For Immediate Release October 26, 2017
Contact: Taneeza Islam, SDVFP Executive Director 605.782.9560/Taneeza@southdakotavoicesforpeace.org
Samantha Spawn, SDVFP Policy and Communications Director 605.610.8174/Samantha@southdakotavoicesforpeace.org
South Dakota Voices for Peace Thanks History Club of Sioux Falls for Cancelling Islamophobic and Anti-Refugee/Immigrant Speakers
October 26, 2017 The History Club of Sioux Falls has canceled two events scheduled to take place at the historic venue on Phillips Avenue: “Sioux Falls Immigration Question: Follow the $$$ with featured speaker Ron Branstner” scheduled for 10/26, and “Philip Haney & James Simpson” 11/4. All speakers have been identified as spreading misinformation about Islam, Muslims, refugees, immigrants and the refugee resettlement process.
Branstner recently said to an audience in St. Cloud, MN that United Nations sends Muslim refugees to the United States, “to divide and conquer, get rid of our Constitution, get rid of our way of life and implement it with another way of life….Sharia law.” Tonight’s speaker was also in Aberdeen, SD on August 11, 2016 where he gave completely incorrect information about refugees and the refugee resettlement process. He even associated refugee resettlement as “modern day slavery” where nonprofit agencies resettling refugees are making money off of people, a wholly inaccurate premise.
“South Dakota Voices for Peace applauds and thanks the History Club of Sioux Falls for taking a stand against the spread of fear and hate in our community,” said Taneeza Islam, executive director. “Our role is to provide accurate information based on reports, and speaker videos to venues and the community on who these speakers really are and what they are trying to preach. It is up to the community to decide what they will think about the message and if they will allow for a stage for these ideas.”
Since February 2017, SDVP has known about and kept a record of Islamophobic and anti-refugee/immigrant events throughout SD. “Fear is being imported into SD at an alarming rate. Over 22 such events have been identified, and there may be many more,” said policy and communication director Samantha Spawn. “We are looking to our neighbors to help identify these events across our state by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 605.610.8174.”
South Dakota Voices for Peace’s mission is to empower South Dakotans with accurate information to fight Islamophobia and anti-immigrant bigotry in order to nurture informed, inclusive, and civically engaged communities.