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Connecting Humanity One Conversation at a Time

December 9, 2023

“Democracy begins in human conversation. A democratic conversation does not require elaborate rules of procedure or utopian notions of perfect consensus. What it does require is a spirit of mutual respect—people conversing critically with one another in an atmosphere of honesty and shared regard.”
                                                                                            — William Greider, Who Will Tell the People

In July 2020, just weeks after the murder of George Floyd, SDHC launched a weekly conversation program titled Brainstorming: The Human Connection, hosted by SDHC Scholar Lawrence Diggs.

The program, which airs every Thursday from 10:30 – 11:30 am CT, is designed “to unite people during divisive times through genuine conversation.”  The program’s guiding question is, “How can we remove the invisible barriers that lead to misunderstandings and even tragedy?”

To date, 175 episodes of the program have been produced. SDHC staff recently created a podcast for the program titled One Civil Conversation at a Time.

Past program invitees have included administrators, artists, authors, editors, healthcare professionals, librarians, musicians, police officers, professors, scientists, students, and teachers.

Notable topics have included the following:

  • land acknowledgements, land return, and reparations
  • ecological impact of modern agricultural practices
  • access to mental health resources
  • overview of intellectual property rights
  • teacher recruitment and retention in South Dakota
  • factors that influence the construction of new jails and prisons
  • civic education, democracy, and government
  • law enforcement procedures and use of force

Reflecting on the program, one guest observed, “The opportunity to connect with this community of affinity really produced some good synergy across arts, humanities, and humanistic social science disciplines.”

Host Diggs appreciates the impact of the Brainstorming program on both an individual and a community level. “I get a deep and ecstatic satisfaction from people learning even one little thing about themselves or overcoming some block that was keeping them from progress in their lives,” he said. “We play our programs on the prison television channel. I have had inmates stop me in the halls and tell me how much they enjoy the programs. They say it helps them feel more connected to their communities.”

To join the conversation, visit the Weekly Zoom Link. Each episode is also livestreamed on SDHC’s Facebook Page. To view previous episodes, visit SDHC’s YouTube Channel. For more information, visit Brainstorming: The Human Connection or contact SDHC at (605) 688-6113.

Learn more about humanities programming in South Dakota by signing up for SDHC e-Updates!