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Progressive Potpourri: Events in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Watertown This Fall

My inbox runneth over with interesting events around the state for progressive folks who’d like to promote the general welfare. Here’s a sampling:

Friday and Saturday, September 9–10—Equality Summit, Downtown Holiday Inn, Sioux Falls, 6–9:45+ p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.–10+ p.m. Saturday, hosted by The Center for Equality, Equality South Dakota, The Black Hills Center for Equality, and Common Ground Diversity Group; indiv. registration $80:

A gathering of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and their allies from throughout North and South Dakota is set for September 9 and 10 in Sioux Falls.

The Summit will help connect communities through stories. It will create and allow a voice, a time for individual storytelling, and promote strength among attendees. A bevy of local and national speakers will take part in this event.

Break-out sessions, featured speakers, and entertainment are part of the Summit.

Keynote speaker Leslie Jordan kicks off the Summit with his storytelling on Friday evening, September 9. Jordon has a long list of film and theater appearances. He is a 2006 Emmy Award winner for Will and Grace, and appeared in The Help in 2012.

Saturday, September 10 presenters include South Dakotan Jackie Gilchrist Freidrichsen, who will tell the story of her son, the late Chase Luke.

Jeff Walker, who has lived with HIV for five years, will speak during lunch. In his story he will talk about how he has come from a state of homelessness and isolation into a life filled with support, love and personal success.

Saturday afternoon speakers include Brett Ray, author of My Name is Brett: Truths from a Trans Christian. He holds a Master’s of Theological Studies from Duke University Divinity School in Durham NC. His is a story that takes place at the intersection of a Christian and queer identity and encompasses addiction and recovery, rebirth and discovery.

Mara Keisling is the founding Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. Mara is a transgender-identified woman and a parent. She is one of the nation’s leading voices for transgender equality.

Dinner speaker Annie Loyd wraps up Summit presentations with her story and a presentation entitled “This is Your Challenge.” Loyd is a visionary who builds coalitions and finds solutions even in communities with a long history of conflict. She has acquired a vast understanding of best practices for meeting community, state, national and global challenges.

A celebration with Amy and Freddie finishes off the evening. Music and comedy legends Amy Armstrong and Freddy Allen have performed together for 20 years across the United States and in over 20 countries.

Dakotas’ Equality Summit is a collaboration of individuals and equality groups throughout the state including The Center for Equality, Equality South Dakota, The Black Hills Center for Equality, and Common Ground Diversity Group.

Sponsors include Salmen Farms and Organs, The Center for Equality, Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG [Equality South Dakota, press release, 2016.08.26].

Saturday, September 10—All-Access Sioux Falls, Club David, 214 W 10th St., Sioux Falls, 4–7 p.m. CDT, hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice SD and Planned Parenthood:

Join reproductive rights advocates in SIOUX FALLS for a night of music and entertainment on Club David’s rooftop patio.

The best part(s)? Admission is totally free, drink specials are buy-one-get-one, and you have a high chance of taking home some sweet local swag from host organizations!

Tabling by local activist organizations – Planned Parenthood MN, ND & SD, NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota and ACLU of South Dakota.

Performances by local artist Maddie Todd!

*About All Access*

With an anchor event in Cleveland and 30+ events being hosted across the country, All Access: Sioux Falls will bring together people of all ages, ethnicities, racial and gender identities to expand our access to abortion and celebrate our collective power. We can’t exercise our right to abortion if we don’t have access to it, and the right to a safe and legal abortion should be a right for all, not just some.

Since the 2010 midterm election, states have quietly passed more than 334 individual restrictions to block women from accessing abortion. That’s why supporters of abortion access are stepping up to take action and demand an end to political interference in our healthcare decisions. We are the majority and we will be heard.

Speak. Share. Demand All Access. #Access4All [NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota and Planned Parenthood, Facebook post, downloaded 2016.08.30]

Saturday, September 17—Where to Invade Next film showing, Journey Museum, 222 New York St., Rapid City, 6:30–9 p.m. MDT, hosted by Pennington County Democrats:

People we know who have seen Michael Moore’s newest movie, Where To Invade Next” consider it a must-see-movie if you really want to see a better USA!

Academy Award winning director Michael Moore returns with what may be his most provocative and hilarious film yet: Moore tells the Pentagon to stand down” – he will do the invading for America from now on.

“Where To Invade Next” is an expansive, rib-tickling, and subversive comedy in which Moore, playing the role of “invader”, visits a host of nations to learn how the U.S. could improve its own prospects.  The creator of “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine” is back with this hilarious and eye-opening call to arms.  Turns out the solution to America’s most entrenched problems already exist in the world-they’re just waiting to be co-opted.

The Pennington County Democratic Party is hosting a screening of this movie at The Journey Museum and Learning Center located at 222 New York Street. Rapid City, SD 57701 on September 17, 2016 at 6:30 PM.

You can reserve your attendance at this event by registering at

This is a free event, however, a donation by those attending this event would be appreciated to help cover the cost of providing the film to the community [Pennington County Democrats, event post, downloaded 2016.08.31].

Saturday, September 24—Second Annual Democratic Rushmore Round-Up, Ramkota Convention Center, 2111 N LaCrosse St., Rapid City, social hour at 6 p.m. MDT, dinner at 7, hosted by South Dakota Democratic Party:

Round-up Banquet Dinner – U.S. Senate Candidate Jay Williams, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Candidate Henry Red Cloud, Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, and a Special Guest from the Hillary Clinton campaign will speak at the dinner. The Dinner will begin at 7 pm Saturday, September 24th. Purchase tickets here.

Candidate Meet and Greet – Before Banquet Dinner a social hour featuring a “meet and greet” with statewide candidates and candidates for the State Legislature will be held at 6 p.m. [South Dakota Democratic Party, event post, downloaded 2016.08.31].

Thursday, September 29—ACLU Cheers for Liberty, Hilton Garden Inn, 201 E. 8th St., Sioux Falls, 5 p.m.–7 p.m.

The ACLU of South Dakota invites the community to attend an event to raise funds to advance its mission to protect and advance civil liberties in South Dakota. The event is open to the public.

Speakers will include:

  • Heather Smith, Executive Director, ACLU of South Dakota
  • Mark Meierhenry, former South Dakota Attorney General and Cheers to Liberty Presenting Sponsor
  • Brendan Johnson, former U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota
  • Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU LGBT & HIV Project (NY), Writer and Activist [ACLU-SD, press release, 2016.09.01]

Friday, October 7—Pro-Chocolate Gala and Fundraiser, Downtown Holiday Inn Starlight Room, Sioux Falls, 7–9 p.m., hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota and Planned Parenthood; indiv. ticket $45, couple $80:

We are happy to announce our annual, Pro-Chocolate Gala & Fundraiser on October 7th at the Holiday Inn Sioux Falls City Centre featuring desserts, art from local artists, and notable feminist author keynote speaker, Jaclyn Friedman!

…Jaclyn Friedman’s work has redefined the concept of “healthy sexuality” and popularized the “yes means yes” standard of sexual consent that is quickly becoming law on many U.S. campuses. She is a popular speaker and opinion writer and the creator of two books: Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, and What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex & Safety. Friedman hosts “Unscrewed,” a podcast exploring paths to sexual liberation, and is at work on a book by the same name [NARAL Pro-Choice SD, Facebook post, downloaded 2016.08.31].

Saturday, October 15—South Dakota Pax Christi Peace Conference, County Fair Banquet Hall, 14 Second Street Northeast, Watertown, 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m., hosted by Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen, Watertown Benedictine Sisters, and local Pax Christi chapters:


We invite you to join us as we listen to keynote speaker Rev. John Dear, an international voice for peace and nonviolence, a priest, pastor, retreat leader and author.  Together, we will discuss and renew our own life mission, and how we are sent into the world of violence and war to transform our culture into one of peace and nonviolence.

The event is scheduled for October 15, 2016, Watertown, SD at County Fair Banquet Hall, 14 Second Street Northeast from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Cost is $25, college or high school students only $10, which includes lunch and breaks. All those interested in peace and justice are encouraged to attend [Presentation Sisters, event post, downloaded 2016.08.31].

I’ll be home campaigning on those weekends, but readers, if you attend, I welcome your reports from these events!


  1. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-31 21:41

    Whoever issued those threats should attend the Pax Christi meeting in Watertown. So should Ron Branstner and his Klan-in-training.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-31 22:41

    Update! I’ve added next weekend’s Equality Summit and the October 7 Pro-Choice Pro-Chocolate Gala, both in Sioux Falls.

  3. Douglas Wiken 2016-09-01 14:42

    I received a call from some so-called opinion research outfit. It was a push poll designed to stir up resistance to the amendment providing campaign funding and an election commission. The arguments provided are mostly outright distortions, misleading slanted opinion, or irrelevant.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-09-03 09:43

    Thanks, Doug! I’m hearing that from multiple other sources as well. Did your pol include mention of campaign finance dollars being used at strip clubs?

  5. Douglas Wiken 2016-09-03 10:30

    I don’t remember anything about strip clubs in the call. Phone number of the outfit calling did not appear to show up in the phone list. I ran out of time on this.

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