IndyCAN E-newsletter, December 2017

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Pictured above: Sr. Jacinta Krecek, OSF, of the University of St. Francis, lights a prayer candle with Pastor Clarence Moore of New Era Church (far right) at the Sept. 11 Clergy Summit.

Faith in Indiana:
Our movement for racial and economic justice grows

The Most Rev. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend gathered with more than 50 multi-faith, multi-racial clergy from across northeastern Indiana at the Sept. 11 Clergy Summit. Together, they vowed to lift their prophetic voices and generate new organizing efforts that bring people together across lines of race, faith and geography to address the root causes of injustice.

“Every person, whether in jail, an undocumented immigrant, an unemployed person, disabled mentally or physically, every person has an incomparable and inalienable dignity from God himself,” explained Bishop Rhoades. “Structures in society that erode or reject this dignity need to be changed. Our community organizing is meant to uphold this dignity when it is threatened.”

A statewide effort is born

Since September, the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Faith in Indy (formerly known as IndyCAN) have partnered together to sponsor a new, statewide effort called “Faith in Indiana.” Faith in Indiana is made up of its newest chapters – Faith in Elkhart County, Faith in St. Joseph County, Faith in Allen County and Faith in Lake County – and Faith in Indy, with more on the way.

And the chapters are already taking action.

Congregation teams have talked to hundreds of community members to learn what Hoosiers need for their families to thrive. After the repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) left more than 10,000 young adults vulnerable to deportation, Faith in Allen County launched a Solidarity Hotline to stand with vulnerable community members that live in fear of deportation or law enforcement. Within five minutes of a call, rapid responders will show up to act as moral observers to document the incident, connect callers to legal and social services and activate accompaniment teams. The Solidarity Hotline is in effect in Allen, Elkhart, Marion and St. Joseph Counties and continues to grow across the state.

Learn more about the new chapters in northeast Indiana:

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Faith in Indiana’s Founding Convention will be April 21

This new, statewide effort marks a transition for IndyCAN, whose members voted in November on a name change to “Faith in Indiana” and a new charter to reflect its growth across the state.

Faith in Indiana is rooted in the belief that everyone belongs. At times, it seems like some public officials would rather scapegoat immigrants and blame our most vulnerable neighbors — fanning the flames of hate for political gain — than listen to Hoosiers about the real struggles they are facing and roll up their sleeves to find solutions. The truth is our destinies are tied together. Moral guidance that lifts human dignity is needed now more than ever. Our communities can choose to reject hate, division and fear and build multi-racial communities of belonging where everyone shares in God’s abundance.

That’s why Faith in Indiana chapters have worked diligently this fall, gathering around dinner tables and church basements and knocking on doors to hear what initiatives Hoosiers themselves would prioritize for the state and their local communities. Already nearly halfway to our goal of listening to 10,000 Hoosier voices, this feedback will be utilized in our “Family-First” policy platform, a bold new vision for Indiana that will be shared with civic leaders at Faith in Indiana’s Founding Convention on April 21, 2018, in Indianapolis.



Big Changes for IndyCAN...

As we continue to transition to a statewide effort, don’t be surprised to see changes, big and small, in the months leading up to April’s Founding Convention.

  • Our look - IndyCAN’s Facebook page now serves as the statewide Facebook page for Faith in Indiana, sharing news about all chapters in the state. This statewide representation will be reflected on all our social media channels, as well as in our new logo and, eventually, a new website (coming in 2018).
  • Our local name change - In Marion County, the local IndyCAN chapter will now be known as Faith in Indy. We will celebrate the transition and install a new governing board made up of delegates from all the Faith in Indiana chapters at the first statewide annual meeting, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m. Stay tuned for more!

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Pictured above: Rev. Hector Hernández, an IndyCAN clergy leader, was interviewed on Nov. 10 by the national Spanish news station, National Noticias Telemundo, after U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued an injunction to end ICE detainers by the Marion County Sheriff's Office. Pictured below: Rev. Hector Hernández poses with Israel Doroteo (on right) who was also interviewed by Telemundo, sharing how this important injunction will successfully impact Indiana families.

VICTORY: Faith in Indy ends
ICE detainers!

On Nov. 7, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued an injunction to prevent the Marion County Sheriff’s Office from detaining people based solely on requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), unless there’s a warrant or probable cause. Barker said these requests were a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects people from unreasonable search and seizures.

Faith in Indy leaders celebrate this amazing victory with all its dedicated clergy, partners and volunteers who organized to make this happen!

"As a pastor, I can go back to my congregation with this ruling as a victory," IndyCAN Rev. Hector Hernández told the IndyStar. "It is a concrete glimpse of hope in very uncertain times."

The order was issued despite the U.S. Justice Department demanding the Sheriff’s Office comply with ICE orders. ICE detainers can last up to 48 hours, giving ICE enough time to check immigrant’s citizenship status and/or get a warrant for their arrest even if the initial arrest was for something as minor as a traffic violation.

Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, ICE detainers in Indianapolis have more than doubled. In February, Mayor Joe Hogsett told a church full of Faith in Indy members that Indianapolis is “committed with all stakeholders to ensure that not one dime of city resources funds anything that a court has determined to be discriminatory or unconstitutional.”

Yet ICE detainers continued, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to file a lawsuit against the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Despite his past reluctance in ending ICE detainers, Marion County Sheriff John Layton told the IndyStar, “The court’s thoughtful and well-reasoned decision provides a clear path here for the nation’s sheriffs to follow.”

Read more:

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YOU are the most effective voter-turnout tactic we have

We’re looking forward to the 2018 mid-term elections with excitement and hope because we know we can shape the electorate – because we already have! A new study of the impact of Faith in Indiana’s 2016 voter engagement program proves the key ingredient to activate voters: YOU.

The evidence is overwhelming and proves that infrequent voters can take action across ideological lines, shape the issue environment and change the electorate to build governing power. The key? Relationships!

The Analyst Institute studied the Faith in Indiana’s voter-engagement campaign of 2016 and found that when Faith leaders like you reached out to friends, neighbors, and acquaintances and encouraged them to vote, the impact on voter turnout was higher than any other tactic studied in the field in the United States in 2016!

The power of relationships in movement-building is not just for progressive states. In 2016 in Indiana, a state that voted in excessively large numbers for Trump, Faith in Indy/IndyCAN put racial equity at the center of its public message, built a multi-racial coalition that crossed party lines and activated new voters to pass the most progressive public transit tax in the nation by 19 percentage points!

We need results like that in 2018. We need to tap into our relationships and bring people to the voting booths in 2018. We need you in 2018.

We have already begun meeting with legislators, and our goal is to build an army that will engage hundreds of thousands of voters in the coming months. It will take every one of us working hard, talking with friends and neighbors, and building the relationships needed to ensure running and elected officials hear us, reject hate and put families first!

You matter to Indianapolis. And you matter to Faith in Indiana. Thank you!

Download the 2016 voter-engagement campaign report "Want Mass Movement? The Messenger Matters!"



"Indiana will be one of nine states that will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate in 2018. With results like those presented in the report on our 2016 campaign, it’s clear that our model of voter-activation has proven itself for winning progressive policy change, even in the nation’s most contested regions."

-- Shoshanna Spector, Executive Director of Faith in Indiana


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Pictured above: Faith in Indy leaders meet with Senator Joe Donnelly (center) on Nov. 21 to discuss the upcoming tax bill vote and its effect on health care coverage for millions. During the meeting, he called the tax bill's sneaky attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act "a poison pill" he would not vote for.

The Senate Republicans’ tax plan is an attack on health care

The Republican tax bill truly exemplifies the reverse-Robin Hood mentality that has led to the rich getting richer in our country, while the middle class and working families get poorer. More than 60 percent of the GOP tax plan's benefits would go to the wealthiest 20 percent of households, while the bottom 20 percent would only receive around 2 percent of the benefits. Our country is already the third worst in terms of income inequality among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, and this tax plan would only make economic inequality worse.  
The Affordable Care Act
The Senate bill repeals a critical provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in order to pay for permanent tax cuts for large corporations like Apple, Pfizer and Wells Fargo. Meanwhile, the repeal would leave 13 million more people uninsured and raise premiums for ACA enrollees by 10 percent. More than 174,611 in Indiana depend on the ACA for affordable coverage. That coverage is now in jeopardy.
Medicaid and Medicare
As if repealing part of the ACA isn’t enough, the legislation adds $1 trillion to the federal deficit, which will force cuts in Medicaid and Medicare for millions of Americans. Medicare will face $25 billion in cuts next year alone because of this legislation. More than 55 million seniors and people with disabilities depend on Medicare for their health care — of those 1,150,553 are Indiana residents.  
When Tanya was diagnosed with lupus, she lost her job and her health insurance. It’s a potentially life-threatening disease, but Tanya is getting treatment because of her coverage through Medicare. Her 11-year-old daughter is healthy and out of harm’s way, thanks to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides care for 9 million kids nationwide, including 114,927 young people in Indiana.
Far from creating more jobs, this bill does the opposite. It cuts taxes on profits made offshore, encouraging even more corporations to outsource their operations. While cutting retiree health care, this tax plan will pay for tax breaks for the richest 1 percent of households and Wall Street companies that have off-shored American jobs over the last two decades and enjoyed years of bailouts and sky-high profits.
The bill will also raise taxes for many middle class families, including 67 million people making under $100,000, by eliminating or changing popular tax deductions in the existing tax code that help families lower their tax bill. That means, the middle class will pay twice — higher taxes and cuts to services while the rich and corporations get big breaks.
While senators who have talked for years about reducing the deficit and tightening our belts prepare to use this bill to give trillions of dollars away, it could have been invested in:

  • Improving our health care system
  • Increasing affordable housing
  • Improving K-12 education
  • Relieving families of the burden of college debt
  • Combatting opioid addiction
  • Rebuilding infrastructures

Let’s not get fooled. We’ve stopped the attack on health care before, and it’s up to us to do it again. The Senate and the House will have to vote on the final bill in the next two weeks.

Let’s make sure we thank those that voted against this bad deal for families – like Senator Joe Donnelly — and keep the pressure on those that voted for it, like Senator Todd Young.

Take action!

Make a call every day! Then ask your friends, co-workers and neighbors to do the same:

  • Sen. Todd Young – (202) 224-5623
  • Sen. Joe Donnelly – (202) 224-4814
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  • Faith in Indiana's recognized as national model of health equity

    Rev. Juard Barnes, community organizer for Faith in Indy, served on a panel discussing Social Determinants of Health from Science and Community Perspectives at the National Academy of Medicine’s second public stakeholder meeting on Nov. 9. The meeting was part of the Culture of Health Program, a five-year, $5 million program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to identify strategies for creating and sustaining healthy equity for all Americans. Watch a video of Juard’s panel participation.

    At the Nov. 6 American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting, Shoshanna Spector, Faith in Indiana executive director, spotlighted new research on the Impact of Mass Incarceration on Children’s Health Outcomes. The panel was a partnership project between Faith in Indiana, Early Learning Indiana and IU Health and was attended by more than 12,000 people.

  • Celebrating the success of Faith in Indiana fellow Derris Ross

    “Getting to the root of the problem and healing wounds has been a big part of my experience since I’ve been at IndyCAN/Faith in Indy — not just putting on a Band-Aid and walking away. We learn to ask difficult questions and expect to find real answers that lead to change,” explains Derris Ross, who was awarded Faith in Indy/IndyCAN’s prestigious LIVE FREE Fellowship in August.

    The fellowship is a full-time, six-month, field-intensive commitment for community leaders interested in a community organizing career.

    At 27 years old, Derris has seen 30 of his friends die due to gun violence in the Indianapolis community — two of them were shot in front of him. That’s why he’s committed to change the systemic causes of violent crime in the black community — something he believes must be understood to be successful long term. 

    And he’s not alone. Since August, Derris has been meeting one-on-one with hundreds of young people who are highly likely to shoot or be shot, to hear from them what they think is needed to keep young people alive and free, and encourage them to be part of the solution.

    Many of these young people did just that by showing up at the October LIVE FREE Youth Action event, attended by IMPD Chief Bryan Roach. At the event, Chief Roach committed to working with young people to put strategies in place that have been proven to drop homicides in cities across the nation.

    “Since working with Faith in Indy, I’ve learned to engage on a deeper level and how to strategize,” said Ross. “I believe will get us closer to decreasing crime and violence, particularly gun violence in the black community.”

    Derris’s LIVE FREE, youth-led organizing team will be meeting with Chief Roach before the end of the year to map out the steps to implement the Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership in the next six months.

  • Meet AUDREY DAVIS Faith in Indiana’s new Lead Organizer for the northeast region!

    Faith in Indiana is excited to announce its newest community organizer, Audrey Davis, who will support organizing efforts for Faith in Indiana’s newest chapters in northern Indiana.

    For the last year, Audrey has been a strong force, guiding the new effort in her role as the director of social justice ministries for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne–South Bend. Audrey holds a bachelor’s in political science and history, two years of post-graduate theological study from Italy, experience working with undocumented and migrant communities at the Catholic Worker in Louisville, Ky., and four years in the military.

    But perhaps the most impactful part of her upbringing was her childhood, Audrey says. “Growing up in northern Indiana as the second oldest of four in a single-parent household, I saw firsthand the ways poverty can diminish people’s estimation of themselves but also the hope that can prevail with a belief in God.”

  • Faith in Indy launches “Together We Give” Campaign

    Now more than ever, Faith in Indy and its Faith in Indiana partners, are battling mass incarceration, gun violence, insufficient wages and inequality. To fuel our efforts, we are working to raise $5,000 in just two weeks, between Nov. 28 and Dec. 13! We are asking every Faith in Indiana member to consider making a monthly contribution, big or small, that we can utilize as we take on incredible challenges in 2018! You can also put your love in action by creating a team page of your own and giving your friends and family members a chance to donate too.

  • Seeking volunteers for our communications team!

    Faith in Indiana is putting together a statewide communications team that will primarily staff events, while also posting regularly to social media and communicating to televisions stations and newspapers. We will provide training to our communications volunteers, prepping them for interviews and sharing Faith in Indiana news. Interested? Please contact Francine Dash at (317) 734-6642 or
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  • Dec. 19 - Strategy Team Meeting | 7 to 9 p.m. | Central Christian
  • Jan. 11 - Annual Meeting of Faith in Indiana | 7 p.m. | Location TBD
  • Feb. 9 - Faith in Action Clergy Summit - register now
  • Feb 22 - Faith in Indy/IndyCAN Leadership Assembly | Location: TBD
  • April 21 - Faith in Indiana Founding Convention | 2 p.m. | Location: TBD
  • Monthly Issue Team Meetings