Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Shari Thornes

City Clerk
520 3rd Street, Suite 230
Brookings, SD  57006

September 27, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         For more information contact:
                                                                                                                                                Shari Thornes, City Clerk
                                                                                                                                                Phone: (605) 697-8641

The Brookings Human Rights Commission and the Brookings Interfaith Council will host the Community Common Read panel discussion “Religious Pluralism in America: A Day in the Life of Your Neighbor” on Monday, October 23, 2017 at 6:30 pm in the City & County Government Center 3rd Floor Chambers. The panel will consist of community members from various faith traditions who will provide overviews of their faiths and share their experiences in the community. A short question and answer session will follow. Refreshments will be served at 6 pm, with the forum beginning at 6:30 pm.

This panel discussion is one in a series of events in the Campus/Community Common Read program, designed to enhance engagement with the book How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? by Moustafa Bayoumi. In addition to the panel discussion, each week the Brookings Register will publish an article written by one of the panelists. These articles will strengthen community discussion regarding religious diversity by providing a deeper understanding of the panelists’ backgrounds and experiences.

Take advantage of this opportunity to unite with the Brookings and SDSU communities to expand our understanding of and appreciation for religious diversity. For more information, please contact (605) 692-6281 or

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Fall 2017 Interfaith Dialogues, sponsored by the Brookings Interfaith Council.
All gatherings will begin at 6:30pm with a potluck meal and conclude around 8:30pm.

·         Mon, September 11
o   Topic: Religion, Race, and Identity. How do our beliefs and our faith communities shape our sense of self and our view of others?
o   Location: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church [726 6th St.]
·         Mon, October 2
o   Topic: World Habitat Day. What do our faith traditions tell us about charity, service, and advocacy?
o   Location: Brookings Public library [515 3rd Street]
·         Mon, November 13
o   Topic: Collaborating across differences. What can we learn from different faith communities working together?
o   Location: Brookings Public library [515 3rd Street]
·         Mon, December 4
o   Topic: Prayer. What perspectives and practices shape your approach to prayer?
o   Location: Islamic Society of Brookings [724 11th Ave.]

Also join us for Interfaith Prayer and Reflection on the first Friday of every month, 7:00 pm at the Nagy residence, 1936 Orchard Drive. All are encouraged to bring and share prayers, poems, scripture, music, and anything else that moves you. These gatherings are intended to foster spiritually heightened conversations, fellowship, and common cause. For more information, contact Dianne at 605-695-7596.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


The Brookings Interfaith Council and the Brookings Human Rights Commission are collaborating to make Brookings a more welcoming community. Over the past year, Brookings residents have expressed increasing alarm at the welling divisiveness rippling across the country. The Brookings Interfaith Council submitted an application for a micro-grant from South Dakota Faith in Public Life to blanket Brookings and its environs with yard signs that read in Spanish, English, and Arabic, “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.” The plan was to provide around 40 Interfaith Dialogue participants with a sign to display at home and one to give a like-minded neighbor. This would visibly promote inclusivity and propel participants to reach out to their neighbors, build bridges of connection, and open further dialogue.

This plan was shared with members of the Brookings Inclusivity Team, a task force of the Brookings Human Rights Commission seeking to help implement the Brookings City Council’s recent Resolution of Inclusion (a Resolution Reaffirming Brookings Values of Inclusion, Respect, Tolerance, Equality and Justice, and the City’s Commitment toward Action to Reinforce These Values). When the Human Rights Commission learned the application was selected for funding, they generously offered to collaborate on the initiative, thereby tripling the number of signs.
Mayor Keith Corbett stated, “I was so proud when Resolution 17-022 passed. However, I thought, why stop there? Brookings can do more. We need to challenge ourselves to find what more the community can do to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and embrace the mosaic of diverse residents and visitors in Brookings.”
The free yard signs are available to Brookings residents on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of two per household. Signs may be picked-up at the Brookings City & County Government Center, 520 3rd Street, Suite 230. Please remember, signs must be placed in your yard, not on the boulevard or public property.
Brookings Human Rights Commission Chair Steve Bayer exclaimed, “When the City Council unanimously passed the Resolution of Inclusivity, it provided clear direction to the Human Rights Commission that words alone would not be sufficient. We can’t just say we are an inclusive community, we need to be an inclusive community. Our actions must be consistent with our words. In light of the recent racist vandalism incident, the Commission felt compelled to take positive, pro-active action to be sure that the spirit and intent of the Resolution of Inclusivity is visibly demonstrated in our community. The opportunity to partner with the Brookings Interfaith Council on this signage program aligned perfectly with our goals.”
The Brookings Interfaith Council brings together Brookings-area residents from various faith backgrounds for monthly potlucks and discussions on themes spiritual, ethical, and cultural.
The Brookings Human Rights Commission has the power to investigate allegations of discrimination. Other programs include: 
·         The study of the existence, character, causes and extent of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, property rights, education and public services. 
·         Advise and provide a forum for those subjected to unfair and discriminatory practices in the City and County. 
·         Advise City officials concerning issues of discrimination. 
·         Conducting educational programs and disseminating information to further the commission’s policy to eliminate discrimination in the city.
·         As appointed by the Mayor, serve as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) liaison for the City of Brookings.

For more information, please contact:
                                Brookings Interfaith Council, Dianne Nagy, 605.695.7596
                                Brookings Human Rights Commission, Shari Thornes, 605.692.6281

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Resolution of Inclusivity

Members of the Brooking Interfaith Planning Committee worked with the Human Rights Commission to draft the resolution of inclusivity  (see below) which will go before the City Council next Tuesday, Feb 28.   The meeting starts at 6 pm in the City-County Government Building. BIC would greatly appreciate your attending the meeting to show support for the resolution.


A Resolution Reaffirming Brookings Values of Inclusion, Respect, 
Tolerance, Equality and Justice, and the City’s Commitment Toward Action to Reinforce These Values

Whereas, accounts of incidents of hate targeted at Muslim, Sikh, Arab, Jewish, Latino, African-American, Asian, Native-American, female, people with disabilities, immigrant, refugee, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other high risk community members have been reported to police, on social media, and to advocacy organizations across the nation; and 

Whereas, many in our community are hurting and fearful as a result of the rise of a rhetoric of exclusion and vilification; and

Whereas, the City of Brookings draws strength from the diversity of its residents’ age; ethnicity; gender; gender identity; language; nationality; physical, mental, and developmental abilities; race; religion; sexual orientation; skin color; socio-economic status; political ideology; and perspective; and

Whereas, the City of Brookings has a Human Rights Commission whose mission is to improve human relations in the Brookings area by fighting discrimination through education and a complaint resolution procedure; and

Whereas, the City of Brookings supports the elimination of violence and harassment against women and other high risk minorities and is committed to providing direct services, education, culturally competent policing practices, family law, and governance for the prevention of crimes against women and other high risk minorities; and 

Whereas, the City of Brookings supports the peaceful exercise of free speech and assembly for all people,

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved by the City of Brookings that:

Section 1. The City of Brookings will continue to be an inclusive city that treats everyone with dignity and respect, and affirms and celebrates its mosaic of diverse residents and visitors.

Section 2. The City of Brookings reaffirms its commitment to uphold justice, provide equality of opportunity for all, actively encourage all voices to be heard, promote inclusion, and oppose acts of intolerance or discrimination. 

Section 3. The City of Brookings will implement measures to facilitate reporting, tracking, and responding to hate and bias-motivated activities in Brookings.

Passed and approved this 28th day of February 2017.

                                                                                      CITY OF BROOKINGS

                                                                                 Scott Munsterman, Mayor

Shari Thornes, City Clerk

Friday, January 6, 2017

Welcome to a new season of Interfaith Dialogues! Please see below the list of topics for this term. Please feel free to suggest additional topics via email or in one of the dialogues.

All gatherings will begin at 6:30pm with a potluck meal and conclude around 8:30pm.

·         January 12
o   Topic: Moving from “Us vs. Them” to “We;” How to collaborate across difference and work in concert with others who hold fundamentally different beliefs.
o   Location: Brookings Public library [515 3rd Street]

·         February 9
o   Topic: The role of religion in enacting social change.
o   Location: Islamic Society of Brookings [724 11th Ave.]

·         March 16
o   Topic:  “Before the Flood” documentary and discussion on climate change
o   Location: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church [726 6th St.]

·         April 20
o   Topic: Climate Change at Home
o   Location: TBD

·         May 11
o   Topic: Love Thy Neighbor and Human Rights
o   Location: TBD