Our support for community challenges

COVID-19 Racial Injustice

Report date
April 2019
Learning Log

Greetings my Fellow Fellows.

I hope as you read this your struggles are few and your blessings great! My last reflection seemed like yesterday. Lol. This past month has definitely been action filled and I am a little proud of that. During a meeting last month with various justice system players and stakeholders I had discussed the possibility of less discussion and a conscientious effort to begin a more action oriented approach to the work we are doing.
This suggestion isn’t to say that discussion is not meaningful because discussion is necessary and has a purpose but after careful deliberation it feels that we have, seemingly, become a bit complacent and we are satisfied with simply discussing issues. Issues that require us being less subjective and more objective. In my mind, this has inadvertently positioned us to only maintain the status quo. Our minimal efforts as a whole produce the same and become the same old same old. Lol. This means little to no change. I can see that conceptually as a victory in that we haven’t taken a step backwards or lost any gained ground. For me the decision to push forward is integral as well as a real effort to practice and adhere to the integrity of the mission. As a result of this effort I have received two complaints. Neither is formal, authoritative or definitive but surprising none the least.
I got to say this does surprise me. In the work that I have dedicated myself to doing I have had the opportunity in the last few weeks to visit two different magistrate judges, a few law enforcement officials and a prosecutor or two who all, somewhat surprisingly, support the direction I have been allowed to take us in. The two folks who have complained are Native American. While this is not remarkable it is in the context that there are but three of us Native Americans who serve on the twelve member working group.
I guess that I am not ashamed to say that I am looking at the parts I play in my each and every day. This includes the good and especially the not so good.
Questions for those Fellows who may read my reflections - Am I wrong to strive for action oriented solution which coincidently derived directly from the discussion phase? We have been discussing the issues for over a year. Is it astuteness to just maintain discussion?
With that I have reached out to offer more opportunities for discussion regarding discussable subjects with the two individuals. In the spirit of collective cohesiveness I am willing to dedicate a portion of my efforts to discussion.
Maybe a meeting to discuss a meeting where we can continue discussion. Lol –( I know, bad jokes)
Thousand pardons, but I must share an event that was the culmination of a lot of hard work here in the county that I work.
We, through a collaboration, hosted the National Compadres Network out of California. It was a two day event with the first day being solely for justice system department heads and the second day was more for the community with justice system players in attendance as well. The National Compadres Network's focus in their visit was to give a perspective on how to capacity build within the systems that serve specific target populations. Disseminating research that highlights marginalization and traumas that keep the target population in a state of disenfranchisement and how we may work together to undo some of the harms.
After my small portion of the presentation I was approached by the South Dakota state Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative Coordinator and offered the opportunity to attend and participate in the program's mission. Which I readily acknowledged and accepted!
I say all this to say - all of this surprises me. Who would have or could have thought ....
Wopila