IndyCAN E-newsletter, June 2016

Inside this issue

IndyCAN leaders were energized to knock on doors and begin conversations with Indianapolis residents after participating in PICO's Midwest Prophetic Voter Boot Camp on June 3.


IndyCAN leaders begin deep conversations with voters

Successful deep-canvassing exercise, part of PICO Midwest Prophetic Voter Boot Camp, shows encouraging results

On Friday, June 3, PICO and IndyCAN leaders engaged in door-to-door conversations as part of a regional training, and their efforts revealed something remarkable: 80% of the Indianapolis residents reached along the 38th Street line strongly support the expansion of transit in Indianapolis.

It was an incredible reception, one that hints to the likelihood of city-wide support for the transit-expansion measure that will be on the ballot this November. As you know, IndyCAN leaders are working hard to talk with 81,000 people and move 20,000 of them to the polls to vote YES on that transit measure.

And this was just a small number (50) of IndyCAN leaders, hitting a small number of residences (108) in a small amount of time (45 minutes).

Imagine what will happen when we hold similar efforts in much larger numbers!

This mini campaign was part of a PICO National-led Prophetic Voter Boot Camp, which was designed to prepare team leaders to build strong teams, develop clear roles for volunteers and establish goals for the voter program.

Leaders walked away from boot camp excited and confident about the upcoming election season.

Already making a difference

During the deep-canvassing (deep conversations with voters at their doorsteps) exercise we mentioned, one of IndyCAN's faithful members and canvasser Valerie Dewesse, spoke with a 59-year-old woman who was not registered to vote. As the conversation progressed, Valerie discovered that the woman was in favor of the mass transit referendum but had never voted, due to her inability to read or write.

Valerie was able to use the voter-registration app on her partner's phone to register this woman, right on her doorstep! She also promised to personally pick her up and take her to vote in November.

Even in its earliest stages, the IndyCAN Prophetic Voter Program is making a difference!


{ return to top }


IndyCAN leaders kick off program to get 20,000 voters to the polls

Dozens of IndyCAN leaders came together Tuesday, June 7, to build energy and excitement around a plan that will ultimately bring tens of thousands of marginalized voters to the polls for the upcoming general election.

“Our voices will bring America from good to great!” exclaimed Rev. Richard Willoughby, pastor of Promise Land Christian Church, as the group kicked off IndyCAN’s voter-engagement program. “All of us know what oppression looks like, and some even know what it feels like. We must vote and encourage as many people as we can to vote — because our voices do matter.”

The leaders who attended the assembly were given the tools they need to launch the house-meeting portion of the program. They learned how easy and powerful it can be to start from square one and build an army of over 2,000 volunteers who will talk with their neighbors, fellow parishioners, friends and community members about why their votes matter.

Ultimately, IndyCAN leaders aim to have 81,000 conversations this summer and fall, bringing 20,000 voters to the polls.

By the end of the assembly, leaders had already pledged to hold 26,272 conversations that will move voters to speak out against over-incarceration and lack of access to opportunity.

Those voters will use their collective voices to:

  • pass the transit-expansion referendum on the ballot this November — with at least 15 percent of the 175,000 votes needed to win coming from IndyCAN-empowered voters
  • put a plan in place to drop Marion County’s incarceration rate by 20 percent by 2018 (in partnership with Mayor Joe Hogsett and Sheriff John Layton), through diversion programs for the mentally ill, addicted and low-level, non-violent offenders.

The deadline for building your congregation’s or group’s volunteer army is July 28!

Teams will report on their base-building goals and prepare to launch the active fall voter-engagement program at the next Leadership Assembly, which will take place on Thursday, July 28, at 7 p.m. at North United Methodist Church (3808 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis).

It’s not too late to get involved with the program.

In fact, IndyCAN needs EVERY ONE of its congregations and leaders involved in order to make a vitally important investment in opportunity by activating voters this fall. If you missed the assembly, call our office at (317) 759-3370 or email Shoshanna Spector, executive director, to get involved right away!

Looking for more details about how to make this program work within your congregation? Check out the Ticket to Opportunity Congregational Toolkit.

(Above) IndyCAN Executive Director Shoshanna Spector, left, and Andrew Kling tally the congregations' combined commitment by IndyCAN leaders who were present at the assembly. (Below) Pastor John Davis of Sanders Temple Church of God in Christ and fellow IndyCAN leaders begin to map out a voter-engagement strategy at the Leadership Assembly on June 7.


{ return to top }


Get the tools you need to lead a successful volunteer voter program!

IndyCAN has all of the tools you need to lead a successful volunteer voter program within your congregation or partner organization. By using the tools we have gathered in The Ticket to Opportunity Congregational Toolkit, you will be prepared to easily lead your own piece of the IndyCAN volunteer army!

The Ticket to Opportunity Congregational Toolkit contains:

  • A campaign overview
  • Theological reflection
  • Goals
  • Steps to success
  • A checklist of how your congregation can get involved
  • Key dates for your prophetic congregation plan
  • Key trainings to prepare prophetic voter teams
  • Sample house meeting agenda, tips and guidelines
  • Worksheets for congregations and leaders
  • The Ticket to Opportunity platform
  • Sample IndyCAN credential
  • Sample messages
  • Answers to common questions
  • Voter registration application
  • Bus Rider Faith Walk planning guide and sample conversation
  • Graphics and memes for social media

Download the Ticket to Opportunity Congregational Toolkit right away!

{ return to top }


Watch the Ticket to Opportunity video

Our new video is full of personal stories of those whose lives have been affected by a limited transit system in Indianapolis. They are just a small number of the thousands of Hoosiers whose lives will be made better with an expanded mass transit system in Indianapolis.

Transit is the engine of racial and economic opportunity this city needs. As faith leaders, we believe that every child of God deserves an equal opportunity to access to work, health care, houses of worship, and school.

This is why we do what we do!

{ return to top }


IndyCAN leader Erick Gamma speaks from the heart about loving every one of God's children at the Interfaith Vigil Against Violence.


IndyCAN, other faith leaders call for action on gun control at Interfaith Vigil Against Violence

Days after the nation’s worst mass shooting in history, IndyCAN faith leaders gathered with community partners — including IndyPride, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Christ Church Cathedral (CCC) — for an Interfaith Vigil Against Violence.

The purpose was twofold:

  • To recognize the victims and honor their lives
  • To demand that public officials take action and do something tangible to remove killing machines from civilian hands.

Faith leaders and IndyCAN LGBTQ families, in all their diversity, stand against a culture of hate — one that diminishes, dehumanizes, justifies and accepts the senseless death of God’s children.

Erick Gamma, IndyCAN leader and CCC vestry (board) member, admits the fear is gripping. “Walking along the city street, I go to grab the hand of my love, only to have the fear of attack wash over me. … This terror has not gone away,” he said during the vigil.

Gamma and Rev. Zoila Manzanares-Cole, also of CCC, read the names of all 49 individuals who died during the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on Sunday, June 12. At the same time, 49 people lit a candle for each victim who died, as their photos were displayed in the background.

Afterward, the Very Rev. Stephen Carlsen, dean of CCC, told WRTV 6 news, “I feel like I’m part of the problem if I just help people mourn through (violent events). It’s no longer enough. We have to do something about it. We are going to be calling our elected officials to implement common-sense gun reform to limit the ability for deranged, hateful people to have a means of killing dozens of people at a time. That just cannot happen.”

This kind of tragedy is a solemn reminder of why our work is important. We stand together against hate and violence targeted at individuals based on their sexual orientation, race, religion or other differences. All children of God deserve to LIVE FREE!

Thank you for the work you do for IndyCAN. Keep following your moral standards, and show the rest of the world that everyone should do the same. Keep praying. Keep loving. May God bless you all.

Media coverage of the Interfaith Vigil Against Violence


{ return to top }


Immigrants, faith leaders respond to Supreme Court's split decision to delay relief for immigrant families

"My dreams are shattered. This decision means my family will continue to live in fear," Andres Mares told reporters at a news conference organized by IndyCAN immigrant and faith leaders just hours after the Supreme Court's 4-4 decision, at best, delayed much-needed, temporary relief for immigrant families and, at worst, leaves us in limbo until a new Supreme Court justice is appointed. 

The stakes in this case were extremely high, especially in this atmosphere of dangerous racialized politics and anti-immigrant sentiment. The Court's ruling undermines our human dignity and ultimately promotes unjust deportation policies and the senseless separation of families. It is unacceptable that our families continue to live in fear of raids and deporation. 

Our faith values, our future and our votes matter. IndyCAN will resist the Supreme Court decsion, and all hatred toward our families with a new movement of faith voters. We have the power to make sure our priorities become law in November, we will be at the polls to elect pro-immigrant leaders in Indiana and the nation.  

IndyCAN's Immigration Team will be updating congregations at services over the weekend. For more information, contact Bethy Puerto (in Engish or Spanish) by email.

Media coverage

{ return to top }


We have a lot of work to do for our city's most vulnerable residents in the coming months. Plan to be present as we plan key strategies surrounding our  prophetic-voter campaign.

Congregation teams will be reporting their base-building goals and successes and preparing to launch the fall voter program at the next Leadership Assembly.

Special guest Rev. Dr. Stephen G. Ray. Garrett, Theological Seminary, will share 'Salvific Significance of Voting' to inform a faith-filled narrative that counters the hate that has characterized this election season. Register now!

{ return to top }