Sioux Empire Podcast

The Sioux Empire Podcast

The Sioux Empire Podcast is the “quirky but harmless” podcast that’s all about northern plains: News, Comedy, Music, and Culture.



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Dedication of the Nordby Exhibit Hall in Huron

HURON, S.D.- The Nordby Exhibit Hall for 4-H, Youth and Community will be dedicated during a ceremony Sunday, Sept. 4, at 4 p.m. during the 2016 South Dakota State Fair.
During this year’s state fair, taking place Sept. 1-5, 4-H display exhibits will be located in the new exhibit hall, along with many of the public speaking activities. The 4-H staff headquarters for the week will be located in the building as well.
The South Dakota State Fair Foundation welcomes fairgoers to take a look at the new building and visit the information table in the lobby. To date, nearly 1,000 donors have teamed up to raise more than $4.37 million of the building’s $4.7 million goal. Opportunities to donate are still available. Any donation of $1,000 toward the capital campaign is recognized with an engraved Sioux quartzite paver brick located permanently in the new exhibit hall. Gifts can be made over a three-year period and gifts of any size are welcome as they contribute to reaching the capital campaign goal. Those interested in supporting the capital campaign are invited to contact the State Fair Foundation at 605.553.4251 or visit
The exhibit hall’s construction began the summer of 2015. The 48,000 square-foot structure features more than 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, multiple classrooms and a large kitchen/concessions area. The facility will be utilized year-round for 4-H events such as learning activities, meetings and competitions. In addition, community and regional events will take place in this building year-round. The facility will host conventions, trade shows, receptions and other gatherings throughout the year, bringing in thousands in-state and out-of-state visitors in addition to the many attendees the week of the state fair.
Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s mission is to promote, protect, preserve and improve this industry for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

SEP043- Wet Pineapples with Paul Schipper

So Robert Mehling and The Sioux Empire Podcast morning zoo crew (Emily Gheorghiu, Seth Glover, and Natasha Estes) really tired to stay on target, we really did.  You can listen and figure how that turned out… This week our guests included Paul Schipper, candidate for South Dakota state house district eleven (For millennials, that’s the wheat district Rue was from).  Briggs Warren, contributor and state/local politics gad fly.  And Dylan Workman, member of the Paul Schipper campaign and international man of mystery.  We did get to talk to Paul Schipper about his stands on various issues.  We also spent an inordinate amount of time talking about the difference between dry and wet pineapple.  I’ve included links in the show notes to the stories we didn’t cover but might have made references to.  Stories we did actually cover somewhat include a Sioux Falls teen whose app was featured on Rush Limbaugh, Jackboots Jackley’s Wacky Weed Witch Hunt, Sherman park archway destruction, eating rattlesnake, and yes Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton get mentioned.  The Sioux Empire Podcast would like to reassure listeners that we did eventually shut off the sprinklers so that Briggs Warren could go home.

Paul Schipper

Dylan Workman’s Go Fund Me

13 year old Sioux Falls App Developer

Jackboots Jackley’s Wacky Weed Witch Hunt

Secretary of State kills a rattlesnake

No wedding for you!

Iron Chef Sioux Falls

Trump and Hillary Clips

Pit bull ban Sioux City

Parental Advisory

The District: One Family’s Washington DC Adventure

Did you know that when they wrote “all men are created equal” that they meant rich white men?

No women. No blacks. No poor.

“But why, Mama?” she says, scowling.

The driving force, or shall I say forces, behind the trip itinerary were an almost-8-year-old world traveler and a 10-year old who hadn’t been beyond home farther than his mother could drive in a day.

These two brought a new perspective to the most Powerful City in the World.

Washington DC - pixabay

Washington DC – pixabay

The first, and almost best, part is that we only saw the essentials at the Smithsonian. Free to all who enter, there is no monetary pressure to spend hours reading what the 2004 intern wrote about some obscure species of fish or even more forgotten forefather (who was likely a slave owner and a big fan of patriarchy).

Dinosaurs, gemstones, and mummies were ogled at the Natural History Museum, although as much time was spent eating chicken fingers at the café downstairs. We poked our heads between other looky-loos at the US Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. The rockets and other space travel stuff had more appeal, especially the eternal question of “Where do they poop?” I did mandate a quick sigh-filled stroll through the Landsat room (shout out to EROS friends!).

Smithsonian Building - wikipedia

Smithsonian Building – wikipedia

We did not bother to tour the White House, the Capitol, nor the Washington Monument – although we walked by and took selfies – we’re not heathens.

The DC metro also boasts free fossilized shark teeth – who knew? All you need is a car and $6 to get into a little Maryland State Park on the Chesapeake. I don’t know why the teeth are there, and I didn’t even bother to Google it, since I’m quite sure they don’t know either. The water was murky and warm and filled with crabs, and I tried to block out everything I know about the levels of pollutants in the Bay.

We had to go all the way to the coast of Delaware to get an epic beat down from the Atlantic. Don’t ever turn your back on the Ocean – that is legit advice from a surfing instructor that I definitely forgot to remember. I’m still digging sand out of my bikini bottoms. No shark teeth at that beach, but a wide-open view to the west coast of Portugal, although the water would travel up and near the Arctic Circle and back south before ever getting to Europe. The water was salty and cold and dolphin-filled.

Big-named sports events typically require far too much cash to attend, but thanks to the InterWeb, we got great seats and had $40 of free food to boot. Go Nats! (Although why they chose the “W” from Walgreen’s as their logo remains a mystery.)My daughter randomly interjected – “Posey! Posey! Posey!” Luckily, there were loads of other Giants fans.

US Capitol Steps - wikipedia

US Capitol Steps – wikipedia

For me, though, I valued hearing Italian spoken on the steps of the Capitol, the kids playing with a pig-tailed Asian girl (even though they don’t share a word of spoken language), and the surprised expression when the 8-year-old realizes that we’re the only white people on the train.

These are the wondrous images of America that I want to impress upon these young brains.

Hopefully, they will never be the same.

SEP042- Bruce Danielson fights City Hall and the return of Christopher Lee Hamilton

This show was HUGE (In my best Trump, which is to say nothing like him).  The Sioux Empire Podcast crew of Robert Mehling, Seth Glover, Natasha Estes, and Emily Alexander are joined by three other people.  Needless to say our normal studio would not do so we moved to a larger venue.  We were joined by Bruce Danielson who came on board to talk not just politics in general but he’s also here to mention his petition drive to stop sales tax revenue bonds from being sold to fund the city administration building that Sioux Falls mayor Mike Huether used the first veto of his career as mayor to secure.  We’re also very happy to have back on the show returning musical guest and friend of the show Christopher Lee Hamilton and he brought awesome singer Ellen Ackerman DeNeui with him.  They played four great songs in studio for us.  We talk a lot of politics (local and national), history, millennials, Social Media, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Pokémon, Low voter turn out, the power of showing up, South Dacola, Music, Vaping, The Chrisellen Experience, fake Asian internet babies, and Stranger Things.  The Sioux Empire Podcast is happy to accept your nomination for dogcatcher.

Bruce Danielson’s Contact Info:


PO Box 1954

Sioux Falls, SD 57101

Office / FAX: (605) 334-9511

Cell: (605) 376-8087


Check out Bruce Danielson’s videos at

Learn more about Christopher Lee Hamilton and Ellen Ackerman DeNeui

Parental Advisory


Stories That Matter Fundraiser Coming in September

Stories That Matter is a new and exciting fundraising collaboration between The Blot Collective, The Guiding Hand Foundation, and Survivors Joining For Hope.

It will stage six true stories, each written and performed based on the personal journeys of those affected by the latter two non-profits.

‘The Guiding Hands Foundation’ exists to provide relief to patients and families currently in active cancer treatment. These are stories of fear and pain, but also of survival, hope, transcendence, and inspiration.

‘Survivors Joining for Hope’ strives to lessen the hardship exerienced by individuals and familles who have been affected by suicide. These stories will move you, and make you delve deep into your emotional consciousness, provoking questions that will provide a light in times of darkness.

Each unique segment will be written by local writers, and performed by local actors. It is a great chance to witness the talent within our community, whilst also gaining awareness on these important issues.

There will be music created by the poet and performer Lawrence Diggs.

Tickets are $15, and are available via Eventbrite. $20 cash on the door. All of the money will go towards paying the performers and funding each non-profit.

There will be beer and wine on sale at The Bakery.

Link to Facebook Event

Party Like It’s 1945

Thursday night started off as just another standard work day. I arrived, set up shop at the YMCA and went through my normal routine. During a break I received a critic message from my beloved which read more or less: “I’m bringing you a change of clothes. We are going on an adventure!” Now if any of you know me, I am a sucker for any adventure that shakes up the mundane, and gives me a good story to tell. For the next 4 hours of my shift I wracked my brain trying to deduce what would be remotely fun on a hot, humid night at 10 pm when I would be done working. Try as I might, I could not image anything, and began, to some extent, dread the impending adventure. As my shift end slowly approached, around the corner my human comes, “shit-eating-grin” on his face, waving something at me in his hand. He excitedly reveals one of my “Betty Page-esk” dresses and two tickets to the CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance. Excitement level ORANGE! I couldn’t get done my shift fast enough.

CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance Tickets – K Moriah Slade –

CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance Tickets – K Moriah Slade –

Now for a little background before I go on. I have always had a passionate affinity for the military, especially the Air Force. Many members of my family have and do serve, and during my college years I attended AFROTC(Air Force Reserved Officer Training Corp) until I was medically released due to reconstructive back surgery that left me disqualified to serve. While the chance to wear a uniform was no longer there, I have always maintained a strong support for our service men and women, and love, Love, LOVE to participate in events that are hosted on base. The CAF (Commemorative Air Force) was founded in 1957 by a service pilot by the name of Lloyd Nolen and a group of service pilots from Texas. They started with a single P-51 Mustang (Pictured below) and the simple desire to maintain and preserve the craft. It quickly became evident that what they had started was so much more, and on September 6th, 1961 the CAF was formed. Dedicated to the preservation of history, the mission was to collect, preserve, and restore if necessary, an example of every type of war-bird that flew in World War II.


CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance P-51 Mustang – K Moriah Slade –

As the organization grew, squadrons across the US formed with the same supporting mission to educate, preserve and fly these amazing war-birds. In 2013, the Joe Foss Squadron of the CAF was established and assigned a 1944 Stinson L-5B Sentinel. This aircraft originally left the US in early 1945 where is was assigned to the 71st Infantry Division. After its return, it became a part of the New York Civil Air Patrol until finding its home with the CAF Joe Foss Squadron. As a way to raise fund to help them maintain their bird, which costs roughly $12,000 a year to maintain, they have thrown the CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance. If that isn’t a mouthful! And now we come to the 2016 dance, and all of my excitement. The theme, as always, is Party Like its 1945, and guests are strongly encouraged to dress the part, though its not required. It was hosted at the Maverick Air Center on the west side of the Sioux Falls Regional Airport with the dance starting at 7 with music, snacks and beverages till 11pm. The event was sponsored by several local businesses (listed below) and hosted a 13 piece swing band (Gale Pifer Orchestra), free swing dance lessons, and majestic war-birds on display.

CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance Gale Pifer Orchestra - K Moriah Slade –

CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance Gale Pifer Orchestra – K Moriah Slade –

Birds in attendance were the B-17 Flying Fortress Sentimental Journey and the planes of Joe Foss including a Wildcat, Corsair and Mustang, as well as a visiting B-25, TBM Avenger, T-6, L-5 and Japanese Zero. When we arrived around 10 pm, the band was still in full swing (pun intended) and about 50 people were mingling, dancing and admiring the planes they had displayed both inside and outside the hangar. It may sound strange to the less enthusiastic, but the workmanship of many of the older plans are absolutely beautiful. From the ladies painted on the side, to the precise riveting on the panels, it amazes me what the innovative mind of a human can accomplish.

CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance B-17G Flying Fortress – K Moriah Slade –

And what is more, 70 years ago these magnificent bird were made, and are as majestic today as they were when they were first commissioned. Whether you are a history fan or not, its worth at look at these amazing pieces of history, and support a cause. I have attended every Air Show since I moved to South Dakota, and had not heard of the CAF or the dance event till the night my person surprised me with tickets. It was well worth the sweltering heat, to get up close to the planes on display, and meet some of the members behind the organization. You can follow the CAF Joe Foss Squadron on Facebook for more events, plane rides, and general education. And don’t forget to get out to the Air Show today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday) from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

CAF Objectives
 1. To acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States and selected aircraft of other nations for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans.

2. To provide museum buildings for the permanent protection and display of these aircraft as a tribute to the thousands of men and women who built, serviced and flew them.

3. To perpetuate in the memory and in the hearts of all Americans the spirit in which these great planes were flown in the defense of our nation.

4. To establish an organization having the dedication, enthusiasm and esprit de corps necessary to operate, maintain and preserve these aircraft as symbols of our American military aviation heritage.


Vern Eide
Showplace Kitchens
Maverick Air Center
10th Street AutoWash
Look’s Market
Handy Man
Beal Distributing, INC.


NAI Sioux Falls – Craig Hagen
Sands Drywall
Fernson Brewing Company
Scott Lawrence – Lawrence & Schiller

Resources & Links

Kelo September 29, 2015 Article 
Kelo July 21, 2016 Article 
Commemorative Air Force 
Gale Pifer Orchestra 
CAF Joe Foss Squadron 
Sioux Falls Air Show 

Education and Worth

I want to tell you a story. This is a story about a woman who, through circumstances beyond her control, was born into a life without the predisposition for success. Parental figures, and individuals society tells us are our guardians and guides only provided her with flawed life experiences, and in some cases put her and her siblings into situations no adjusted adult would ever consider exposing a child too. Image yourself as a child, in this case a young girl, abandoned by her mother before 10, left alone to fend for herself in a world riddled with drugs, danger, and no example or what is right or wrong, other than the intuition and emotion that told her, something just wasn’t quite right. Life really shouldn’t be this hard, she would think, but at the end of the day it was. And at the end of every day she learned a little more how to survive, to fight, to stand strong, but never really how to live. There was no guardian angel to swoop down and show her how to live well, love purely, or even how to grow and become an adult. Her future was left to chance, and yet, out from the ashes, but that is getting ahead of myself.

For a brief moment, let’s step into another point of view of this young girl. As a teacher, you see her walk into your classroom, and you can already feel the dread knowing “This one is going to be trouble”. She comes in far too confident for her own good, speaks her mind…LOUDLY…and doesn’t back down, even when you know, as the mature, well adjusted adult, that she is wrong. Every day is a battle, and even though  the teachers face may change, 99 to 100 that next face will feel the same dread, and respond with righteous indignation at her outbursts, without a shred of sympathy for this angry, hot headed girl. Did you know, just last night this girl slept on the street? Did you know her mother was gone, and father was nowhere to be found? Could you have possibly guessed that her home was locked, so she couldn’t get to her homework, or find a quiet place to study for the test she just failed? You may say, why didn’t she ask for help, or make an effort to find a solution? And here is the fatal flaw in our society, but most importantly, and the actual focus of this article, the flaw in our education system.

This girl has been “educated” from day one by the example of those around her. Society tells her adults know best, and that her young age and inexperience gives her no voice. Regardless of what her soul tells her, she changes her thinking, she finds ways to “blend in” with the societal norms. She attends school, goes to class, or maybe she doesn’t. She has the heart of a child, living the life of an adult, with the expectation of her “knowing her place” and following suit on what society says is good and acceptable. She knows she has to escape this life, and society says “Education is the key”. Well, maybe they don’t say it out loud, but it is implied. Without even realizing it, the ‘less’ educated are looked down upon, treated with less respect, and often overlooked when it comes to their wisdom, abilities, and skills they have to offer. Don’t get me wrong, in many cases, this is not an intentional outcome, but think about this. As a child you grow up hearing your parents encourage and push you to get a great education, get into college, graduate, and find a great job so you can ‘be successful’. At first glance, who in their right mind would ever think that was a BAD thing? But on the flip side, this is what we are saying…If you don’t get into college, graduate, and find a great job, you are not successful. But we don’t think of it that way, we only want the best for our children, and family, so why not encourage what society tells us is the best. But go back to this girl for a moment and we will fast forward. As a junior in high-school she gets pregnant, and through it all, finishes high-school, as a single mother with no familial support. She successfully attends school and receives a certificate in a healthcare field. Juggling 3 jobs and a toddler/elementary child, she again, pursues higher education with the “promise” of a better life if she makes it through school and gets a better job and has better opportunities. But alas, life strikes again, as it often does, and less than 2 semesters from achieving her bachelor’s degree, she has to choose between caring for herself and her child, or continuing her education, and so as any amazing mother would do, she chose her child. For 7 years, she grows in her profession and finds herself in a job that, while useful and thankfully sufficient, does not reflect the woman that she is, or the dreams she has for her future. She wants more, and who would blame her. America is a land of dreamers, where anything is supposed to be possible, and people can be self expressive and valued for it. But after 30 years of hardship, hope, and a trust in a system pushed on us from all around, we finally see the flaw. What we have been brainwashed into believing all our lives, intentionally and unintentionally is found to be a lie. For years we truly believed that just working hard, persevering and never giving up would get us to where we needed to be. We thought tenacity, relentless pursuit of our dreams, education, and dedication would be rewarded, when in reality it is all a game. But she will play the game, pursuing her degree, only to find that a small school debt older than 7 years restricts her from receiving transcripts she needs to complete her degree. For months she corresponds with the appropriate parties, once again, unwaveringly jumping through the hoops of the system, hoping beyond hope that her effort will pay off, but as of yet, to no avail. Every word of this tale is truth, and only you the reader, can image all the blanks that could be filled with other hardships and victories, but this tale is far more common than you may realize. You child’s classmate, a co-worker, and maybe even yourself can relate to this harsh reality. The older we become, the more we realize the hype isn’t all its cracked up to be. Whether we accept it, or realize it, our future and value as a general rule, is dictated by expectations of education and a ‘ladder’ approach to success and future. So now to the superficial meat of the problem:


Its no surprise that our Nation’s colleges and universities put a strain on the wallet, regardless of whether the school is public or private, each year of attending you can expect to spend more than I paid for my first car. But what is worse, tuition rates have risen at twice the rate of inflation.  Considering inflation, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data shows that tuition charges have more than doubled from what they were a generation ago. NCES data, for example, in 1979–80, public four-year institutions had an average tuition of $738, which was 4.5 percent of the median annual household income of $16,461. Thirty years later, 2009– 10, average tuition was $6,695, almost 13.4 percent of median household income. Private institutions, could go so far as to cost 19.6 percent of a year’s income in 1979, but is now a staggering 45.4 percent 30 years later. The price of college has been partially offset by rapidly growing student aid. But even after allowing for that, costs have jumped significantly for students.


One would assume that what you invest in, would politicians, college and university presidents, and other opinion leaders that higher education institutions promote jobs and are engines for economic growth.” With this in mind, one would assume that investing in your higher education would be the equivalent investing “in highways, power plants, or software development”, but beyond that, we are investing in ourselves, and should have a greater personal return. While this sounds great, reality shows a high probability of the opposite.  scientific matters. But the evidence does not support the conclusion that more spending on higher education automatically promotes economic development. For instance, of three Midwestern states, the one that spent the most on higher education from the late 1980s to early 2000s saw the lowest growth rate in per-capita income. (Richard Vedder


As we discussed above, there is a general assumption that higher education means higher wages and more opportunities, whether stated or not, there is the rule that High-school students will not be successful in life unless they attend college. And with that degree will come a paved path to a comfortable middle-class life and beyond. Colleges students are graduating at a greater rate than upper level education jobs. “Today, we have 19,000 parking-lot attendants with bachelor’s degrees, not to mention 80,000 bartenders and 107,000 janitors— and those numbers can’t all be attributed simply to limited opportunities in the current economy.”(Richard Vedder


It is not uncommon that hours of orientation and assimilation activities are poured into that first week or two of undergraduate education, but then reality sets in. There are very little resources, or priority put into undergraduate students, and in fact, a large number of professors and educators for undergrad classes are comprised of lower paid graduate students, or adjuncts faculty.  The statistics for undergraduate dropouts are staggering.

Statistics of a College Dropout

  • A college education has more return on investment for a graduate in the United States than any other nation
  • More than 75% of students required to take remedial classes never graduate
  • 70% of Americans will study at a 4-year college, but less than 2/3 will graduate
  • 30% of college and university students drop out after their first year
  • 60% of college dropouts had no help from parents in paying for tuition
  • A high school graduate earns 84% less than a typical graduate from a four-year college
  • Being Unable to balance school, jobs and family is one of the top reasons for dropping out
  • 40% of college dropouts have parents with nothing beyond a high school diploma
  • 50% of college dropouts have incomes lower than $35,000
  • Those without a college degree are twice as likely to be unemployed as those with one
  • A college degree is worth $365,000 for the average American man after you subtract all the direct and indirect costs over a lifetime
  • A college degree is worth $185,000 for the average American woman




The infamous bachelor’s degree, hailed as the “4-year” degree, institutions and financial aid all operate on the assumption that a traditional bachelor’s degree will take the common 4 academic years to complete, however, evidence would show reality to be quite different. According to the NCES, of  students entering college in 2002, only 36.4 percent graduated in four years, while only 57.3 percent graduated within six years. In translation, 42.7 percent of students who begin a “4-year” degree have not completed it after 6 years. The reasons could range from financial, to academic, degree choice, or lack thereof, just for starters. Image though, as an 18 year old, its rare you’ve really had the freedom or responsibility to make any significant choices on your own, let alone being able to identify, and commit  the majority of your time and energy to a subject matter that may or may not be related to your passion,  skills, or interest…not to mention, many students who find it necessary to balance at least a part time job to get them through their program, or for non-traditional students who may have already started a family. And while I don’t want to spend too much time on this subject, as cost for education has grown,  economic equality has dropped. That is not even taking into account that women are more likely to have their education interrupted or slowed due to becoming a mother, and other parental and family obligations. And given the disparity between women’s wages of $0.74 to every $1.00 men makes, higher education becomes increasingly less accessible.

So to wrap it all up, that girl we met at the beginning of our article, is an amazing mother to a teenager, dedicated worker who carries a full AND part time job, pays her bills, values humanity and wants nothing more than to grow as a person, and impact her world in a better way, and yet the world tells her she is unworthy. She has done something that is preventing her from moving ahead, her ability to survive and bravely speak her mind is frowned upon and in many cases penalized. And for what…while other factors can and may be involved, the majority feedback in her world is that her voice is less valuable because she does not have the “accredited” education to give her thoughts value and prestige. She hadn’t rubbed elbows with the better educated, or sacrificed her identity freedom of expression to fit into the “well educated” cookie cutter vision. But not for her lack of trying, at some point we need to wake up and realize we are being taken advantage of. Our measure of value is derived from a flawed system, and while not every issue can be resolved, we can begin to fix one aspect, and that is the accessibility of higher education where needed, and the heart of humanity to see the value and wisdom of life lessons, tenacity, hard work and, if you will permit me, “the school of hard knocks”.


SEP041- Give Us Your Urine!

The news sucks so much right now.  So The Sioux Empire Podcast crew (Robert Mehling, Seth Glover, Natasha Estes, Emily Alexander, and guest columnist Peter Pischke) is here to give you as light hearted an overview as we can.  Let’s just say we give up halfway through and talk nothing but TV (Spoilers for Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Marco Polo, BoJack Horseman, The Walking Dead, Vikings, and others in the second half of the episode).  Will Pokemon take over the earth?  Not if Seth has anything to say about.  In our headline story, according to the Argus Leader, the state of South Dakota is getting medieval on people to extract urine samples and confessions in drug cases, Emily talks about her coverage and columns about Black Lives Matter and the backlash, Bernie Sanders declares Joffrey Clinton the one true nominee and the team tackles lots of other random stories along the way.  Also, we talk about the exciting new wave of writers has recruited.  Be sure to check out their new columns. This week’s episode includes music from local artist InVisible with the song “Youthful Freestyle”. Learn more about InVisible here.  The Sioux Empire Podcast, on behalf of a friend, would sincerely like to know when the east side of Sioux Falls is supposed to sleep…  Seriously…  Go to sleep people!

Parental Advisory

BlackLivesMatter: The Violence Needs to Stop

BlackLivesMatter - Emily Alexander -

BlackLivesMatter – Emily Alexander –

It was a sunny afternoon, my best friend and I were on our traditional cruising whip when I was caught off guard by the radio broadcaster’s announcement. The man gave a quick briefing that a group of protesters injured more than 20 police officers. The words coming through the radio were razor sharp with intent to raise concern. I turned the radio down to truly digest the past five days, and the horrors between citizens and the justice system. It’s an overwhelming amount of violence, outrage, fear, and confusion to take, in such a short amount of time . I had a shocking thought, that the upcoming generations will be learning about these days in school, it takes me back to when I was in first grade learning about famous black people and civil rights. I remember having a book from the school library, and the first page I opened it to be a picture of a burnt black man covered in embers and ashes. I can honestly say that was the first time I experienced instant shock. That image has been seared into my memory, I’ll never forget my young heart sinking as I looked at such horror. I get the same feeling every time I see Americans get murdered because of racial stigma. The upsurge in violence affects everyone across the nation, and has us wondering if we are ever safe and protected.

Tensions exploded July 5 th when Alton Sterling was brutally gunned down by a Baton Rouge police officer; Sterling was unarmed and pinned to the ground when officers fired the fatal shots to his chest. The video of Alton Sterling’s death flooded the internet soon after the event. The part that impacted me the most was seeing a man’s chest beat its last beats as every beat pumps blood out of his chest. Sterling’s death caused national outrage and reminds us that there is a problem, a corruption in justice, and racist police. Just as America is trying to cope with the loss of another innocent black man, breaking news released out of Minnesota on July 6 th . Yet another police shooting, killing Philando Castile, an innocent black man for no reason other than a broken tail light. A live video surfaced of Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds recording the moment after her boyfriend was shot. The police treated Reynolds unprofessionally and took her daughter; she was in distraught talking to the officers. Begging them to tell her Philando was going to be okay, sadly they did not.

BlackLivesMatter - Emily Alexander -

BlackLivesMatter – Emily Alexander –

It is tremendously disappointing that there is still inequality, and as unfortunate, as it is wrong, that there is still inequality in our nation. White supremacy and white privilege are both a reality, and we live with them in our community every day. Sioux Falls is very fortunate to have primarily good people therefore hate crime, and police brutality is not a big issue here like it is elsewhere. However just because it’s not an escalated problem doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. According to a recent census Sioux Fall’s population consists of 86.8% White, 4.4% are Latino or Hispanic, 4.2% are Black, 2.5% are Biracial, 2.7% are Native American, 1.8% are Asian, and .1% are Hawaiian Native. The gap between white people and any other race is intimidating. Sioux Falls will grow in diversity over time but as a predominately white community we should take the BlackLivesMatter movement more seriously than the AllLivesMatter movement. I feel like some attitudes from white people can be dumbfounding to the actual problems within the black community. The miscommunication might come from some white people feeling like the movement is racist when the movement is not. BlackLivesMatter is an analogy. Imagine a neighborhood full of houses but only one is on fire, there would be no need to spray every home with water but only the one that needs it the most. Black American men are being profiled, beaten, and killed over assumptions. Black American men are being trialed unfairly in our court systems, while white men like Brock Turner gets 6 months in jail for three felony counts of sexual assault. AllLivesMatter doesn’t matter when it’s a black man from being pulled over, and shot, all for reaching for his license and registration.

Some local activist came together to protest for BlackLivesMatter, AllLivesMatter, and awareness of police brutality. People of all races were there to support the protest. It is amazing to see young people gather as leaders to help a community to an equal, and fair society, engaging to bring everyone together regardless their age, or race. It wasn’t just the young and free­hearted, but people of all colors, and ages were there for the same reason.. I truly felt lifted by the energy from the people who arrived to protest. It was a non­violent, peaceful protest, just what David Blackburn had intended it to be. I had the privilege to interview David and ask him a few questions about his protest. First I asked David what the protest is exactly about? and his response was:

“I’m gathering as many people as possible to form a peaceful protest against police brutality. In less than an hour I have over 200 shares, hundreds of likes and close to 100 comments. People really care about this issue. What’s happened over the past couple days is not the sole reason why I’m doing this. It just pushed me past the breaking point. Someone has to say something”.

David and the group of protesters sure did make an impact as many drivers passed by slowing down to read posters and watch protesters. My next question for David was if he thought police brutality was a problem in Sioux Falls, and South Dakota? and his response was on point.

“Of course! It’s a problem everywhere, may not be as common but one occurrence is one too many. Don’t get me wrong, there are good cops out there. In fact I like to believe the majority of police officers hold up to their standards but it only takes that one time to make them all look bad.”

My next questions for David were questions I felt were important for the Sioux Falls white community to try to emphasize with our own local people. I got serious with David and asked him how did the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile impact his life so far and how he thought it impacts the black men in the Sioux Falls community? I hope by asking these questions to David, a black citizen to our city, that some within our white community who might not know a black person, might get an understanding of how and why police shootings are a real threat to them. David answered brilliantly by responding.

“It angers us and as a black man I can speak for the majority of us. Some don’t care at all and that’s another huge problem we face. It makes us feel unsafe because how can something as simple as a traffic stop turn into a brutal murder? If the police continue to get away with unjustified murders what’s stopping the Sioux Falls police from doing the same?”

BlackLivesMatter - Emily Alexander -

BlackLivesMatter – Emily Alexander –

I was curious on David’s personal view on BlackLivesMatter, and if the protest was strictly in relation of the movement? David said,

“No, I don’t. I support the #AllLivesMatter movement because it’s not just blacks that are brutally beaten or killed unlawfully. It’s every race not just one, I’m biracial myself so If I only supported the black lives matter movement that would be imprudent. We’re all equal and we’re all human.”

My final question for David was wondering what his goals for the protest where and if he expected anything? His passion was in his words, he said

“I want to get as much attention as possible. Not for myself but for the issue at heart. This senseless violence needs to stop. Also I want to show everyone how easy it is to form a movement. It took me an hour to reach over 300 people. Imagine what we could do with a little help from the press and peoples word of mouth?”

David was just one of many compelled to do something, though there were many people there to speak about their feelings toward the movement. Everyone did an excellent job expressing their feelings and creating awareness.

The protest stayed incredibly positive and well behaved and went better than what some of our parents expected. Every word spoken from the brave people to carry on with this movement was beautiful exacerbated with encouragement to our youth. One young lady expressed her fear that her twin brother will be pulled over and be a victim to police brutality. The most heartbreaking moment was seeing the young black boys who already had an understanding of the brutality. It’s unfortunate thinking about the conversation they must have about what to do when a white cop interacts with them; what’s more uncomfortable is imagining that one of them could be a victim to police brutality. The non­black members if the community can do more to stop the spread of racism. There is no doubt that there are racist sayings, names, references, stereotypes, and people within the city limits and state lines. We can stop saying racist things, and stop laughing, and partaking in the spread of racism. White people need to have conversations with other white people about why AllLivesMatter is a false statement until Black lives start to matter. The most important lesson however is respect and to treat people how you would want to be treated. If people started to do that just a little more, the impact on this world would be tremendous.