The Brown & Black Forum was founded in 1984 by Co-Chairs Mary E. Dominguez Campos and Iowa State Representative Wayne Ford. Campos is a prominent and respected member of the Des Moines Latino community.


The non-partisan Iowa Brown & Black Forum had humble beginnings  in 1984 and expanded to include U.S. Presidential candidate forums in 1984. The event has evolved to be inclusive of all Iowans, and serve as a platform for minorities across the country to ensure their voices reach the White House with reverberating effect.  It is recognized as the nation’s oldest minority forum for Presidential candidates.

Over the years, the groundbreaking event has attracted participation from the likes of  Barack Obama. MSNBC, C-SPAN, BET, Mediacom and other national and local news organizations that have covered the event since its inception.

Public policy issues that directly impact minorities, such as economic development, immigration, education, healthcare and bias in the justice system, have created a tradition of civic engagement in Iowa and around the country.

The first of its kind, the Brown and Black Forum has become a vital platform for Presidential candidates to share ideas that might affect minorities for generations to come.