South Dakota Voices for Peace is proud to announce being a recipient of the Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant of $208,000 for its response to COVID-19 in SD. Four weeks ago SD Voices for Peace led an effort to establish a formidable coalition of individuals and grassroots immigrant and refugee led organizations serving the eastern half of the state. The SD Dream Coalition consists of SD Voices for Peace, Que Pasa Sioux Falls, Mujeres de Fe, Bienvenidos a Brookings, The Naomi Project, Caminando Juntos, Renuevo Church, The African Community Center, Children of Smithfield, and allies.
COVID-19 positive cases have disproportionately impacted communities of color, in particular immigrant and refugee communities. As of May 12, 2020, 70% of positive COVID-19 cases are found in South Dakota communities of color, a state where 85% of the population is white.
Starting when the first public cases of COVID-19 were being reported in the South Dakota, the SD Dream Coalition has become the hub for community information, access to local services, media advocacy, and policy advocacy. The Bush Foundation applauds and supports the collective volume of crucial work the Coalition is doing to fill the gaps and their trusted reputation in SD. The Coalition has translated and made accessible critical multilingual COVID-19 local and national resources, translated instructions for how to apply for reemployment assistance, translated how to file OSHA Complaints, translated local news articles, shared the stories of Smithfield employees impacted by COVID-19 in over two dozen news mediums, fielded nearly 200 calls for assistance in filling local applications for assistance (One Sioux Falls Fund, Coronohelpsf.com, and reemployment assistance), advocated for elected officials to meet with Smithfield employees and advocates, and most notably acted on the challenge of limited federal and state resources for our impacted communities by establishing the “Emergency Relief Fund for Immigrants.”
“In just a month, we have seen how much impact we can make in our communities when we come together. We thank the Bush Foundation for recognizing our work and funding small, grassroots efforts like ours,” emphasized Taneeza Islam, Executive Director of SD Voices for Peace. The $208,000 will be divided 3 ways: $50,000 will be for the Emergency Relief Fund for Immigrants, $80,000 will be to hire staff to administer the Fund for four months, and $78,000 will be divided amongst Coalition members in support and recognition of their necessary work in our South Dakota communities.
Apply and donate online sdimmigrantfund.org
Checks payable to Emergency Relief Fund for Immigrants can be mailed to South Dakota Community Foundation 207 E. Capitol – Box 296, Pierre, SD 57501