Media Contact

Janna Farley,

June 9, 2021

This month, people across South Dakota will be celebrating the culture and diversity of the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community at Pride festivals, picnics and events across the state.

Yet Pride is more than just parties, parades and glitter. It’s also a reminder that there’s still work to do in regards to LGBTQ+ equality in South Dakota.                                                                                                      That’s why the ACLU of South Dakota has launched its #PrideIs campaign, an effort to highlight LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit South Dakotans and allies and to encourage people to help move equality forward year round – not just during Pride month. 

“This year, as our Pride parties and festivals reemerge, we can celebrate. We can dance in the streets and march with joy,” said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “But Pride is also about showing up and demanding better for our community and holding those who aim to harm us accountable – even when it’s difficult. Never forget that we all have the ability to change our communities for the better. Pride is power.”

While LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit rights have made some giant leaps forward, the fight for equality is not over. Discrimination is still the law of the land in many states – especially in South Dakota. Year after year, issues that matter most to South Dakotans have been ignored as some legislators continue to attack the LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit community with bills that stoke fear and hatred amid discriminatory rhetoric. 

As part of the #PrideIs campaign, the ACLU is asking supporters to sign its Pride Pledge, a commitment to not only helping stop bad bills during legislative session but also to fighting for proactive and sustainable change in the state every day. The Pride Pledge can be found here:

About the ACLU of South Dakota

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.