She organized immigrant, refugee, Muslim and interfaith communities to go to Pierre to be present and heard during committee testimony. She used social media and local news and newspapers to inform the larger community about these issues and a beautiful intersectional group of people showed up each time to fight against the propaganda to instill fear in South Dakota about Islam, Muslims, immigrants and refugees. After legislative session ended, we started to see a surge in anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee speakers, come to further sow seeds of hate and fear in our communities. These speakers are part of a national circuit of anti-Muslim and anti-refugee/immigrant speakers. From April-December 2017, 24 such speakers and events were held throughout South Dakota, primarily in Rapid City, Aberdeen, and Sioux Falls.
The intersectional group who organically came together in Pierre, continued to meet, continued to grow, and continued to openly resist the imported hate into our state. Through this time our group decided we needed to formally become and entity. There were no other organizations in the state devoted to advocacy against Islamophobia and anti-refugee activities, and no organizations committed to empower the impacted communities to be their own voice and become civically engaged. South Dakota Voices for Peace was incorporated as a nonprofit in South Dakota in October of 2017. Because of the political nature of much of our work, we also incorporated a separate nonprofit in South Dakota devoted to lobbying work – South Dakota Voices for Justice.
Our mission is very specific to fighting this bigotry in our state, providing accurate information on the issues, and empowering communities to act through civic engagement.