Rapid City human relations work is recognized

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 8:28 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - This week, the National Humanities Alliance invited Rapid City’s Human Relations Commission Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors to attend the Alliance Conference in Los Angeles.

Officials couldn’t say exactly why Rapid City was one of the three cities invited, however, also participating is Nogales, Ariz. and Charleston, South Carolina. At the conference they plan to discuss how the HRC/MOA partnership initiates projects, community discussions and other efforts to develop and improve racial relations in the community. The commission wants to try and address public concern and allow people to share their voices in a positive way.

“Bringing people together who would probably not ever be together in the same room is what NOA/HRC and what I’ve personally seen them do very well,” said LaFawn Janis, city Human Relations Commission coordinator.

Some things the group has completed include: community outreach in North Rapid City, a partnership with the police department, a mural done by the children on Anamosa Street, and the recent Knollwood Halloween candy drive.

“We want Rapid City to be a better place together. By coming together to not just listen to complaints, but also to do proactive things in the community to bring people together, to develop relationships and maybe we can see a difference over time” Karen Mortimer, HRC/MOA Member

They group hopes to learn new ways to bridge together cultures.

“Change happens at the speed of trust, and there is a lot of distrust in our community amongst people who are different, so when we can bridge that and take time to develop relationships, we found developing relationships is the key,” Mortimer explained.