People driving through the Iowa Quad-Cities will see something new in the sky — brightly colored billboards with one purpose: standing up for human rights. The billboards are sponsored by One Human Family QCA, a community-based organization that promotes diversity and inclusion in the Quad-City area and will be in various spots around Davenport and Bettendorf through November 6. The billboards will address four different subjects:

• Voting rights

• Women’s reproductive rights

• Human lives over gun rights

• LGBTQ+ rights

“These are four of the nine issues addressed in our successful ‘Iowa is Better Than This!’ statewide Zoom event that was held last February,” says Rabbi Henry Karp, co-founder of One Human Family QCA. “That event was a lament of what was seen as discriminatory legislation in the state. Following our in-person and virtual gathering, we asked those who took part to submit ideas that would help us identify ways people can become involved to stand up for human rights for everyone, particularly those who are the most marginalized in our society.”

The submissions resulted in the document “9 Ways to Fight Injustice in Iowa!” Ideas ranged from becoming educated on the issues and uniting with others to address issues of injustice to taking action and voting.

“As a way to support those ideas and remind everyone that they have a role in creating justice for all, we decided to launch a billboard campaign,” says the Rev. Richard Hendricks, co-founder of One Human Family QCA and pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad-Cities in Davenport. “Billboards are seen by most everyone, regardless of political affiliation. We felt it was a good way to highlight the need for more compassionate, humane and egalitarian policies for Iowa.”

Billboards may be an “old technology,” but they can be effective, says Karp. “In this age when so much communication is conducted online, with the volume of messages that appear in our computers each day, it is not surprising that an overwhelmed public makes constant use of the ‘delete’ key. Billboards are not easily deleted and are very visible to the general public.”

Both Hendricks and Karp hope the campaign will spark awareness and encourage Iowa Quad-Citians to become informed about these critical issues. “As we approach the November elections, we hope to encourage Iowans to become informed voters before they enter the voting booth,” Karp says. “That means paying close attention to all the discriminatory legislation that was introduced in the Iowa Legislature, most of which was passed and enacted into law over the past two years. Everyone needs to know where candidates stand on these issues. The four issues addressed on the billboards, as well as the others highlighted in our ‘Iowa is Better Than This!’ event will remain a concern until they are appropriately addressed in a manner that is welcoming, inclusive and respectful of all residents of our state.”

Hendricks agrees and says the billboards are a natural extension of One Human Family’s mission. “Our mission is to welcome and protect the life, dignity and human rights of all people in all places in our community,” he says. “Even if these issues might not directly affect you, they impact those you know and love — members of your family, your friends and fellow community members. That is why we are advocating and raising awareness through these billboards. We are committed to repairing these injustices.”

For more information about One Human Family QCA, click here.