SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – February is Black History Month… a time to learn and talk about race relations and equality.
The summer of 2020 induced a lot of conversations about race relations in the United States, but those conversations weren’t new for the country.
“I’ve only lived here for just over two decades, but I have seen multiple cycles of something terrible happening, people becoming really aware, people wanting to do something and fight injustice and then a month later, you know, they’ve moved on to the new Kardashian video or they’ve moved on to whatever else is trending on social media at that moment,” Dyanis Popova said.
Dyanis Conrad-Popova, an associate professor at USD, says though these conversations can be uncomfortable — they’re necessary.
“Pushing past that uncomfortableness is critical. That fear is paralyzing and can leave you really exposed to miscommunication, to incorrect ideas, can leave you sort of vulnerable to sort of those, the negative aspects of those conversations. But a lot of it is putting yourself out there and admitting, hey, I am coming at this from one perspective. This is my understanding of it, but there is so much out there that I don’t know,” Popova said.
Conversations about Black history and equality tend to spark up around Martin Luther King Jr. Day and during Black History Month, but Popova says that education must go beyond the third Monday of January and the month of February.
“It’s a little discouraging to see how quickly when March comes, all of those ideas are dropped, but it’s important. It’s important to know that, you know, if we’re talking about math, there were great African-American mathematicians, there are different styles of math that are indigenous that came with different cultures and communities, different perspectives and frameworks and just contributors to our education system and how that looked, how it feels and what we value. That should be part of our education year-round because American history is for all of us, from all of us and about all of us and everyone’s voice should be included,” Popova said.
Friday night on KELOLAND News, hear from Popova, as well as Mark Blackburn, the Dean of Students at Augustana University, about how we can start these difficult conversations surrounding race relations.