Media Contact

Janna Farley,

October 19, 2021

As heightened political awareness continues to spike a greater interest in politics and civic engagement nationwide, more people than ever are interested and eager to get involved, but aren’t sure where to start.

That’s why the ACLU of South Dakota is launching the Advocacy Academy, a series of comprehensive virtual trainings and community hours designed to teach people how to make a difference in their community on a state and local level.

“Democracy requires us to stand up for our rights, not just at the ballot box, but out in the streets and in the halls of the legislature,” said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “The most powerful voices in any democracy are those of the people, and through the Advocacy Academy, we want to help advocates and changemakers across the state harness their voices and empower them to make a difference”

Whether someone is fighting for LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit equality, Indigenous justice, criminal law reform, reproductive freedom, or all of that and more, the Advocacy Academy will give participants the foundational knowledge and skills they need to be an effective advocate for making change through four virtual sessions:

  • Session 1: Introduction to Organizing and Campaigning
  • Session 2: Becoming a Conflict Competent Advocate
  • Session 3: The Art of Storytelling
  • Session 4: Fundamentals of Legislative Advocacy

Community hours scheduled throughout the Advocacy Academy will allow participants to connect with other changemakers from across the state.

The ACLU’s Advocacy Academy is free, but registration is required. The complete schedule is available at


WHAT: ACLU of South Dakota Advocacy Academy

WHEN: November through January.

WHERE: Your couch. Or kitchen counter. Or wherever you have Internet access.


About the ACLU of South Dakota

Based in Sioux Falls, the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of South Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and Wyoming. The team in South Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women and the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of South Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of South Dakota.