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:
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RECEIVES HUMAN/CIVIL RIGHTS AWARD FROM SOUTH DAKOTA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
The South Dakota Education Association (SDEA) presented the Human and Civil Rights award to Taneeza Islam, Executive Director of South Dakota Voices for Peace. The award is given annually to honor an individual or organization for their work in promoting human and civil rights. Taneeza was nominated by Jen Dreiske, Deputy Director of South Dakota Voices for Peace.
INTRODUCING JEN DREISKE
Our Deputy Director
With over 20 years of leadership and teaching experience, Jen is a skilled community collaborator and advocate. She enjoys presenting and leading complex conversations on topics of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, how to become an Upstander by disrupting incidents of bias and hate, finding your purpose, and the Spiritual Tapestry of South Dakota. She is a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory Assessment and the Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory.
Jen graduated from the University Minnesota with Majors in Anthropology and World Religions and a Minor in Jewish Studies, Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She is president of Mt. Zion Congregations synagogue - the Reform Jewish community in Sioux Falls, the project manager for South Dakota Faith in Public Life, and a board member for South Dakotans for Healthy Families.
Jen is a proud mom of Jakob (9) and bonus daughter Sophia (16). Jen's husband, Chris is a Buddhist, so their children are being raised with both traditions or what she refers to as JewBu's. In her free time she enjoys exploring different religious and spiritual traditions, knitting with her sisters, watching Britbox, and spending time in laughter with friends.
Jen has been involved with SDVFP in different ways since the beginning and joined the staff in 2021. Taneeza and Jen have been united in supporting and uplifting the voices of each other's faith communities for many years.
And if you cannot tell by the photo, Jen's favorite color is RAINBOW!
Our Multilingual Outreach Team went to Pierre on March 1st with our community partners - American Cancer Society and LEAD South Dakota for Suits and Sneakers Day. SDVFP staff engaged in conversations with Representatives and Senators about fully funding Medicaid Expansion.
AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PLAN
SDVFP has been regranted for another 12 weeks to continue our work of assisting multilingual community members in signing up for the 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.
In March our team was able to collaborate with Washington High School's school home liaison and talk to families about the program during parent teacher conferences. We also set up shop at the Teddy Bear Den during a parenting class in conjunction with Sanford Children's CHILD Services. Eden, our CHW in Sioux Falls, was able to enroll families at the Teddy Bear Den on the spot and applied the discount to their internet companies. Erica Aguilar, our CHW in Yankton, had the opportunity to present information about ACP and how to help sign people up at the local library in Yankton.
We look forward to more community collaborations as we continue to inform and enroll our community into this federal benefit program!
RAPID RESPONSE South Dakota Coalition Speaks Out Against White Supremacy in South Dakota
This South Dakota coalition embraces the growing diversity of our state and proudly advocates for the equity of all historically marginalized communities in our state - equity of rights, resources, dignity and the ability to live freely without the fear of dehumanization.
In recent weeks, anti-Semitic literature and white supremacy stickers have been found on light poles, street signs and utility boxes around Sioux Falls, SD at Augustana University and the neighborhood near Jefferson High School and various places in the city of Brookings. Additionally, a rise in LGBTQ2S+ assaults have been reported out of Brookings.The media news site Vice.com highlighted the presence of a white supremacist and Neo Nazi agent living in Brookings and his work to misinform and spread hate within our communities through podcasts and the dark web.
We believe that the impact of state politics eviscerating our public education system and creating a culture of silence on topics of diversity and inclusion, will create a comfortable environment for white supremacy to grow in a state where white supremacy group leaders have recently been identified. With the dismantling of the K-12 social studies standards, with introducing rules to teaching on “divisive concepts”, with the eradication of higher education “Diversity Offices,” with the infusion of (radical) Christian ideology framing proposed social studies standards, with the defunding of a Community Health Worker supporting the LGBTQ+ community and dehumanizing the same population through state laws, with disenfranchisement of Native American and multilingual communities’ votes, and with the power of white students in K-12 and higher education institutes to proclaim they do not have to learn about our great nation’s true history, racism and its impact, the foundation needed to grow white supremacy in South Dakota is clear.
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identifies four hate groups in South Dakota. Two statewide white nationalist groups, one of general hate and one neo-Nazi group. The center of all of these ideologies are hate, fear-mongering of the threat of non-white, non-Christian, and LGBTQ2S+ individuals, and a warped sense of losing white superiority with the diversification of our country.
The ultimate goal of white supremacy culture is to continue the systemic oppression that perpetuates and maintains the social, political, historical and/or industrial white domination. In order to dismantle the bigotry and racism that is white supremacy culture, we must unite in message and take concrete actions to protect and advocate for all historically marginalized communities in South Dakota.
We call on public officials and community leaders to speak up and out against white supremacy in all of its forms and report crimes of hate to law enforcement and report incidents of hate to South Dakota Voices for Peace for data tracking
We are here and we are united. #HateHasNoHomeInSD.
“Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor.” Ginetta Sagan (June 1, 1925 – August 25, 2000), Italian American Human Rights Activist.
South Dakota Voices for Peace South Dakota Faith in Public Life Transformation Project Ace Academy South Dakota Urban Indian Health The HUB LEAD - Leaders Engaged and Determined South Dakota African History Museum Juneteenth Sioux Falls South Dakotans Against Racism Nieema Thasing, Chair of the Brookings Human Rights Commission Sioux Falls Pride Sioux Falls Pride Equity Network South Dakota Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Pathways to Inclusive and Equitable Workplaces
JOIN OUR TEAM!
Looking for a job that makes a real difference in your community? South Dakota Voices for Peace (SDVFP) is seeking a Multilingual Speaking Outreach Coordinator to join our team!
As our Outreach Coordinator, you'll have the opportunity to reach out to new U.S. citizens, immigrant, refugee, and undocumented communities throughout the eastern half of the state, providing education and assistance with health equity outreach opportunities.
Collaborating with all teams within SDVFP, you'll play a key role in building bridges between communities from different ethnic, racial, religious, and linguistic backgrounds. To succeed in this position, you must be a dynamic personality, self-motivated, able to travel throughout South Dakota, and passionate about working with diverse communities.
If you're ready to make a positive impact and join a passionate team dedicated to making a difference, apply now for the Multilingual Speaking Outreach Coordinator position with South Dakota Voices for Peace!
*Update: this position has been filled!*
bystander to UPSTANDER Training
Our bystander to UPSTANDER Training has been included in Princeton University's Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) state-by-state directory of de-escalation bystander intervention, and conflict resolution trainings. The BDI is a non-partisan research intitiative that tracks and mitigates political violence in the United States.
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, students, community organizations, business professionals and concerned citizens.
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!
RETHINKING RURAL Reflections on Today, Insights for the Future
Exciting News! Our Executive Director, Taneeza Islam, can now add published author to her many many accomplishments.
Taneeza shares her personal experience as a second-generation immigrant growing up in rural America in the first volume of Rethinking Rural: Reflections on Today, Insights for the Future edited by Matt Ehlman PhD.