Oct. 16: South Dakota to South Sudan
Augustana College and the Argus Leader will host a community gathering to discuss "South Dakota to South Sudan," a seven-part series by Argus Leader reporter Steve Young, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16, in Kresge Recital Hall.
Young and Sioux Falls probation officer and Sudan native David Jal will talk about their travels to South Sudan. Also Photographer Emily Spartz, Managing Editor Patrick Lalley and South Sudanese refugees will take questions and talk about their experiences.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will also will be livestreamed at argusleader.com.
About the Project
The roots of "South Dakota to South Sudan" started as the South Sudanese people moved toward a vote for independence in early 2011. Reporter Steve Young interviewed several Sudanese now living in Sioux Falls who talked about the desire to return to their homeland to build schools and clinics or start businesses to help the people.
That led to a conversation with David Jal, a Minnehaha County probation officer and former Lost Boy, who was working on just such a goal. With the successful vote to split Sudan into two countries, Young floated the idea to editors at the Argus Leader of traveling with Jal to tell the story of the communal effort under way, between South Dakotans and Sudanese refugees, to rebuild the country.
Ongoing clashes between the north and south Sudanese armies, intermittent militia violence and a general uneasiness with the situation threatened to derail the project throughout 2011. Young continued though, interviewing Sudanese living in the United States, talking with officials with churches and relief agencies involved in the country and checking in with the U.S. State Department to assess the situation.