IndyCAN E-newsletter, June 2017


En Espanol



Minor Clemente tells the audience at the prayer vigil that he was held for four days by ICE — for a traffic stop. Yuri Rodriguez (to Minor's right) translates Minor's remarks for the bilingual crowd. 

IndyCAN to city leaders: End illegal ICE detainers!

In just three months after President Donald Trump took office in January, the number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers executed locally skyrocketed — 240 percent.

During the same time in 2016 (January through March), 43 people were incarcerated on the basis of ICE detainer requests. In 2017, the number was 142.

This is unacceptable, and our community needs to know about it. In fact, our community must be boldly against it!

Taking action

IndyCAN leaders gathered at City Market June 15, sang together, chanted and marched somberly through the streets of downtown Indianapolis, and ultimately gathered at Christ Church Cathedral on Monument Circle for a prayer service to lift up the families being torn apart by illegal ICE detainers and to urge an immediate end to this practice in Marion County Jail.

The Indiana Supreme Court has declared the local sheriff’s department’s actions holding undocumented immigrants on ICE detainer requests without cause unlawful.

What’s more, Mayor Joe Hogsett promised the city that "not one dime” of city resources would be spent on those illegal or unconstitutional ICE holds. Yet the Marion County Sheriff’s Department continues to do so. Local resources are being used.

“In a city with one of the highest homicide rates, police resources should focus on preventing crimes — not extending beyond the call of duty to tear families apart,” said Rev. Hector Hernandez, pastor at New Creation Church. “It’s time for courageous action that puts an end to this practice and puts families first.”

More to come

It is time for city leaders to take bold, swift, and moral action to end ICE detainers, and put families first. The faith community, united through IndyCAN, will continue to stand united to protect vulnerable families who are being held by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department without cause.

Read more

(Above) Rev. Hector Hernandez, left, prays during the vigil to end illegal ICE detainers.

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Sister Tracey Horan laughs during a presentation to IndyCAN leaders at the June Leadership Assembly. She has been awarded the Cardinal Bernadin New Leadership Award for her work leading community members to action for social justice.

IndyCAN’s Sister Tracey Horan receives national Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award

At just 29 years of age, Sister Tracey Horan has established herself as a deeply respected religious and community activist, fighting for social justice. On June 14, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) recognized Sister Tracey’s work by honoring her with the 2017 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award, an award that honors faith-filled Catholics between the ages of 18 and 40 who have demonstrated leadership against poverty and injustice in the United States.

Sister Tracey is one of the newest members of the Sisters of Providence based at St. Mary-of-the-Woods, having just recently (June 25) taken her first vows of “poverty, chastity and obedience." Although originally graduating college to become a middle school math teacher, she chose to enter religious life in 2014. Today, she serves as a community organizer for IndyCAN and the Justice for Immigrants Campaign of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

“Society yearns for courageous, prophetic leaders who are prepared to inspire, speak out and support the most marginalized,” Shoshanna Spector, executive director of IndyCAN, told the Indianapolis Star. “Sister Tracey is this person.”

Sister Tracey’s award was presented to her during the two-day General Assembly of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, just one day after Pope Francis named Bishop Charles Thompson as the new Archbishop of Indianapolis.

Even amidst these exciting events, the Catholic archdiocese’s prayer and support of Sister Tracey and the IndyCAN mission was evident. The day after the award recognition ceremony, Sister Tracey continued her community by supporting immigrant leaders to host a prayer vigil to end unlawful ICE detainers. (See story above.) While IndyCAN held vigil at the City-County building, Catholic Bishops from across the nation at the USCCB General Assembly held them in prayer and lifted their mission.

Sister Tracey expressed her heartfelt thanks for the support and prayers as IndyCAN continues to fight for the fair treatment of immigrants. Read Sister Tracey’s acceptance speech.

Related Articles

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IndyCAN and other community leaders lay on the sidewalk in front of the Federal Building in Indianapolis in a visual display of the morbid effects of proposed health care legislation.

IndyCAN to senators: Put families first, and reject proposal to strip 'health care for wealth care'!

The U.S. Senate released a draft of its plan to replace the Affordable Care Act last week, and it is miles away from healthy. Much like the U.S. House’s plan released earlier, the plan will ultimately strip health care insurance away from more than 22 million people in this country.

It will also slash Medicaid for seniors, children, people with disabilities and families trying to make ends meet. While the Senate’s bill reduces the number of people who will lose health coverage by one million (22 million will lose it, instead of 23 million in the House bill), the Senate bill’s Medicaid cuts would exceed those of the House bill.

It is not only the least of these who will suffer. With the Republicans’ plan, premiums will go through the roof, people with pre-existing conditions will be put back at the mercy of private insurance companies, and insurers will be able to opt out of coverage for essential benefits like prescription drugs, mental health and maternity care,” said Minister Jamie Hinson Rieger, Co-chair of IndyCAN Strategy Team and Pastor at Unitarian Universalist of Indianapolis

“All of this to give more than $600 billion in tax breaks to the people who need it the least — big drug and insurance companies and a handful of wealthy households.”

Two-thirds of American voters do not support this legislation. IndyCAN urges Republican Senators to work with Democrats to lower costs, expand coverage and make sure that all families have quality, affordable care. “Politicians who fail this test will face the moral and political consequences of their deadly choices,” said Minister Rieger.

Background and what’s next

IndyCAN, local and national health care experts, faith leaders and Hoosiers whose insurance hangs in the balance hosted a national press call to urge President Trump to stop undermining America’s health insurance markets. The President must commit to continuing the federal payments that make health care affordable for millions in Indiana and across the country.

The Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as Obamacare) keeps health care costs manageable for Americans in large part because it allows federal cost-sharing payments to insurers who participate in the Health Care Marketplace. These cost-sharing payments reduce the amount families have to pay for deductibles, copayments and other out-of-pocket expenses.

President Trump has refused to definitively state whether the government will continue to fund these payments, forcing insurers to raise rates or stop selling coverage. The result will be the drastic slashing of health care coverage nationwide, including 70,000 Hoosiers. It will also wreak havoc on one-sixth of the economy, according to recent studies on the topic.

A Kaiser Family Foundation study estimates that rates would need to increase by 19 percent in order to compensate for the loss of the payments.

“Our beliefs tell us that we have a responsibility to look after the poor,” says Rev. Darren Cushman Wood, pastor of North United Methodist Church. “So it’s truly a shame to see those sitting in the highest offices on Capitol Hill claiming to be Christian, while turning their backs on people in need in their communities.”

Keep up the pressure to Put Families First

“If we do not keep up the pressure on Congress, we will lose our neighbors to serious chronic illnesses like mine,” says Derris Ross, an IndyCAN leader with The Ross Foundation, who has a rare and chronic lung disease that requires frequent hospitalization and prevents him from maintaining consistent work. Derris would lose Medicaid coverage if the Republicans’ health care bill passes.

The proposed Republican plan removes protections for those who, like Derris, have pre-existing conditions. The extremely high premiums would prevent Derris from being able to see his lung specialist, allergist, dermatologist and primary care physician — all of which are needed on a regular basis to keep his condition stable.

Yesterday, IndyCAN stood in solidarity with the 28,000 people that will die every day if the Republican replacement of the Affordable Care Act is passed with a Health Care Die-in at the Birch Bayh Federal Building in Indianapolis. Wearing black and holding tombstones with messages like “Coverage Denied: RIP,” “I chose rent over medical care” and “Treatable disease, no insurance,” faith leaders bore witness to the impending death sentance by laying on the lawn like dead bodies in a graveyard — a visible message we hope Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young (whose office is in that building) will not ignore.

Keep the pressure on our leaders! Call Senator Todd Young at
(202) 224-5623. Tell him to reject the Republican health care plan.

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IndyCAN representatives head to Barcelona for global Fearless Cities Summit

On June 9, IndyCAN organizer Rev. Juard Barnes and activist Carolyn Higginbotham were among thousands of people from 180 countries packed into a public square in Barcelona to start the Fearless Cities Summit.

The summit promised (and proved) to be a powerful weekend of strategizing on how to build a global network of solidarity and hope in the face of politically charged hate. The agenda included political debate, policy exchange and workshops featuring mayors and councilors sharing their visions for creating fearless cities that benefit working families.

“I was blessed to have been able to attend this conference with incredible organizers and leaders from countries all over the world,” said Barnes. “It was a lot of work by a lot of brilliant and dedicated people packed into five days, but I left inspired and ready to get back to Indianapolis and roll up my sleeves.”

Barnes and Higginbotham attended with a number of different IndyCAN-affiliated groups, including other members of the Indiana delegation and PICO National Network.

Fear and violence make conferences like this a priority.

On June 16, 2017, Officer Jeronimo Yanez was found “not guilty on all counts” for the July 2016 murder of Minnesota resident and Saint Paul Public School District employee Philando Castile, an African-American man who was shot seven times by Yanez after being pulled over for a traffic stop. The video footage of the incident, taken by Castile’s girlfriend who was present in the vehicle along with her 4-year-old daughter, sparked protests and national outrage.

This senseless tragedy — and the resulting "not-guilty" verdict — is proof among countless accounts on why conferences like the Fearless Cities Summit are needed. Educational conferences foster real-life discussions and enable city leaders to take a step back, evaluate current conditions, learn from others and see how change can be fostered.

As fear and violence continue to fester in our country, IndyCAN pledges to continue its fight for the fair treatment of immigrants and people of color. IndyCAN is committed to ensuring that every political party prioritizes policies that put families and equality first. This includes participating in educational events like this that help us focus our efforts.

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Welcome, Rosie Bryant! Rosie has joined the IndyCAN staff as the Culture of Health Community Organizer. She was an intern with Jobs With Justice, holds a master’s degree in social work and has volunteered her time with Unite HERE, AmeriCorps and Sierra Club.

Rosie will be working with congregations on the west and north sides of Indianapolis. She will also be leading IndyCAN’s work on protecting our nation’s health care, and will be part of the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) research project that is looking at the intersection of mass incarceration and early childhood education.

Related: Robert Wood Johnson research background

Research: How kids’ health suffers when parents go to jail.” NPR News.

We're seeking a communications director/digital organizer. Know someone? The person who fills this full-time staff position should want faith, race and power at the center of community conversation; be confident in communicating across a variety of mediums; have a passion for justice; and desire to shape the moral compass of Indiana by elevating the voice of marginalized people. Know someone who might be interested? Please help us spread the news far and wide! Learn more and apply.

Hiring LIVE FREE fellows. Apply by July 15. These full-time, four-month, field-intensive positions are for community leaders interested in careers in trauma-related community organizing.  Fellows will engage the small number of youth who are most at risk of either being victims or perpetrators of gun violence, connect them to concrete alternatives, and organize with them and those who love them for systemic change that puts the dignity of black and brown lives at the center. Apply at or contact Nicole Barnes at You can also learn more on our website.

Leadership Assembly marked start of summer listening campaign. At the Leadership Assembly in June, IndyCAN launched a summer Families-First Listening Campaign. IndyCAN congregations compiled a plan to speak with at least 1,000 families in our congregations about how the recent political attacks on health care, immigration, families and criminal justice reform could or do personally affect Hoosier families. At the next assembly on Sept. 12, congregations will report back, and together we will make plans to urge our elected officials to prioritize a favorable policy agenda in these areas.

(Above) At the Leadership Assembly, Ed Ball talks with another IndyCAN leader about plans to talk with families impacted by the current administration's proposed legislation, illegal ICE detainers and other issues that tear families apart.

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Clergy, committee, team and board members:
Update your calendars!

The full calendar for 2017 has been updated on the IndyCAN website. Please take a moment and update your own calendar with all important dates. Thank you!

Standing Events

  • Strategy Team Meeting | Thursday, July 20, 7 p.m. | St. Monica's Catholic Church
    Address: 6131 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN 46228
  • Clergy Council | Thursday, August 24, 10 a.m. | Location TBD.
  • Leadership Assembly | Tuesday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m. | Location TBD.