Someone You Should Know: Local advocate for social justice, diversity, and equity

Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 9:22 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Harriet Yocum has devoted her life to public service.

“My mission is to serve, my purpose here is to serve the people who are in need,” said Harriet.

She is a business owner, civic volunteer, and an advocate for social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“I want to be that professional black woman of color walking into those rooms being the voice for the voiceless because when you’re in the community working, you want your community to be represented very well. I want our young people to see that we do have a place here and we do matter,” said Harriet.

Harriet is a liaison to businesses throughout South Dakota on inclusive and equality education and skill building in the workplace.

“She’s such a trailblazer in our community especially when you talk about African men and women but more particularly for African American women. Just opening up the doors for people to have a seat at the table and creating opportunities so that we can build our own tables,” said the Owner of Swamp Daddy’s Julian Beaudion.

She uses her voice and experience to empower many charities and organizations by serving at Avera McKennan Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charity, Junior League of SF, SD African American Museum, and Woman’s Alliance.

“I have a platform here to speak for those who aren’t able to make their voices heard, so I made an impact, it has changed in the last 10 years, socially for me. There are places where people couldn’t go, I was used to going to board rooms and places of being the only person of color,” said Harriet.

Julian and Harriet both work on multiple boards together in Sioux Falls.

“Right now, the newest organization we have formulated is called The Hub South Dakota, it’s a business organization that focuses on entrepreneurs of color and business owners of color. Harriet has been involved at the ground level helping us make connections, network, and build strategies,” said Beaudion.

Through these outlets, Harriet works to secure a safe space for Black, indigenous, and people of color in the community.

It is a big responsibility that is on my shoulders and that of many other community leaders, but I take that with pride. I look at that as one of the obligations that I should do for my community, as well as I am happy to do that, to educate them, to go into the business areas, to go into the small businesses, into the school districts to talk about what is going on with our community,” said Harriet.

Harriet plans to continue spreading awareness for equality and providing the tools to navigate through everyday microaggressions.

Julian: “We have three daughters at home as well, for Harriet to be a pillar in our community and to represent our community so well, it’s amazing for our daughters growing up to see a shining example just like Harriet,” said Beaudion.