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