Jerico Cummings is a South Dakota native born and raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He is an enrolled member of the Minneconjou band of The Great Sioux Nation. He is planning to graduate in the spring of 2020 with a bachelor's degree from the College of Letters and Science in Sociology with a minor in Native American Studies. Outside of his coursework Jerico has been heavily involved with the Sustained Dialogue chapter on his campus since his first weekend at MSU. Throughout his years coordinating the program, Jerico has connected with hundreds of students across lines of difference and identity striations through a wide range of different programming to see what best serves our student population through community dialogues, weekly dialogue groups in the spring, dialogue groups in the residence halls, and interactive dialogue events like De-Stereotype Me Day. He helped train student moderators, aide in the certification process, and helped expand retreat moderators dialogue skills beforehand to ensure their success at the retreat, in addition to providing support to all of our moderators.
My first weekend of college I was fortunate enough to attend an immersive identity retreat where I was able to explore aspects of identity with complete strangers. As I shared my lived experiences, and took in those around me, I was able to come to terms with my sexual orientation and my race. Coming to terms with these intersections sparked a paradigm shift that encouraged me to help others come to terms with aspects of their identity as well.
I see myself using the skills and knowledge I have learned throughout my involvement with Sustained Dialogue for the rest of my life. The ways in which I communicate with others have changed, the ways in which I go about educating others on identity topics and how power, privilege, and oppression impact our lived experiences, and how I plan to engage as an ally- have all changed because of the skills and knowledge learned through my involvement. My hope is that I will be able to take the skills and knowledge that I already have, and to expand on such skills to create greater social impacts pertaining to indigenous justice in the age of self-determination and discovery.