VOICES AMPLIFIED | Exploring the History of Social Justice
Season 4, Ep. 1
New USD Podcast Series to Explore Systemic Racism, Social Justice and Criminal Justice Reform
BRENDAN JOHNSON | Amendment A - Marijuana Reform
Season 5, Ep. 8
JohnsonDiscusses Amendment A Marijuana Reform on Credit HourVERMILLION, S.D. – BrendanJohnson, B.S. ’98, lead counsel for Amendment A discussed the implications of marijuana reform on the podcast Credit Hour.“What is not up for compromise is the fact that [marijuana] is decriminalized,”Johnsonsaid. “The people have spoken very clearly on that.”Johnsonserved as lead counsel for Amendment A. He is a former U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota and practices at Robins Kaplan in Sioux Falls.Johnsonsaid the law will go into effect in July of 2021.Johnsonsaid taxes on marijuana will be capped at 15 percent split between the general budget and education. He also said it may have benefits for tribal communities and from a social justice standpoint.“Some of the biggest benefits are from a social justice perspective. We lock up too many people in our country. We lock up too many people in South Dakota,”Johnsonsaid citing statistics that marijuana arrests account for over 10 percent of arrests in South Dakota.CreditHouris the University of South Dakota’s podcast highlighting the achievement, research and scholarship of its staff, students, alumni and faculty. FollowCreditHouron Spotify, Apple Podcasts, andwww.usd.edu/podcast.
CHRIS MERCADO | Objective Zero Suicide Prevention
Season 5, Ep. 7
Mercado Discusses Objective Zero Suicide Prevention App on Credit HourVERMILLION, S.D. – Major Chris Mercado, ’04, founder of Objective Zero, discussed his military service and suicide prevention efforts on the podcastCredit Hour.“What we’re doing with Objective Zero is crowdsourcing peer support,” said Mercado. “The idea is that we’re trying to get ahead of those downward spirals into suicide by providing peer support as a pre-crisis service.”Objective Zero was established in 2015. It released a mobile app in December of 2017 that instantly connects veterans-in-need to a community of fellow veterans, current service members and concerned citizens.Mercado mentioned the recent spike in suicide rates as an alarming trend amongst the military.“Early indications are that in 2020, suicide rates in the military are up over 2019 by 20 percent. In the U.S. army, suicide rates are up over 30 percent,” said Mercado. “It’s very concerning.”In 2017, Mercado was named the Military Times Service Member of the Year for the U.S. Army in recognition for founding Objective Zero, a suicide prevention platform. He has served five tours overseas, three during the surges in Iraq and Afghanistan, and earned three Bronze Star Medals, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, 10 Army Achievement Medals and the NATO Medal.Credit Hour is the University of South Dakota’s podcast highlighting the achievement, research and scholarship of its staff, students, alumni and faculty. Follow Credit Hour on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, andwww.usd.edu/podcast.
ELISE BOXER | Institute for American Indian Studies
Season 5, Ep. 6
Elise Boxer Discusses New Role as Director of Institute for American Indian StudiesVERMILLION, S.D. – Elise Boxer, an assistant professor of Native American Studies at the University of South Dakota, discussed the importance of Native studies and her new role as the director of the Institute of American Indian Studies on the podcast Credit Hour.“I really believe that Native studies is for everybody as it will result in understanding what is happening in the state and region,” said Boxer. “If you are going to live in this region, having a working understanding of tribal nations and people will better facilitate an individual in their profession whether its education, social work or law enforcement. The list goes on.”Boxer was recently named the director of the revitalized Institute of American Indian Studies at USD. The Institute has a rich history in South Dakota and a notable reputation throughout the nation. Originally established in 1955 through the concerted efforts of Dr. William O. Farber and Dr. Wesley Hurt, the Institute of American Indian Studies was part of a nationwide effort to aid in the preservation of American Indian heritage and to promote opportunities in higher education for Indigenous students. During its first decade of existence, the institute sponsored programs and conferences centered around economic, legal and political issues facing the Lakota and Dakota people during the period of federal termination. The Board of Regents formally established the institute on April 30, 1955 and was the first of its kind in the nation. It was later formally recognized by the South Dakota Legislature in 1974.The Institute will award more than $80,000 dollars in scholarships to Indigenous students at USD. In addition to offering educational opportunities to American Indian students, USD will actively focus on encouraging student engagement through cultural workshops and Indigenous research and connecting USD students to tribal communities and to each other.Credit Hour is the University of South Dakota’s podcast highlighting the achievement, research and scholarship of its staff, students, alumni and faculty. Follow Credit Hour on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, andwww.usd.edu/podcast.