On December 17, 2015 the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released its fourth annual report assessing LGBT equality in 408 cities across the nation. Seven South Dakota cities were included.
The news in this report is not something most of us in Rapid City and the Hills area don’t already know and live. The report states the following:
“The average score for cities in South Dakota is 23 out of 100 points, which falls
below the national average of 56. Aberdeen: 18, Brookings: 52, Pierre: 12, Rapid
City: 22, Sioux Falls: 28, Vermillion: 15, Watertown: 18.”
This report brings to light a question that the Center board grapples with each and every day. Is LGBT community aware what we do? Does the Center have an important place in your lives, the allies lives, the city as a whole? What are the needs of LGBT community? Does Rapid City even need a Center?
Based on this report, we can see categories that have zeros for answers. These are areas that impact all of our lives. The Board believes equality for all minority groups is at the top of the list We know that gold ring is a huge feat and it’s not an easy path. Much groundwork must be done to make a difference. Relations need improvement in the following areas, law enforcement, the city’s Human Rights committee, employment diversity policies, medical providers training and medical supportive services, just to name a few.
The Center board is hard at work with plans to diversify events where we can gather to learn and laugh, approaching businesses asking about their diversity policies, upgrading our meeting spaces, meeting with our city and county government sharing what we can do for the area we live in and supporting their goals when appropriate, making a presence known in Pierre when legislation will effect our community (this is being coordinated statewide), and putting ourselves in places where hearts and minds can be changed.
The Center board is committed to advancing the challenges listed above, but these hardworking individuals need your support. At the present time the only source of income is monies generated at our four events a year. The dances that are held on New Years, The Big Gay Prom, Pride and Halloween. Your attendance at these is so appreciated and allows us to do some outreach. But more is needed.
This is the season of giving. Please consider donating to the Center’s work by clicking on the donation button on the front page. Your money will be put to the best use by a very hard working board who will know there are those out there who support them.
We thank you for your past support and your future involvement.