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.
For Michele Brace, a T-shirt isn’t merely an article of clothing. It’s a way to make a statement – and hopefully make a difference in South Dakota.
Michele, a Sioux Falls mom of three, recently started Inspired Attire, a clothing company committed to selling apparel that promotes reproductive rights. She and her daughter Maddee launched the company over the summer after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
“When Roe was overturned, I decided this was not the future I wanted for my kids,” she said. “I knew I needed to find a way to fight and that’s how Inspired Attire started.”
With statements like “Mind your own uterus” and “The hardest decision a woman can make isn’t yours,” there’s no question what point of view the graphic T-shirts support.
But it’s not just the message of the T-shirts that Michele wanted to promote. She also wanted to directly support abortion access in South Dakota. That’s why proceeds from every purchase are donated to JEN, the Justice through Empowerment Network, a South Dakota organization that helps people not only fund their abortions but also with costs associated with transportation, childcare, lodging, and more.
“We are passionately and unapologetically pro-choice and believe that change can happen, even in South Dakota,” Michele said.
Looking good in a new T-shirt, after all, can inspire change!
When did you first hear about the ACLU?
In high school, I wanted to be an ACLU lawyer.
Which of the ACLU’s issue areas are you particularly passionate about and why?
Reproductive freedom. I believe that everyone should have the constitutional right to control their body and their future.
What is your favorite way to get involved in your community?
I’m working to help reduce the stigma of abortion, increase awareness of reproductive justice, and increase support for codifying Roe in South Dakota.
Why do you think it’s important for people to be involved in their communities?
It’s empowering to know that we each bring unique skillsets and perspectives to the table and together, we can make a difference in the communities we call home.
Do you consider yourself a changemaker? Why?
When Roe was overturned, I decided this was not the future I wanted for my kids. I knew I needed to find a way to fight and that’s how Inspired Attire started.
Do you have any advice for someone who might be interested in getting more politically involved in their community?
Network. Find people who are vocal about issues you care about and find ways to get involved using your unique talents.
Which of the Constitution’s amendments are most important to you and why?
The First Amendment because it guarantees freedoms concerning speech, religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition the government.
What issues do you think are most important for South Dakotans to pay attention to?
Abortion access. The ability to access health care should not be dependent on a person’s ZIP code.