Several Sioux Falls groups hold vigil to stand against hate

Published: Dec. 5, 2021 at 10:39 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Sunday marked the last night of Hanukkah, one of the things the holiday represents is a reminder to make the world a better place. With that in mind, the Mt. Zion Congregation collaborated with several local community organizations to host the Shining the Light Vigil.

Organizers of the vigil say the message they are putting out is “hate has no home in South Dakota.”

Due to the high winds, those who attended were not able to light their candles but that did not stop them from showing their support.

“I know what it feels like when I hang banners on my church that speak of inclusion and I get words of hate, so I don’t want any of my brother and sisters of this world, be they Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, women, or LGBTQ to stand alone when it comes to people hating,” said Rev. Dr. M.G. Martell Spagnolo, First Congressional Church Senior Pastor.

The vigil came about due to past anti-Semitic images and writings seen in Sioux Falls, as well as nationwide.

“As we get to understand what hate looks like in our communities it becomes more and more important to call it out, to identify it, to pinpoint it to people who are causing this fear in our community,” said Taneeza Islam, South Dakota Voices for Peace Executive Director.

Jen Dreiske, the Mt. Zion Congregation President reached out to many groups in the area and worked together to put on this event.

“It’s inspiring and as a Jewish mother, I feel that it is my responsibility to stand up and act out against hate and to show my son that South Dakota is a safe place for him to be Jewish and to belong in our community,” said Dreiske.

What’s most important is if you see something, say something.

“Just make sure that the target of that incident is okay and that they are put in a place where they can feel like they belong in the community,” said Islam.

Organizers for the vigil say it’s important to go beyond just saying you’re an ally for a group, and go out and support them at an event they are holding. Even if you do not identify with a certain group, you can still go and show your support.

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