"Why a Year of Unity?" by Tim Giago

South Dakota Proclamation February 19, 2010

Why a Year of Unity?

Twenty years have passed since an editorial by Tim Giago challenged Gov. George Mickelson to proclaim a “Year of Reconciliation.” In order to commemorate that auspicious proclamation’s 20th anniversary, Giago, publisher of the Native Sun News, enlisted Michelle Lintz of the Rapid City Convention and Visitor’s Center, Linda Rabe, director of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, Laurette Pourier, director of SANI-T, Dan Tribby, manager of the Prairie Edge Trading Co., and Gerard Baker, Superintendent of the Mount Rushmore National Monument, to come together in order to submit a proposal to Governor Mike Rounds, to honor the efforts of Gov. Mickelson by proclaiming 2010 as the Year of Unity.

The group met with the governor in September and left the meeting feeling confident that the governor would proceed with the proclamation. Last week the governor announced that he would make the formal announcement on the Year of Unity on Feb. 19, 2010 in the rotunda of the State’s Capitol Building.

The Unity Committee calls upon other Chambers of Commerce in South Dakota, civic groups, schools and Rapid City business owners to get behind the concept of racial unity in South Dakota. We will be sending out more information about planned events shortly so watch for them. Committee organizer Tim Giago, said, “I was amazed and gratified that organizations like the Chamber, and Convention Center Visitor’s Bureau, and of course Dan Tribby, a respected businessman, Laurette Pourier, and Gerard Baker, would get behind me in making this effort at racial unity and harmony real by commemorating the tremendous efforts of our late governor, George Mickelson. The governor and I had a dream in 1990 that was never fulfilled.”

We look forward to receiving ideas from businesses, organizations, schools, and the citizens of South Dakota so that the Year of Unity will truly fulfill the ambitious dreams and ideals that accompanied the original proclamation in 1990.

-Tim Giago, Native Sun News 2010

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