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Nov. 5, 2014 - VOL. 50 No. 2

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Community Appeals Capital Drive Schedule

 

Growing diversity means growing opportunities

By Amy Smolik
Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce

Should you shake someone from another culture´s hand when you first meet them? What do you need to know about someone else´s culture in order to accommodate their cultural requirements in the workplace?

 

Questions like these, and others, will become more common in workplaces across the region as the area continues to be more diverse.

Information about Sioux Falls´ growing diversity will be shared at the 7th Annual Diversity Conference, which will be held Nov. 19 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. More than 350 people are expected to attend.

"We live in an economy that is global," said Juan Bonilla, President of the Sioux Falls Diversity Council and a member of the Diversity Conference organizing committee. "We want to open people´s eyes and open doors to all. We are entering a new era of diversity in our community."

The Diversity Conference continues to grow in attendees and in the information shared. This year more than 26 speakers will present at breakout sessions and Maj. Gen. Timothy Reisch, Adjutant General for South Dakota will deliver a keynote address about "Diversity and Inclusion Through the Eyes of a General." Several of the breakout sessions are eligible for Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

 

The all-day conference will be capped off with a 4:30 p.m. ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the Sioux Falls Diversity Council followed by a Leadership Mixer, which is designed to bring business leaders and conference attendees together for networking.

The annual Diversity Conference is organized by the Sioux Falls Diversity Council, which is made up of members of all parts of the community. This year´s Diversity Conference is being chaired by Pam Bollinger, Leading Edge Solutions of South Dakota, and Sue Siemonsma, Independent Living Choices.

The Diversity Conference is just one of the events organized by the Sioux Falls Diversity Council. Educational and cultural programs include the Diversity Conference, Juneteenth celebration, Latin American Festival and Native American Festival. The Sioux Falls Diversity Council was created in an effort to sustain and promote activities that build a safe and respectful community for all people.

The Council recently established a youth component called the SFDC Youth Initiative Committee. The mission is to harness and re-direct the intellectual and athletic capabilities of at-risk youth through education, mentorship, volunteer opportunities and participating in extracurricular activities.

 

Two other organizations also help with the city´s changing diversity and focus heavily on the community´s future – the children.

Lutheran Social Services (LSS) serves thousands of people of all ages, races and faiths. The organization started its Refugee Resettlement program following World War II. This year the Refugee and Immigration Services program changed its name to Center for New Americans, which recently celebrated the name change with a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting.

The Center for New Americans serves families who have faced tremendous hardships and have overcome extreme obstacles. LSS Refugee and Immigration Programs provide a wide range of services for newcomers. Many of the services are specific to refugees, while other services are also available to immigrants. For more information about the differences between a refugee and an immigrant, see the sidebar.

LSS also provides presentations and diversity training throughout the community.

The Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls was formed in 1997 to help meet the needs of the changing community. Today the organization is undergoing a strategic plan to help meet its mission: providing experiences and services for all people to learn, celebrate and share through the community´s cultural diversity. The Center is located downtown in the historic Sioux Falls Coliseum building. It offers more than 19 services, often partnering with other organizations like Southeast Tech for driver´s education or education programs that compliment the Sioux Falls Public School District.

 

Some services include interpretation and translation in about 35 languages, legal aid, youth and adult programs and education. The MCC also offers after school care that helps kids keep up in school, particularly for those students for whom English is a second language.

Clients of the MCC usually hear about opportunities through word-of-mouth. Part of the strategic plan that the MCC Board of Directors is working on also includes how they can better market their services to the general public.

"We want to confirm that what we´re doing is what people want," said Christy Nicolaisen, MCC Executive Director. "Does it fit our mission? Do we have the money? Does it help youth?"

Diversity also played a prominent role in recent community visions like the Sioux Falls Tomorrow 2014 plan funded by the City of Sioux Falls, Forward Sioux Falls, Lincoln County, Minnehaha County, Sioux Empire United Way, Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation and the Sioux Falls School District.

"We had good discussions on areas where movement needs to happen," Nicolaisen said about the Sioux Falls Tomorrow process. "Our community has changed so much that we need to be vigilant in meeting those changing needs."

Nicolaisen believes Sioux Falls is ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities that the city´s growing diversity provides.

"Overall Sioux Falls does a great job of embracing changes," said Nicolaisen. "Sioux Falls understands that diversity is the future; it´s how Sioux Falls is going to survive."

More Information

Diversity Conference Schedule
Immigrants & Refugees
Sioux Falls School District
Race Distribution
Multi-Cultural Center Programs

2014 SIOUX FALLS DIVERSITY CONFERENCE
NOV. 19, 2014
"Empowering Diversity Today for a Better Tomorrow"

Program: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sioux Falls Convention Center
Closing & Leadership Mixer: 4:45-6 p.m.,
Sheraton Sioux Falls Hotel Fontenelle Rooms
$65 per person
(discounts are available for multiple registrants from the same organization)
To register, visit sfdiversitycouncil.org or call (605) 261-8939.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) may be available for some professions; they are notated at sfdiversitycouncil.org.

7:30-8:15 a.m.
Conference Registration & Sponsor/Vendor Check-in

8:15-8:30 a.m.
Honor Guard/Presentation of Colors,
Gordon Weston Lodge, Flandreau, S.D.

8:30-8:45 a.m.
Welcome & Introduction (Ballroom A)
Juan Bonilla, President of Sioux Falls Diversity Council, & Evan Nolte, President/CEO, Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.

8:45-10 a.m.
Keynote Address – "Diversity and Inclusion Through the Eyes of a General"
Introduction by Senior Master Sergeant Michael J. Clauson, South Dakota Air National Guard
Keynote Speaker Major General Timothy A. Reisch, Adjutant General for South Dakota
Reisch will discuss the four dimensions of diversity characteristics identified by the Military Leadership Diversity Commission that should be considered by leaders of all organizations: Demographic Diversity, Cognitive Diversity, Structural Diversity and Global Diversity.

10-10:15 a.m.
Break/Visit Vendor Booths

10:15-11:45 a.m.
Breakout Sessions
"Bullying in the Workplace"
Melinda Olson, Prevention Resource Center/VOA (Meeting Room 3)
"Welcoming Our Transgender Family & Friends – Opening the Door"
Terri Carlson, PFLAG (Meeting Room 6)
"Mental Health Issues in the Workplace"
Dr. Rajesh Singh, Psychiatrist, Sanford Health (Meeting Room 7)
"Did I Really Say That? Unconscious Bias"
Diane Maeschen, Sioux Falls VA Medical Center, and Mark Blackburn, Augustana College (Meeting Room 8)
"Women Empowerment" Panel
Darla Crown & Nilofar Meyer, Active South Dakota National Guard; Dr. Julie Ashworth, Augustana College; Dr. Valerie Hearns, Sanford Health; Paula Johnson, Retired Army Colonel (Meeting Room 9)
"Best Practices in a Diverse Community" Panel
IMPRINT Program – Dr. Daniel Obaka, Sioux Falls Diversity Council; Multi-Cultural Center –Christy Nicolaisen, Executive Director; Lutheran Social Services Home Liaison Refuge & Immigrant Program – Deb Worth, Assistant Director; Disability Issues –Vickie Kirkvliet, Independent Living Choices Assistant Director; Sioux Empire Homeless Coalition – Melanie Bliss, Director; Spanish Immersion Program – Tracy Vik, Principal, Sioux Falls School District (Meeting Room 10)

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
Lunch & Luncheon Speaker
"Immigration 101"
An Overview of the U. S. Immigration System in the Light of Core National, Human Rights and Faith-based Values
Introduction by Rev. Jeanette Clark,
Presenter Rev. John Guttermann (Ballroom A)

12:45-2:15 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
"Bullying in the Workplace"
Melinda Olson, Prevention Resource Center/VOA (Meeting Room 3)
Racial, Ethnic and Religious Profiling of Immigrant Communities
Rev. John Guttermann (Meeting Room 6)
"Mental Health Issues in the Workplace"
Dr. Rajesh Singh, Psychiatrist, Sanford Health (Meeting Room 7)
"Dakota Academy of Performing Arts Plays for Living – Where Does it End?"
Sara Crosby, Facilitator & Founder (Meeting Room 8)
"Youth Perspectives on Diversity and Overcoming Adversity" Panel
Nikko McFadden, John Buay Tut, Alek Bol (South Sudan Youth Association) (Meeting Room 9)
"Native American Culture" Panel
Joe Circle Bear, Teri St. Pierre, George Eagleman, Stephanie Altamirano (Meeting Room 10)

2:15-2:30 p.m.
Break/Visit Vendor Booths

2:30-4 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
"Welcoming our Transgender Family and Friends – Opening the Door"
Terri Carlson, PFLAG (Meeting Room 3)
"Native American Culture" Panel
Joe Circle Bear, Teri St. Pierre, George Eagleman, Stephanie Altamirano (Meeting Room 6)
"Understanding the Crisis in South Sudan" Panel
Dr. Isaac Gang, Miyong Koun, and The Honorable Reath MouchTang (Meeting Room 7)
"Did I Really Say That? Unconscious Bias"
Diane Maeschen, Sioux Falls VA Medical Center, and Mark Blackburn, Augustana College (Meeting Room 8)
"Women Empowerment" Panel
Darla Crown & Nilofar Meyer, Active South Dakota National Guard; Dr. Julie Ashworth, Augustana College; Dr. Valerie Hearns, Sanford Health; Paula Johnson, Retired Army Colonel (Meeting Room 9)
"Accommodations – Sacred Spaces, Safe Places in the Workplace" Panel
Buddhism & Judaism – Jen Wagner, South Dakota Department of Corrections; Christian – Dr. Warren Hoffman, First Baptist Church; Native American Spirituality – Darryl Knight-Schafer, Sanford One Care; Hindu – Chandradhr Dwivedi, SDSU; Muslim – Taneeza Islam, Immigration Attorney (Meeting Room 10)

4-4:15 p.m.
Next Steps –Economic Diversity/Calling Up the Leader in Each of Us!
Presenter: Kim Bartling, Creative Consulting/MESO

4:15-4:30 p.m.
Complete Evaluations, Door Prize Registration and Transition to the Sheraton Fontenelle Rooms

4:30-4:45 p.m.
Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting for the Sioux Falls Diversity Council, Sheraton Fontenelle Rooms

4:45-6 p.m.
Leadership Mixer, Door Prizes
(must be present to win), Hors d´oeuvres, Refreshments & Brief Program:
"Leadership Priorities – Embrace Diversity and Promote Inclusion"
Introduction by Maddie Gutierrez, Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce; Presenters Juan Bonilla, President, Sioux Falls Diversity Council; Evan Nolte, President/CEO, Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce; and Maj. Gen. Timothy A. Reisch, Adjutant General for South Dakota

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IMMIGRANTS & REFUGEES

What is the difference between an immigrant and a refugee?

Immigrant: someone who chooses to leave their home to come to the U.S.

Immigrants may come to the U.S. with temporary visas that allow them to remain for a certain period of time or under certain conditions (such as students or tourists), or they may have permission allowing them to remain indefinitely.

Refugee: someone who flees their home because they are afraid for their personal safety; refugees are unable to return to their homes because of persecution.

Refugees arrive with temporary residency and can apply for legal permanent residency after one year in the U.S.; after five years, legal permanent residents may apply for U.S. citizenship.

An estimated 15 million people from around the world have fled their homes because of religious, political and racial persecution.

Approximately 68,000 refugees came to the U.S. (2012)

35 to 40 percent of refugees resettled in the U.S. are children

About 400 come to Sioux Falls each year

Most refugees come from Bhutan, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo or Somalia

Why South Dakota?

In cooperation with the Department of State, national voluntary organization Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service refers refugees to agencies such as Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota. Here, refugees receive resettlement services designed to make their transition to a new land easier.

Refugees may be assisted by family members, churches, organizations and LSS. In the past few years, refugees have come to South Dakota from Bosnia, Kosovo, the Ukraine, the former Soviet Union, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and other countries.

LSS Refugee and Immigration Programs serve families who have faced tremendous hardships and have overcome extreme obstacles. They hang on to the hope of finding a safe home. LSS strives to provide that second chance in which people can again feel the fullness of life. LSS Refugee and Immigration Programs provide a wide range of services for newcomers. Many of the services are specific to refugees, while other services are also available to immigrants.

Source: Lutheran Social Services Refugee Resettlement Fact Sheet

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SIOUX FALLS SCHOOL DISTRICT

2014-15 Fall enrollment
23,031 students in K-12th Grade
(plus 1,053 in pre-K)
Approximately 2,100 students learning
English for the first time

2014 Enrollment
White population: 68.2%
Ethnic diversity: 31.8%
Black population: 10.4%
Hispanic population: 9%
English Language Learners: 2,102
81 spoken languages (and dialects)

The ethnic diversity of district enrollmment
has grown by 1-2 the last few years.

1991 Enrollment
White population: 94.4%
Black population: 1.5%
Hispanic population: .4%

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RACE DISTRIBUTION

Sioux Falls
One Race 98.2%
White 85.5%
Black 4.6%
American Indian 3.2%
Asian 2.3%
Other 2.5%
2 or More Races 1.8%
Hispanic/Latino Origin (of any race) 4.9%

MSA
One Race 98.5%
White 89.2%
Black 3.6%
American Indian 2.2%
Asian 1.6%
Other 1.9%
2 or More Races 1.8% 1.5%
Hispanic/Latino Origin (of any race) 3.6%

Source: 2012 American Community Survey

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MULTI-CULTURAL CENTER PROGRAMS

Multi-Cultural Center Youth Programs include:
Natives Count: a math-focused after school program for students from five Sioux Falls elementary schools.
Froggy Reads: a new after-school reading program for English Language Learner (ELL) students from five Sioux Falls elementary schools.
Native Youth Club: focuses on Native American traditions and is open to students of all backgrounds. Defense/Karate: classes are offered to children ages 5-17 two times per week.
C.A.R.E. Camp (Cultural Appreciation, Respect and Education): a summer day camp designed for students to experience different cultures.
Ethnic Youth Day: celebrates youth and diversity for middle school youth, especially those new to the country.

Multi-Cultural Center Adult Programs include:
Driver´s Education for Ethnic Communities assists immigrants and refugee in obtaining a driver´s license.
English Classes are offered twice per week to help students increase their conversational and written language skills.
Spanish Classes are offered on a continuous basis with a focus on conversational Spanish.
The Career Closet assists those in need of clothing for interviews or to begin a new job; donations are from the community.
Educational Presentations offers community-wide educational presentations for cultural and diversity training.

Multi-Cultural Center Youth Programs include:
Natives Count: a math-focused after school program for students from five Sioux Falls elementary schools.
Froggy Reads: a new after-school reading program for English Language Learner (ELL) students from five Sioux Falls elementary schools.
Native Youth Club: focuses on Native American traditions and is open to students of all backgrounds.
Defense/Karate: classes are offered to children ages 5-17 two times per week.
C.A.R.E. Camp (Cultural Appreciation, Respect and Education): a summer day camp designed for students to experience different cultures.
Ethnic Youth Day: celebrates youth and diversity for middle school youth, especially those new to the country.

Multi-Cultural Center Adult Programs include:
Driver´s Education for Ethnic Communities assists immigrants and refugee in obtaining a driver´s license.
English Classes are offered twice per week to help students increase their conversational and written language skills.
Spanish Classes are offered on a continuous basis with a focus on conversational Spanish.
The Career Closet assists those in need of clothing for interviews or to begin a new job; donations are from the community.
Educational Presentations offers community-wide educational presentations for cultural and diversity training.

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