IndyCAN E-newsletter, April 2017

In this issue:


Pictured Above:
(From left) IndyCAN leaders asked representatives from the offices of Senator Joe Donnelly, Congresswoman Susan Brooks and Congressman Andre Carson to commit to speaking with their elected officials about expanding, not reducing health care access and affordability. (Senator Todd Young was invited but did not attend or send a representative.)

IndyCAN to Senators Donnelly & Young: Protect Hoosier Health Care

“My son was hit by a car when I was unemployed and had no health insurance. If it wasn't for the nurse who signed us up for Medicaid at the hospital, he would be dead today.”

This scary experience shared by Doris Hill, IndyCAN leader at Eagles’ Nest Church in Indianapolis, is a fear echoed by more than half a million Hoosiers statewide who are worried about losing their health care coverage if President Trump’s proposed health care plan is passed by congress.

On Thursday, April 20, more than 300 Jewish, Catholic and Protestant faith leaders gathered with community members at IndyCAN’s Health Care Town Hall to urge Senator Joe Donnelly and Senator Todd Young to protect health care for Hoosier families receiving coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid.

“We are here on earth to love one another and especially take care of the most vulnerable,” said Rev. Robert Harvey, IndyCAN pastor at New Zion Community Church. “Tonight, we commit to making sure that everyone has the chance to go to a doctor when they need to, and we expect our elected officials to do the same.”

Plans for Action

The event included prayer, reflection, an overview of health care research, personal stories from the community and opportunities for remarks from invited political leaders.

The Town Hall resulted in two successful plans for action:

  1. Commitment from faith leaders to spread the word — More than 300 faith leaders committed to reaching 75,000 people between now and the next congressional recess through congregation events, house parties and preaching from the pulpit to ready for action to protect healthcare.
  2. Meetings with Senator Donnelly and Congressman Carson — Representatives for Senator Donnelly and Congressman Carson promised to schedule meetings between IndyCAN and their bosses by May 4. (Congresswoman Susan Brooks sent a representative and Senator Todd Young failed to respond to repeated requests for his attendance and had no representation at the event.)

Health Care Under Attack

While Trump’s campaign promise was “insurance for everybody,” gains in health care coverage and accessibility face three life threatening attacks:

  1. Sabotage the Affordable Care Act by failing to protect cost sharing.
  2. Gut Medicaid and Medicare through caps and block grants.
  3. Strip health care from children who depend on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which will expire this fall if not reauthorized.

These attacks are in addition to the proposed AHCA plan, back on the table, that would cut $1.2 trillion in health care benefits to provide $861 billion in tax cuts for the 400 wealthiest households in the country (or $7 million per person).

Learn more

For more details on the impacts of Trumpcare, download “A Cost Too High: The Financial Harm of the Republican Plan to Eliminate Health Care.”


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Pictured Above: IndyCAN leaders undergo training to be rapid responders for IndyCAN Watch, a new hotline available to individuals and families who are confronted by ICE or traumatized by local law enforcement.


Sanctuary & Solidarity

IndyCAN Watch Protects Families Targeted by ICE


A real ICE encounter, as told by two rapid responders in training

In early April, Ed Witulski, a trained rapid responder from St. Monica Catholic Church, received a text notifying him that ICE was at the door of an immigrant family. The mother and her three children were afraid to leave their house for 8 hours, not knowing if ICE officials were still waiting outside or down the street.

Ed was one of three rapid responders who went to the scene to accompany the family to a safe place. He describes what it was like to respond to a family afraid of leaving their house.

“There was a range of emotions associated with my experience,” Ed said. “Nervousness, fear, accomplishment, joy, love and some sorrow that our country has come to this.

Sarah Stelzner, another rapid responder from Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, said she noticed something ironic and heartbreaking when they went back to the home later.

“We went back to the home later that Sunday night for the kids to get their backpacks, and I saw a Virgin of Guadalupe altar on one side and their daughter's ROTC picture with her Daughters of the American Revolution Award on the other side.”


Ed and Sarah’s story above shows the developing stages of IndyCAN Watch, a rapid response hotline that will officially launch on May 1.

Modeled after the successful PICOWatch program, this hotline enables individuals and families who are confronted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or traumatized by local law enforcement to call (317) 759-9474 and receive on-site support from trained IndyCAN Watch leaders within five minutes of the call.

IndyCAN is working to prepare up to 450 leaders in multiple roles to work the hotline, including dispatchers, rapid responders, accompaniment teams, sanctuary hosts, trainers and more. Rapid responders will act as moral and legal observers, while accompaniment teams will connect impacted families to legal and social services and work with them to determine an appropriate public response.

Over time, this hotline will enable IndyCAN to better document abuse by ICE agents or law enforcement across the state. Rapid responders will capture incident data, video stories and real-time reports that will be used to identify patterns over time and arm communities of color with the evidence needed to encourage policy change among public officials.

Save (317) 759-9474 in your phone to reach the IndyCAN Watch hotline!

Download and print a wallet-sized IndyCAN Watch card.
Carry it with you so you will be prepared in case of a traumatic event.

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