Election Day is around the corner, so if you still have two dimes to rub together, you have just a few days to send them where they can still do good on November 4. I’m sending mine to Women Run! South Dakota. This is the umbrella organization for progressive pro-choice Native American women running for the state legislature: among them, Charon Asetoyer, Faith Spotted Eagle, Theresa Spry, Diane Long Fox Kastner, and incumbent Senator Theresa Two Bulls (the first, and so far only, Native American woman elected to the State Senate,now running for a third term). These are community organizers (take that, Sarah Palin!) with deep local roots, long-time activists on women’s health, domestic violence, native american rights, and poverty issues. They would bring progressive grassroots leadership to a state where women currrently make up only 16% of the state legislature (and only four of those women are pro-choice), Native americans have long had trouble exercising their right to vote, and where not coincidentally, rightwing politics, including repeated attempts to make abortion a crime, have been the rule for far too long.
Here’s WomenRun’s Laura Ross on the situation on the ground:
“Last week the smart and delightful Lonna Stevens of Wellstone Action and Wellstone Native Leadership was good enough to fly over and do a few nonpartisan Native voter engagement trainings with me in SD. We were at Kyle one day (near Pine Ridge), Rapid City the next and finally at Lower Brule, smack on the gorgeous Missouri River. Organize organize organize! All was good. Voter reg is way up this cycle and everybody eager to learn how they can do more. It was great to have so many Native students at the trainings right next to candidates and others who’ve been community leaders for so long. …
“Things are rolling on the Initiated Measure 11 battle, which would ban nearly all abortions in SD and set up a legal challenge to Roe. The other day a reporter from Pierre wrote about the many legal shortcomings of IM 11 and said, Well, if it goes down then the next legislature can address them and either pass a new ban or send it back to the voters again. Indeed. We’ve known for some time now here at WR!SD, that it matters who is sitting in the state legislature shaping the laws affecting reproductive freedoms and health, education and environmental policy. We know there will be more bills seeking to limit women’s access to good repro health and that, yes, if the ban fails they’ll just bring it back to the legislators again. Its hard work to be there fighting off these bills, I’ve been there, but if our candidates were to win in 10 short days from now we know they’d have our backs at the next legislative session. Maybe IM 11 will go down but like Dracula will arise again in the halls of the Capitol in January and this time we’ll have reinforcements, we hope!