Newsletter – February & March 2021

February & March 2021

When Hoosier Action began, we said we wanted to create an Indiana we deserve by holding Hoosier elected officials accountable for the decisions they make that impact our lives. During the legislative session of 2021, we have been doing just that by amplifying our member stories at the Statehouse (not an easy task during a pandemic!), meeting with legislators online and in person, and speaking out against behavior unfitting for elected officials. 

Our member-leaders have done A LOT of work in the past two months, but our elected officials are still not heeding our voices. That’s why we’re going back to the statehouse on March 23rd:

Join us for a socially-distanced vigil at the Statehouse or online to mourn everyone and everything we’ve lost in the past year and to hold our legislators accountable to what we need. Together we will share our stories, honor our losses, and call on the Indiana General Assembly to ensure that all Hoosiers, whether we are Black, white, or brown, are able to recover from this crisis. 

We must come together now across race and place to demand that all of us have what we need to get and stay well. We deserve a state where our elected officials reflect our values and  govern for all of us, no exceptions. The future is what we do together. Join us to make the future of Indiana.

What Else We’ve Been Up To

Developing our Legislative Priorities
Launching our 2021 Legislative Agenda

On February 3rd, we went live on Facebook to publicly announce our legislative agenda and mailed copies of the agenda to every single member of the Indiana General Assembly.  At the launch, we shared our stories, what bills we are fighting for, and what bills we want to stop.

With support from our Research Team, member-leaders identified and prioritized legislation, and have been tracking it throughout the session. Our teams have also been advocating for themselves and mobilizing their neighbors to participate in the legislative process. 

Testifying at the Statehouse

Pregnant Worker Accommodations

We have fought for the past three years to win protections for pregnant workers and new moms at work. So, when we found out that the House had scheduled a hearing for a woefully inadequate version of the bill (HB1309), we sprang into action. 

With very short notice and severe winter storm warnings, Moms Chapter Organizer Eva Bell traveled to the statehouse to testify. During her powerful three-minute testimony, she shared some of the hundreds of stories we’d collected from Hoosier Moms and explained why “HB 1309 doesn’t cut it.” Her testimony captured the attention of legislators and media, and shaped the public narrative about the bill by garnering dozens of statewide and national media hits. Watch the video of her powerful testimony above.

Protecting Hoosier Homes & Moms – A Day of Action (2/10/2021)

Hoosiers Speak Out

On Wednesday, February 10th, Hoosier Action members from Fort Wayne to Jeffersonville organized an impactful press conference and day of action at the Statehouse with the Indianapolis Urban League and Clark County CARES to call on the Indiana General Assembly to protect Hoosier homes, moms, and babies.

Interview

April Lopossa speaks with RTV6’s Stephanie Wade.

Coverage of the press conference was captured by Stephanie Wade of RTV6, and picked up nationally by Yahoo News.

I want a bill that is legitimately going to protect pregnant workers, not one that just looks like it might on the surface. 
  ~ April Lopossa (Martinsville) Hoosier Action Moms Chapter

Day of Action at the Statehouse

After the press conference, members met with dozens of state legislators and their aides as well as Douglas Huntsinger, the Indiana Drug Czar. Members shared their experiences and discussed our legislative priorities. Simultaneously, other members engaged remotely via Zoom and Facebook to continue conversations, amplify our message, and reach out to our neighbors across the state via text message.

Member Jeni Hamilton and her daughter meet Douglas Huntsinger, Indiana’s Drug Czar

On February 17th the Indiana House of Representatives voted to override the Governor’s veto of SEA 148, a decision which will worsen Indiana’s housing crisis and increase homelessness during a global pandemic and bitterly cold winter weather, and to pass HB 1309, a pregnancy accommodation bill which fails to provide actual protections for pregnant workers. 

Over the course of the Indiana General Assembly so far Hoosier Action member-leaders have contacted over 100,000 Hoosiers, coordinated over 350 constituent calls and emails from Hoosiers across the state to their legislators, surveyed over 165 Hoosier working Moms, held a press conference and day of action at the statehouse, and met with over 50 legislators and their legislative assistants to discuss these bills.

Olivia Underwood, a Hoosier Action leader from Carmel, shared her concerns about the impact of SEA 148 on the 30% of Hoosiers who rent with the press: “We currently live in one of the most affordable rental communities in Carmel. I have seen as many as five neighboring families in my apartment building alone forced to move due to the sudden financial burden of COVID-19. People in my community are struggling to maintain housing, losing loved ones, being laid off, and being ignored in their time of need by a government that seems more concerned with whether businesses profit than whether people survive.” 

Hoosier Action leader Samantha Kern joined Hoosier Action because her employer failed to provide her with accommodations on the job, leading to a miscarriage. She was disappointed with her Representative: “This bill does not provide solid, concrete guidelines for employees or employers. There is an inherent balancing act that comes with pregnancy and motherhood in the workplace. Women aren’t asking for special privileges. They’re just asking to not have to choose between their health (and the health of their children) and their jobs.” 

To protect Hoosier Moms, babies, and families we ask that if the Senate moves forward with HB 1309 they meaningfully amend it to provide real protections, and that the Indiana General Assembly move quickly to pass legislation to counterbalance and fix the dangerous loopholes in SEA 148. 

Federal Relief

NATIONAL TOWN HALL

On February 25th, Hoosier Action Moms leader April Lopossa from Martinsville joined other organizations like Hoosier Action from around the country for a powerful town hall with Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Bernie Sanders. 

At the Town Hall April shared the story of her father’s loss, and called for the federal relief to include evidence-based solutions to stop overdose and save lives.

“My father struggled with addiction for my entire life, and most of his. We should not be incarcerating people for drug use, we need deeper investment in compassionate responses to the overdose crisis and drug use by investing in harm reduction services. This relief package is so important but it’s just a first step.
We need a system that saves lives.”

– April Lopossa (Martinsbille), Hoosier Moms Chapter

JoinTech Team

Nate Magnan, our Data and Tech Manager, is looking for volunteers interested in helping provide tech support for Hoosier Action. If you’re interested in joining our tech team, email Nate at tech@hoosieraction.org.

Upcoming Events

Reclaim Our Future: Vigil & Call to Action for All Hoosiers

March 23, 2021
11 AM – 1 PM ET

Join us at the Statehouse or online on Tuesday, March 23rd
for an outdoor, socially distanced vigil and action!
Register and share the event to help us have a BIG turnout: 

Weekly recurring through March:

All of our public events can be found at www.hoosieraction.org/events.
Register for an event to receive further information and/or the Zoom link. 

Hoosier Moms Virtual Coffee Hour
Join us for our digital parents coffee hour on Zoom! This coffee hour is for parents to connect, build community, and talk about our future together.

Action Parties every Wednesday/Thursday
Join us each Wednesday and/or Thursday evening throughout the month of March to take action as the Legislative Session is starting! (Or hop on to join an open workspace for issue committee work)

 

To build a brighter Indiana for all of us, we need your support. Help transform Indiana with just a few clicks by becoming a dues-paying member, making a contribution to fund our work, or following and amplifying our message on social media.