IndyCAN E-newsletter, May 2016



A group of IndyCAN leaders and others pray before the City-County Council vote for transit on May 9.

Victory! IndyCAN celebrates transit win!

Council agrees to let voters decide on dedicated funding to expand transit 

This November, Indianapolis residents will have an opportunity to vote on a ballot measure that will expand transit, tripling access to jobs, in Indianapolis — and IndyCAN, you were a big part of making it happen.

IndyCAN leaders, along with bus riders and other faith leaders from diverse traditions, held prayer vigils ahead of two key votes by the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council on April 26 and May 9. On those dates, the Council Rules Committee and full council, respectively, voted to allow the measure to be added to the ballot for Marion County voters in the general election this fall.

The prayer vigils and council votes came after months of IndyCAN leaders’ efforts to move the measure forward, garnering support from key stakeholders and increasing community awareness of the benefits of a strong regional transit system.

"Mass transit is one of the most promising racial equity investments we currently have on the table," said Rev. Mel Jackson, IndyCAN Pastor. "The transit plan nearly triples the number of hard-hit families who will be able to access jobs. It will also generate thousands of new jobs for struggling neighborhoods.”

IndyCAN leaders and members of IndyCAN’s Ticket to Opportunity Coalition (a group of more than 60 organizations united to support the development of mass transit in Indianapolis) celebrate the passing of both votes as an historic step toward healing segregated opportunity and investing in a strong regional transit system.

“This is measure is about boosting our economy and improving people’s lives,” said Rev. Linda McCrae, IndyCAN pastor at Central Christian Church.

Support for mass transit is more than just buses and trains; it’s about building a region where everyone thrives. Similar programs in other cities have generated tens of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in new economic activity. The expansion program will build businesses; connect local residents to jobs, health care and education; and help to balance racially segregated access to opportunity in Indianapolis.

We are proud to stand alongside the City-County Council and support Indianapolis' push for a better transit system for our residents — and we thank the Council for its vote!

What’s next in transit

  • Ballot Referendum. As a result of these two successful council votes, the November general election ballots will include an opportunity for voters to decide whether or not to approve the significant expansion and improvement of regional transit options in central Indiana.
  • IndyGo continues its work, with IndyCAN’s involvement, to develop a targeted-hiring program that creates pathways to employment for thousands of people who have been isolated from good jobs, including returning citizens and disadvantaged communities.

It's time to get to work!

Plan to be at the next IndyCAN Leadership Assembly on June 7, when we will kick off our prophetic voter program. We won the first victory; now we need to move voters to the polls and win the next! Be part of the planning and strategy educate voters before Election Day.

Check out the coverage:


Photo courtesy: Mayor Hogsett's YouTube Channel, official posting of the State of the City address, screen shot.

Another victory! Mayor commits to criminal justice reform

Congratulations! Because of you, our families devastated by the pain of over-incarceration are seen as fully human. Instead of talk of "more criminals, bigger jails" headlining the public narrative just a year ago, a new conversation is taking center stage: "It's time to stop Indy's misuse of jails." This is a major victory for all of us at IndyCAN — and every resident of Indianapolis!

In his first State of the City address on May 11, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett joined the fight we all have been fighting — a fight for Jobs Not Jails. It’s a fight for diverting would-be prisoners to addiction and mental-health treatment instead of detention, for pre-trial services and alternative sentencing for low-level, non-violent inmates — all of which add up to a fight for equal inclusion of Indianapolis’ neighbo in our society.

As you know, IndyCAN is deeply committed to ending the misuse of jails. In the past year, we helped put the brakes on a multi-million dollar jail expansion. The mayor’s inclusion of this major topic in his address is further evidence that we are turning the tide of the debate to focus on treatment and diversion strategies, rather than a bigger jail.

“Let me be as clear as I can possibly be,” said Mayor Hogsett. “Our criminal justice system is broken — and merely adding more space to house more people isn’t the answer.”

Instead, he issued an executive order creating the City of Indianapolis Criminal Justice Reform Taskforce to review and make recommendations on how to fix the broken system. Those recommendations, he said, must focus on strategies to divert mentally ill and addicted arrestees to treatment rather than jail, and pre-trial services that will keep non-violent, low-level offenders at home instead of behind bars. And he’s requested the final recommendations from the taskforce by the end of the calendar year.

Mayor Hogsett has taken a moral stand for thousands of Hoosier families directly impacted by the pain of over-incarceration, vowing criminal justice reform this year. His commitment to make criminal justice reform focus on treatment rather than incarceration is a major victory for all of us working to change the system to reflect redemption over retribution and corporate greed.

We thank the mayor for his great leadership and look forward to working with him in the coming months.

It will take all of us in order to further victory!

Moving forward, we must all work together to ensure the formerly incarcerated have a voice in the city's criminal justice reform strategy. Join us at the next IndyCAN Live Free meeting, May 26, at 7 p.m. at St. Anthony Catholic Church. Together we will strategize on how we move forwart to fix the broken criminal justice system. Be there!

More about this victory


DAPA/DACA enters Supreme Court

President Obama’s executive actions implementing DAPA and DACA (the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) have been frozen since February 2015, awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision about whether the programs are constitutional.

An earlier, lower-court ruling — in a case pursued by attorneys general in the state of Texas and 25 other states, including Indiana — prevents nearly five million undocumented immigrants from gaining protection by DAPA and DACA. The programs protect these individuals from deportation and authorize them to gain lawful employment via work permits.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in January 2016 and heard oral arguments in the case (United States v. Texas) on April 18. A decision could come as early as May, but is more likely at the end of June of this year.

What happens if the justices can't agree?

With Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016, the Court is evenly divided: four conservative justices and four liberal justices. As a result, it is possible that the Court will be evenly divided in its decision on this case, resulting in a tie.

If the Court issues a definitive decision and it’s a tie, no change will take effect; the lower court’s decision, blocking DAPA and expanded DACA, would stand. Recipients of the original DACA relief, however, will continue to be protected.

It is possible, however, that the Court would decide to retake the case after a new justice is named to the Court. That is expected to happen after the election of a new president; the case could then be reheard early next year.

IndyCAN continues to partner with PICO National Network, Catholic Charities and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis to defend immigrant rights, protect immigrants from being separated from their families through deportation and increasing access to higher education and employment. We’ll keep you posted on further developments in the United States v. Texas Supreme Court decision.



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In case you missed it  |  From the April issue

Who does what?
Understanding staff roles

If you missed the last newsletter, you might have missed this important piece of information. The short story is below, but if you want a more detailed list of responsibilities, see the related article in the April issue of the IndyCAN e-newsletter.


Rev. Juard Barnes, Community Organizer

  • Congregations on Indianapolis’ Westside
  • LIVE/FREE Campaign to end mass incarceration and gun violence (aka Jobs Not Jails)
  • Clergy Council partner
Stacia Murphy, Community Organizer
  • Congregations on Indianapolis’ Eastside
  • Economic Dignity Campaign, including Transit Expansion
Shoshanna Spector, Executive Director
  • Executive oversight and direction
  • Relationships with congregations, clergy, board and strategic partners
  • Fund development
  • Prophetic Leaders Institute
Nicole Barnes, Operations Manager
  • Targeting & data organizing
  • Office operations — financial compliance, human resources, technology, communications support, executive support
  • Grassroots fundraising campaign

Additionally, IndyCAN uses contracted communications support

  • Corie Farnsley, CorComm Creative: Digital and print communications, e-newsletter, website content management
  • Andrew Kling, communications consultant: Messaging strategy and media relations support

Indianapolis Congregation
Action Network (IndyCAN!)
337 N. Warman Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
(317) 759-3370



About IndyCAN. IndyCAN is a non-partisan, multi-faith, multi-ethnic organization and is not aligned explicitly or implicitly with any candidate or party. We do not endorse or support candidates for office. IndyCAN works to improve the quality of life for residents of the Indianapolis Region.

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