South Dakota Voices for Peace
Mission: South Dakota Voices for Peace builds power and enables healing in immigrant refugee, and Muslim communities by amplifying their voices in solidarity with all who dismantle bigotry and racism.
Vision: We imagine a South Dakota that is diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist.
SDVFP has four programming areas: Education/Training, Outreach/Civic Engagement, Legal Services, and Rapid Response.
Here are some of our exciting areas of impact:
LEGAL ADVOCACY IN THE COMMUNITY
Our legal team - Taneeza, Jon and our extern from USD Law School went back to meet with members of the Ukrainian community whose legal status in the United States will be expiring the first of April . We were able to secure a list of immigration lawyers from the Twin Cities and organizations who work on asylum and TPS to distribute to community members. As of today, the US government has no programs to extend lawful status to Ukrainians currently in the United States, whose status will expire in the next month.
MAPPING THE PATHWAYS TO CITIZENSHIP
"U VISA" APPLICATIONS
Victims of qualified crimes who have immigration legal needs have a special pathway to citizenship called the "U Visa."
To be eligible for a U Visa you have to prove that you:
Part of the U Visa application involves receiving a Law Enforcement Certification where the law enforcement agency (prosecutor's office, police department, judge) attests to the victim being helpful in the investigation and committing to being helpful in the future, if needed. Oftentimes, law enforcement agencies are unaware of this process and their role, or misunderstand the process or their role. Taneeza Islam and Jon Chapman recently met with the Minnehaha State's Attorney's Office and the Sioux Falls Police Department to have this conversation. We will work to continue to be an advocate for U Visa clients so that law enforcement agencies across the state can provide crime victims the opportunity to become U.S. Citizens.
INTRODUCING JOHN CHAPMAN,
Our Staff Attorney
After moving to South Dakota in 2013, Jon has worked on a variety of campaigns and petition drives, while also working to expand voting rights and advance equality at the ballot box in Indian Country. He went on to earn his J.D. from the University of South Dakota in 2020. His first job out of law school was with East River Legal Services, where he helped lower-income clients with family law and housing cases. Currently, he is one of less than a dozen immigration attorneys in South Dakota, and takes pride in helping clients navigate the complex area of immigration law. He lives in Sioux Falls with his wife, two daughters, two corgis and a chiweenie.
"South Dakota Voices for Peace is a great place to work because it’s a truly collaborative environment where you really get to know everybody that you work with. It’s a huge privilege to be a part of the only organization in the state that provides free legal immigration services to unaccompanied minors and victims of violence who are simply in search of a better life in this country."
On February 21, 2023, Taneeza and Eden visited Erica, SDVFP's newest community health worker, at her office in Yankton! They were greeted with a full schedule of meetings coordinated in collaboration with the organization Connecting Cultures. Taneeza and Eden were able to meet with staff and volunteers from Connecting Cultures, Yankton Thrive, Horizons Health Care, Yankton Medical Clinic and River City Domestic Violence Center. Everyone at the table are dedicated to assisting multilingual community members in Yankton. There were lots of discussions about what multilingual access to community services looks like currently, barriers they have noticed, and brainstormed solutions. Taneeza was able to talk about SDVFP and provide education about the complexities of our immigration system.
Both Taneeza and Eden were given a better view of what makes Yankton unique and all the hard work Connecting Cultures, Yankton Thrive, and other organizations are doing to be accessible and supportive to their neighbors no matter where they are coming from. Creating opportunities like these is one of the many ways our Community Health Workers, Eden and Erica, have helped develop resources for our clients and community members.
AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PLAN
Affordable Connectivity Program, commonly referred to as ACP, is a federal benefit that offers a $30 discount ($75 if a household lives on tribal land) on a household's monthly internet bill.
A household is eligible to receive this benefit if their income is at 200% or below the FPL or if they (or their dependents) are current recipients of: Medicaid, SNAP, WIC, Free and Reduced Lunch, and more! Check out affordableconnectivity.gov for more information about eligibility.
Follow this link for our office hours.
The SDVFP Outreach Team was invited to be part of a panel discussion at the 9th Annual Cultural Respect in Health Care Forum at USD in Vermillion. They shared how our clients and the immigrant/refugee population at-large navigate the healthcare system in the United States. We also had the opportunity to talk about the impact of Medicaid Unwinding and the successes of Medicaid expansion. We are thankful for opportunities like this to connect the community to our work on Medicaid Expansion and other policy initiatives that build a more equitable South Dakota.
Our Deputy Director, Jen Dreiske, particpated in a panel discussion on Addressing Unconcious Bias for the Embe's Women's Leadership Program. Jen was joined by Matt Neufeld, Dawn Marie Johnson and Ngoc Thach. The complex questions and conversation in this safe and vulnerable space allowed for honest sharing and even some laughter.
We need to have more of these conversations within our work places, houses of worship and families. Please contact Jen Dreiske to schedule a time to discuss how SDVFP can help your spaces have these conversations. email@example.com
COHORT OF COURAGE: YOUTH ADVOCATES
We are now taking applications for our 2023 Cohort of Courage: Youth Advocates! Cohort of Courage is one of South Dakota Voices for Peace's initiatives in fighting bigotry and racism in our communities. Hearing directly from social justice leaders and experts, participants will develop their social justice leadership skills and learn how to take an idea and put it into action. Cohort of Courage: Youth Advocates is open to BIPOC youth, ages 16-24! The deadline to apply is April 30th. Apply Today!
Do you know a youth who is passionate about social justice? Please share with them today!
bystander to UPSTANDER Training
Our bystander to UPSTANDER Intervention training is a 60-minute introduction to responding in safe and impactful ways to acts of discrimination, hate, and bigotry, whether in the workplace, a public space, or at home. Participants learn how to safely disrupt these situations and bring the target of the incident back into belonging.
We provide these training sessions to educators, community organizations, business professionals and concerned citizens.
To learn more or schedule a training, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!
STAY WARM WITH COOL SWAG!
Our online store is open! You can either pick up your purchases here at our offices or choose to have them mailed to you!
Support Our Work!
Copyright © 2023 South Dakota Voices for Peace, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
South Dakota Voices for Peace
P.O. Box 600
Sioux Falls, SD 57101