throughout 2018, nearly 50 high school students and over 200 residents participated in dialogues to share their experience living in Des Moines, and the factors that prevent them from advancement. The Commission used this information and advice from RIAS to strategize and make recommendations reflected in the Bridging the Gap Recommendations to City Council.