Chiesman Center Awarded Major Grant for Conversation Series

The Chiesman Center for Democracy in Rapid City was awarded $15,000 at the South Dakota Humanities Council  November board meeting to hold “Race, Civility and Community Conversations” in South Dakota, facilitating a summit regarding race, civility/positive dialogue and change in each of the targeted communities of Rapid City, Huron, Sioux Falls and Aberdeen. 

Citizens Meet to Discuss Civic Engagement

In June 2016, nearly 50 citizens from across South Dakota met to discuss civic engagement for all people in all communities. Participants deliberated on what was needed to improve the fundamental aspects of our civic life.

One action that was endorsed by all participants was the need for "mini-summits" in target communities to identify relevant civic engagement issues and community-driven solutions. A key issue brought forth was the need to address civil discourse along with race relations and immigrant engagement in the cities of Rapid City, Huron, Aberdeen and Sioux Falls.

The project advances the South Dakota Humanities Council's mission to promote civil conversation, which will be accomplished by deliberately engaging various populations within our state (e.g. immigrant, minorities and others) through community discussions that focus on creating lasting relationships and continued respectful dialogue.

Another goal of the project is to engage faith-based leaders, minority leaders, elders, political leaders and others in these important discussions.

Chiesman Foundation will hold civic conversations in South Dakota in 2016.

The facilitated discussions will:
• be inclusive of disenfranchised and disengaged citizens and future citizens (engaging community members from all demographics)
• address the need for constructive, deliberative and respectful dialogue
• identify community needs/issues for further analysis and collaboration
• create a mechanism for future conversations and deliberation that will be impactful (e.g. a community committee with a focus on collaboration, diversity and inclusiveness)

Times, dates and locations for the conversations will be announced soon.