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.

Justice Horn is from Kansas City, Mo., and is currently a student athlete at Northern State University in Aberdeen where he focuses on building community. 

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Justice Horn and I am a student athlete at Northern State University in Aberdeen. I am from Kansas City, Mo., and in high school I played football, wrestled, and threw on the track and field team. I wrestle collegiately at Northern State University and I am chair of the State and Local Government committee on the Student Government Association and a senator on Student Government Association. I am a part of several other organizations on campus and I stay active in my community through community service. Athletics, academics, and community are very important to me, however; I have taken on even more after garnering a national platform.

When did you first hear about the ACLU?

I am active in the collegiate and local political realm. I make it a point to inform myself on all things political within the county, city, state, and even nationally. I first heard about the ACLU because of their extensive work during the Civil Rights Era for the fight for African Americans to have equal rights in the United States nationwide. The ACLU has been around for a long time and has always fought for equality for all.

How does the ACLU and our work relate to you personally? Are there any issues you feel most connected to?

Being an African American and an openly gay citizen in the United States, the ACLU’s work relates to me in two ways. There has been a long battle for civil rights and civil liberties for each group that I identify with. Everything that the ACLU accomplishes relates to me. Inequality affects us all and should not be simply ignored. I support the fight for rights for immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community, the African American community, the Hispanic community, criminal law reform, free speech, voting rights, human rights, religious liberty, and more. 

Recently you shared your coming out story in a pretty public way. What made you want to do that?

I shared my coming out story publically was because all the support I received from all avenues in my life. I know that there are people who do not have the support and acceptance I have and I thought it would be imperative to share my story with the aim to inspire someone who does not have the love and support I have. My story, my struggle, my story can inspire and give hope that no matter who you are, it gets better. 

What advice would you have for anyone who is thinking about coming out?

The advice I give to anyone thinking about coming out is that there is a brighter day on the horizon and if they do not support you, those are people who should not be in your life. It takes courage to come out and in the end, everyone's story is different. Be strong.

What have you learned after sharing your story?

What I have learned after sharing my story is that my story inspired and touched a lot of people. I feel like I have to represent and speak on behalf of people who sent me messages, mail, and emails. I have received nothing but positive feedback from parents, sisters, brothers, out people, closeted people, young people, old people, athletes, South Dakotan citizens, and non-athletes. What drives me now more than ever is the fact that this isn’t about me. I must continue to push forward, represent, and be active with this platform I now possess. 

What is one thing you’d like people to know about you that you may not have already shared?

I want to be a politician later in life on the local, state, or national level. I have always been in student government organizations and I want to be a civil servant. I want to represent the people who elect me as a leader who will represent them.

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