We the People: Everett Moran

Everett is an advocate and issue area connecter from Renner, S.D.

We the People is a blog series that features the stories of members, supporters, volunteers, and allies of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota. Together we are accomplishing critical work in our state to protect and advance civil liberties across the Midwest and beyond.

Everett Moran is a fierce advocate and issue area connecter from Renner, S.D. He’s currently learning the ins and outs of media and entrepreneurship as a student at the University of Sioux Falls. When he’s not deep into his studies, Everett likes to learn about South Dakota’s robust history, spend time with his loved ones, and travel around the world.

Fun fact? Everett is the dad of two ferret babies and a mini Australian shepherd. And he’ll never turn down a good macaroon!

When did you first hear about the ACLU?

I first heard of ACLU of South Dakota after watching a YouTube video that described the lawsuit in Winner, S.D. I was doing research for Indigenous injustice in the state and was happy to find an organization advocating for Native rights locally.

Which of the ACLU’s issue areas are you particularly passionate about and why?

I think all of ACLU’s issue areas are critical. For me, being a trans man in a Native state, I am most passionate about trans rights, Two Spirit rights, and Indigenous justice. South Dakota ranks as one of the worst states to live in for LGBTQ+  and Two Spirit people when it comes to legislation. This is devastating to hear and live through. South Dakota also pushed the Pine Ridge people into poverty after they illegally stole the Black Hills in 1877.

Why have you rallied in support of reproductive freedom in South Dakota?

Abortion is a right. When colonizers first came to Americanize the Indigenous tribes here, they were already practicing family planning. I believe it is every person’s right to have control over their own body. Any government agency that tries to take away that freedom is an oppressor. My generation was raised to believe we are the freest nation in the world. That’s why we’ll fight for what we were promised.

What is your favorite way to get involved in your community?

My job! Through my work as a photographer, I am able to create art while connecting with community. This avenue is my favorite way to get involved. It allows me to document those who show up and show out to share stories and connect others.

Why do you think it’s important for people to be involved in their communities?

If you don’t get involved, your voice is lost. We live in a more conservative state, so it’s crucial to let your voice be heard no matter how small you think it is. Not only because our government is trying to take away our freedoms, but also to show others that we are numerous. There are multiple youth groups in our city right now wishing they were born elsewhere. They feel hopeless living in South Dakota, a state that wants to criminalize their very existence. We must all stand up for those kids. We are all South Dakota.

Do you have any advice for someone who might be interested in getting more politically involved in their community?

Take one step outside of your comfort zone and you will see how much love there is in this city. It may seem like there is too much corruption to try. Our city is filled with people who care and want change. All it takes is that first step!

What issues do you think are most important for South Dakotans to pay attention to?

I think the top issue South Dakotans need to pay attention to is Indigenous justice. We weren’t taught an accurate depiction of our state’s history in school. So unfortunately, not many are aware the horrors Indigenous people faced. Seldom do we speak about the tribes that reside in communities around us. Our state is responsible for the abuse and neglect of Native children in boarding schools, the forced sterilization of Native women, and more. The Winner School District was even sued over being racist toward Native students. There are many more examples to be provided, but my point remains.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I like to go on walks with my girlfriend and dog. I also enjoy listening to music, being active, and traveling to places I have never been before.