South Dakota Humanities Council Announces Brainstorming Program to Discuss Civic Unrest

SDHC Scholar Lawrence Diggs to Host Weekly Meetings

The South Dakota Humanities Council, in cooperation with longtime SDHC scholar Lawrence Diggs, has developed a weekly discussion program to address civic unrest and racial bias in the wake of the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis.

A statewide non-profit whose purpose is to provide humanities programs for South Dakotans and encourage civil conversation, SDHC tapped Diggs, whose work helps build human connections, to host “Brainstorming: The Human Connection.” Free and open to anybody who has a Zoom account (including people in other states or even other countries), the program will unite strangers for a basic brainstorming session to help facilitate discussions about civic concerns.  

“We can provide a humanities-based exchange to the public,” said SDHC executive director Ann Volin. “This program aims to help heal communities and facilitate meaningful conversations in light of the current nationwide circumstances.” 

Diggs will introduce and connect people to help avoid tragic misunderstandings like the one that occurred in Minneapolis, Minn., when George Floyd died after police kneeled on his back and neck. (Read SDHC’s official statement on that situation here). 

First Session Held Thursday, July 23, 10:30 a.m.

Diggs says solving these societal problems begins with teaching people how to relate to each other. Through SDHC’s Speakers Bureau, Diggs leads discussion programs such as “Erasing Imaginary Lines” and “Connecting Communities.” During “Brainstorming” sessions, he’ll teach participants methods for breaking down barriers driven by their feelings.

“Humans are feeling beings that think, not thinking beings that feel,” he said. “The motivation we feel to connect with others comes more from what we feel about them than what we think about them.”

Each weekly session will be focused on a particular topic. Participants will also brainstorm ideas for facilitating civil conversations in their communities.

Sessions will be held on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. CDT, beginning July 23.

Brainstorming: The Human Connection Meeting Thursday, July 23, 10:30 a.m.

Sign up at 

Topic: How do we discuss excessive force by police and civic responsibility for it in schools?

  • Is this subject one that should/could be covered in schools? 
  • What resources are there? (printed, movies, speakers, police, victims, community leaders)
  • What history is there?
  • How do we make space for respectful discussion that takes in all views?
  • Defining terms, “Are we speaking the same language?”

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