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Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission Officially Honored with Governor’s Award Emmy


The Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission was officially acknowledged as the recipient of the Governor’s Emmy Award at 2020 National Academy of Television, Art, and Sciences Upper Midwest Chapter Emmy Awards for their documentary Breaking Bread, Building Bridges. This year, due to the Coronavirus, the event was held virtually via YouTube.

During the 2020 Emmy Awards presentation, South Dakota Regional Vice President Kevin King stated that the Governor’s Emmy Award is the highest honor among the Emmy awards because “it is the only regional Emmy world voted on and approved by our Board of Governors.” The board of governors represents every state in the Upper Midwest region, virtually every broadcast market and media platform. The Commission was honored with the Emmy because of their efforts to find ”ways to help its community connect and breakthrough differences that prevent people from sitting down and discussing differences at the table” according to Mr. King.

Joshua V. Barr, director of the Commission and creator of the project, accepted the Governor’s Emmy Award on behalf of the Commission. According to Director Barr, when the project was originally conceived, they did not do it for the award, and they did not have a budget but rather they did it to demonstrate “that people could come together despite their differences and find some commonality.”

The Breaking Bread, Building Bread project started in 2017 when more than 150 people signed up to participate in the project. Eventually, 34 people were selected as finalists. Participants were matched with an individual with a unique difference and had five different dinners together that took place in five different settings over the course of a few months from 2017 to 2018. ​​​​Filmed by Digital Matters, the documentary debuted on YouTube and Facebook on April 30, 2020.

Director Barr states that he hopes people watch the film to see how the Commission brought people together to demonstrate that as a community we are bigger than our differences. The acceptance speech can be watched on the Midwest Emmys YouTube page. The Breaking Bread, Building Bridges documentary can be viewed online via YouTube (bit.ly/BBBBdocumentary) and Facebook (bit.ly/BBBBfb).

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