The Black Hills Center for Equality hosted a wonderful first annual Dakotas Equality Summit January 16/17 in Rapid City. Other sponsoring organizations included the Center For Equality (Sioux Falls), Common Ground, PFLAG Sioux Falls, and Equality South Dakota.
More than 85 individuals registered and we estimate 150 were in the room Judy Shepard's keynote address after dinner in the evening. Change is coming!
It was an excellent event. Workshops all day focused on everything from how LGBT adoption and other family legal issues are handled in South Dakota (yes, you can do it), keeping kids safe (with help from PFLAG-Sioux Falls president Terri Carlson and Sioux Falls area coach Nathan Alfson), faith community relationships (and non-relationships) with the LGBT, LGBT+ 101 (the lingo is IMPORTANT!), and more.
The evening event was quite something. We heard from David Patton, president of the Black Hills Center for Equality, who reminded us of the recent changes that have taken place. He introduced the couples that just won the South Dakota marriage equality lawsuit, and their rockstar lawyer Joshua A. Newville, who in turn introduced Judy Shepard for the keynote.
Judy Shepard's address was very moving and special; we believe some of the reason is that Judy and Dennis Shepard are from this part of the world and know it well. Shepard had great words of encouragement, and some warnings for the community to not lose momentum once marriage equality happens, and to make sure we work together among ourselves and with other groups pushing for equality.
We got some great press, too:
Print and post the flyer (pdf file)
1 - 5:00 p.m.Briefing Meeting
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.Reception with the Legislators
We need YOU to come and join us to keep the dialogue going.
Your legislators need to know you care about fairness and equality.
Equality South Dakota thanks PFund for their grant assistance in supporting meeting costs.
U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier today ruled that the South Dakota ban violated the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
Congratulations Nancy and Jen - and the other five couples.
This is such a sweet day.
We're thrilled, and looking forward to getting the legal lowdown on what's really happened this weekend at the Dakotas Equality Summit.
Come hear all about it, meet Judy Shepard, and the rest of supports of the LGBT community in Rapid City on Friday.
The Equality Summit this weekend will not be one to miss, especially with this great news. What a party it will be.
There is wonderful news out of the City of Brookings!
BROOKINGS, SD - The Brookings Police Department is always looking for ways to become more involved with the community -- and a new position could do just that. It now has a liaison for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people in the city to give them a safe person to talk with if they feel they're in danger.
Should Rapid City and Sioux Falls consider a similar move?