This Halloween, Civil Rights Violations Scare Us More than Anything

Together, we can prevent a scary future and build a better community

Spooky season is here! But it’s not just the ghastly ghouls and haunted houses that scare us. With the 2022 Legislative Session just around the corner, it’s the wicked violations to our civil rights that sends chills up our spines. 

Thankfully, there are many ways you can get involved and take action to make a difference. Read about what scares us most and how you can help prevent a frightful future for South Dakota and build a better community.

Anti-trans attacks continue to scare us

Every year, issues that matter most to South Dakotans are being ignored as some South Dakota legislators continue to attack the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community and erode their rights with bills that stoke fear and hatred amid discriminatory rhetoric. 

Bill after bill seems fixated on the incorrect notion that some of our friends and neighbors are not entitled to the same dignity and respect as others. Bills to prevent transgender athletes from competing. Bills that would allow health care providers, medical institutions and health insurance providers to refuse care to a patient on religious, moral, ethical or philosophical grounds. Bills that would ban transgender people from obtaining birth certificates that accurately reflect their identity.

The more we legislate solutions in search of problems, the more our communities suffer. It’s time we stop these attacks and focus on issues that matter to the people of South Dakota.

Abortion rights are threatened

Personal privacy and reproductive rights are among our most important constitutional liberties. But extremist politicians don’t seem to care about our constitutional rights.

From Texas and Arizona to right here in South Dakota, politicians are working extremely hard to prevent people from getting an abortion or to shame them out of having one. Whether it’s forced waiting periods, medically unnecessary and stigmatizing procedures, requiring coercive and inaccurate medical information to be presented to pregnant people seeking abortion care, legally empowering medical professionals to discriminate against pregnant people because of their identity or personal religious beliefs, or flat-out bans, these politicians are determined to block abortion access.

And in doing so, they’re robbing pregnant people of their basic human and civil rights.

It’s beyond time for South Dakota to recognize that abortion care is essential health care. It is our right to shape our families, to access the health care we need, to decide when or whether we have children, and how we shape our lives.

Classroom censorship is scary

In the past few months, there has been a proliferation of efforts across the country to restrict the teaching of so-called “divisive concepts.” This nationwide push is part of a concerted and coordinated effort to limit teacher and student rights, free speech, and hinder the discussion of racial justice issues in classrooms.

We’re seeing it here in South Dakota, too, most recently with the removal of Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Native American topics from the South Dakota Department of Education’s content standards and the assembly of a second committee to recommend entirely new revisions.

Students are the next generation of leaders who will move us through the journey to a more just and inclusive democracy. We cannot rob them of the requisite historical knowledge of Indigenous people in our state. The more South Dakota students can learn about our history – the good, the bad and the ugly – and the lessons it can teach us, the better prepared they will be to tackle the inequities and injustices present in our communities. Every student should have the right to receive an inclusive education and have an open and honest dialogue about America’s history.

Can you help us prevent a frightening future for South Dakota?

Before you journey on your trick or treating adventures, visit tombstones and pumpkin patches, or travel through a haunted house, don’t forget to get involved, take action, and prevent an eerie future for all South Dakotans.

Whether you’re making a phone call, texting your senator, or setting up a meeting with your representatives, the choice is yours. Every action you take will inch us closer toward broadening and strengthening civil liberties in South Dakota.