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News / Articles

Newsletter - December 2022

LWVIN | Published on 12/16/2021



We wish you and your family a peaceful and joyful holiday season!
Barb, Linda and Pam

LEAGUE DAY AT THE STATEHOUSE 2022

Make plans now to attend, masked and socially distanced, while we highlight our advocacy for League priorities. Listen, learn, lunch—and talk to your legislators!

This will be an IN-PERSON event. All participants should be fully vaccinated.

Registration is required but free. An optional box lunch from Panera Bread is available for $15.

Register here:
In advance, you’ll receive LWVIN advocates’ updates about what bills have been or are in the process of being introduced and be able to schedule time to meet with your legislators.

We will once again have the Indiana State Library room where we will have speakers on major issues coming up in the 2022 legislature (voter rights, public education, and redistricting), launch our Democracy Hanging by a Thread Quilt project, and offer an optional box lunch from Panera Bread to participants. We will have advocacy information for participants and suggestions for their meetings with their legislators.

The tentative schedule opens with registration at 9:30 Eastern, Indiana State Library, 2nd floor

Speakers are scheduled 10:00-11:00 Eastern
Lunch will be delivered to the Library at 11:45 Eastern
Meetings with legislators can be scheduled anytime during the day but we recommend 11:00-3:00 Eastern

To increase our visibility, a League table will be set up in the Statehouse during the day. Both adopted and citizen-drawn proposed legislative district maps will be on display, and petitions for voter rights actions will be available to sign. Make a point to stop at the table!

Speakers include:

Terry Spradlin, Executive Director of the Indiana School Boards Association, will be speaking about the pros and cons of making school boards partisan.

Ken Jones, chair of the voter services committee for the LWV of Greater Lafayette and co-chair of the Voter Services Coordinating Committee for LWV of Indiana. He will be presenting recommendations along with the complete election report he introduced at Convention.

Julia Vaughn & Linda Hanson, All IN for Democracy Coalition for Redistricting Reform, will outline the options for reform going forward.

HAVE YOU WANTED TO TAKE ACTION, BUT CAN'T AFFORD THE SPECIFIC ACTION?
You too can utilize the LWVUS Voting Rights Grant - $6,000


The VSCC and LWVIN Board have approved the following grant swhich promote Federal Voting Rights information and current legislative bill education:

Fort Wayne (Betsy Kachmar): Voter Education Kits target High School Government Teachers & Students, including an offer to provide a classroom presentation.

Montgomery County (Myra Dunn Abbott): An underrepresented Hispanic community will be informed of their federal voting rights and current legislation of importance to them through Spanish language publications.

We need to have additional Local Leagues evaluate how they may use these funds. All applications must be submitted by January 30, 2022. Each local may request a total of $500 in grant funding. After January 2022 we will evaluate the amount of funds unused and allocate any available funds to new or current projects at levels to utilize the complete $6,000 of funding available.

The Local League Grant spending must be completed with a finale spending report by April 25, 2022.

Local Leagues may utilize this grant by submitting an Approval Form found HEREUnder LWVIN Forms (Projects) click on Application Form - Voting Rights Grants Only then click on Download Excel file.

General Principles: Current Federal voting rights information and federal legislation communication and support.

This grant is to assist IN and local leagues with promoting democracy through current Federal voting rights education and future reform through Federal legislation action and public engagement. LWVIN will use this project to increase the League’s capacity to build and sustain effective social movements; build state capacity to advance the League’s policy goals including voter protection, democracy, and election reform; and build programs that incorporate transformational elements including Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative goals that support long-term sustainability and further the campaign for Making Democracy Work.

Patrice Waidner, LWVIN Voter Services Advocate

2023 BUDGET, CLUBEXPRESS, AND PMP UDATE
FY2023 Budget

The Budget Committee will be starting its work on the FY2023 budget soon. Any suggestions can be sent to State Treasurer Tom Gardiner at treasurer@lwvin.org.

ClubExpress

Congratulations to LWV of Greater Lafayette which is now live on their ClubExpress platform. They can be found at leaguelafayette.org.

Also congratulations to LWV of Fort Wayne Area which will be going live on January 14th.

PMP update

Just a reminder: The membership count date is coming up on January 31. The number and type of members listed on the LWVUS national roster on that date are used to determine PMP billing for both the state and national PMP .

PMP statements, based on the January 31 count, will be sent in late June from the state and in late July from national.

If your league is not on ClubExpress, be sure you have updated your data on the national roster before January 31. For those on ClubExpress, the Connector project is moving along well and should provide automatic synchronization of the rosters. So, if everything goes as planned, local leagues on ClubExpress should not have to do anything in preparation for the count date other than being sure their local database is up-to-date

We have scheduled a Zoom workshop January 10 at 7pm Eastern for ClubExpress membership chairs and/or treasurers to review how to handle non-renewals and any other issues prior to the count date. There will be time for questions. See events on the home page of lwvin.org to register.

Thomas K Gardiner, LWVIN Treasurer

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS UPDATE

Even though the U.S. Supreme Court won't announce their ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization until June of 2022, legal experts are predicting that Roe will be overturned in part or entirely.

The Guttmacher Institute says that "26 States Are Certain or Likely to Ban Abortion Without Roe: Here’s Which Ones and Why." Indiana DOES NOT have a trigger law that will automatically take effect if Roe is overturned, but Indiana is counted as one of the states that will likely ban abortion soon. State Senator Liz Brown announced after the September 1 Texas abortion ban after 6 weeks that she would propose similar legislation in Indiana. And it is possible that an actual "trigger ban" will be passed in the 2022 legislative session.

In a recent blog, LWVUS wrote, “The League has been an advocate for equal access to health care, specifically reproductive justice, for decades. Our position and advocacy recognize that severe inequities in access to health care and reproductive justice lead to severe inequities in education and economic opportunities, especially for women of color and lower-income women.”We know this to be true in Indiana. With our positions and the LWVUS administration behind us we will continue to lobby against any legislation in the 2022 General Assembly that surfaces to limit and prevent women from exercising their constitutional right to an abortion.

In addition, during the 2022 legislative session and in preparation for expected battles down the road, the LWVIN Women's Health Advocates will focus on and support contraception and non-abortion women's health bills (like freeing imprisoned women from shackles during childbirth) which strives to improve women's reproductive health. State Representative Rita Fleming, for example, plans to propose a bill like one passed four years ago in Ohio. That law requires hospitals to ensure that women who have just given birth are offered the option of long-term contraception before being discharged. LWVIN Women’s Health Advocates with your assistance will work to support important bills for the improvement of women’s health in Indiana as well as lobby against those egregious bills that aim to control the lives of women through limiting access to needed medical care through abortion.

To assist us in this work, we will participate in legislative updates from the Indiana Reproductive Freedom Roundtable and join their letters to state legislators opposing egregious anti-abortion bills and supporting bills which will improve the health and medical care of women across the State. We need to show support for the legislators who draft the bills and fight at the State House for the improvement of women’s lives.

Pam Locker, LWVIN Women's Health Advocate
Bri Glidden, Muncie-Delaware County League Women's Health Advocate
Joanne Evers, Greater Lafayette League Women's Health Advocate
Betsy Kachmar, Fort Wayne League Women's Health Advocate

REDISTRICTING REFORM – GOING FORWARD!

The ALL IN for Democracy Coalition steering committee organized a reception to thank the ICRC members for their work in demonstrating to the Indiana legislature and the people of Indiana that redistricting could be done fairly and without favoring parties or incumbents. About 50 people attended the reception at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum in Indianapolis on Saturday, 4 December 2021. Karen Francisco (Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette) was also recognized for her reporting and editorials supporting the work of the ICRC. We will lose her voice in this next phase of redistricting reform because she is retiring and moving west. Certificates for the ICRC members (see above) were designed by League member Teresa Basey.

The Coalition continues to be in conversation with legislators about the path forward. In particular we are working with Sen. Fady Qaddoura on a constitutional amendment to remove the mapping responsibility from the legislature and place it instead in a citizens redistricting commission.

On January 6, League Day at the Statehouse, we will be coordinating with All IN for Democracy to highlight our skewed maps, and we will initiate our Democracy Hanging by a Thread Quilt project. The Coalition will be mirroring the physical quilt with a virtual quilt and potentially other virtual and physical models.

Linda Hanson, LWVIN co-president

Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir by Ashley C. Ford
(New York: Flatiron Books, 2021)

“Surviving childhood is a highly underrated skill,” writes Sonia Faleiro in a recent review of a memoir by Nice Leng’ete, a Kenyan feminist. (Sonia Faleiro, “Her Whole Self: A Kenyan Memoirist Recalls Her Fight against Female Genital Mutilation,” New York Times Book Review, Nov. 7, 2021, p. 19.)

Ashley C. Ford might agree. Ford’s memoir promises a tale of “growing up a poor, Black girl in Indiana with a family fragmented by incarceration.” Although the book begins and ends with Ford’s father, the dominant parental presence is her mother.

Mama is difficult. When her husband, Ford’s father, goes to jail, she is left with two small children. Her subsequent romantic relationships culminate with Allen, who fathers her youngest child. Neither Ashley nor her grandmother like Allen, who is verbally and physically abusive, but Mama repeatedly sides with Allen, saying he helps pay her bills. Mama herself can be loving to her children one minute, hurtful and violent the next. When she’s young, Ashley calls the Mr. Hyde version of her maternal parent, “The Mother.” Although the Mother seems to appear less frequently over the years, she is a harrowing presence in Ashley’s early life.

Ford’s grandmother compensates for her daughter’s parenting shortcomings. Although she can be tactless and disapproves of some of her granddaughter’s choices, including natural hair, she provides love and a refuge. Twice, Ford lives with her grandmother rather than her mother.

Ford’s father is a shadowy presence. He is incarcerated, as the teen-aged Ashley’s grandmother blurts out during a shopping trip to the mall, for rape. This is all the reader learns of his crime. His letters affirm his love for Ashely, a love she badly needs in the face of Mama’s inconsistent behavior. Despite warnings about boys, Ashley’s first boyfriend rapes her and her high-school flame comes out as gay. Neither relationship helps her feel worthy of love.

Ford escapes her complicated family by going to Ball State University. That experience too brought complications. She changed majors, did not finish in four years, and found that college created a gulf with her family. But she learned that she loved to write, got a job in Indianapolis, and eventually achieved success in New York City.  In fall of 2021, she has been a writer-in-residence at her alma mater.

Ford’s experiences are both particular to her, but shared by many: a difficult parent, an absent parent, an inability to feel genuinely loved, and psychological and physical trauma. As a Ball State professor, I loved not just Ford’s fond recollections of her college days and Muncie, but her affirmation that a university education can be an escape from a difficult home and a path forward to a better life.

Reviewed by Nicole Etcheson, a member of the Muncie-Delaware County League

FROM SENECA FALLS TO SEYMOUR AND SOUTH BEND: MAPPING INDIANA SUFFRAGE HISTORY

Melissa Gentry
, who spoke at our 2021 Presidents' Day Gala, has expanded the resources on her page.

We invite you to explore: https://sites.google.com/view/in-mixed-company/home

MAY WRIGHT SEWALL, INDIANA SUFFRAGIST

May Wright Sewall was one of Indiana’s best-known leaders of the women’s suffrage movement.  A courageous and groundbreaking woman, she was known for her service to the causes of education, women's rights, and world peace.

Born in Wisconsin in 1844, Sewall graduated in 1866 from Northwestern Female College (later Northwestern University) where she earned a laureate of science and a Master of Arts degree. She was an influential educator, teaching in various places including at the high school in Franklin, Indiana. After marrying the school’s principal, Edwin Thompson, she and her husband moved to Indianapolis, where they taught at the old Indianapolis High school. After Edwin died she married Theodore Sewall in 1880.

She started her career as a suffragist in the 1880s, Sewall became a prominent ally of suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She founded more than fifty organizations that promoted women’s rights and education, including the International Council of Women, Indianapolis Equal Suffrage Society, the Girls’ Classical School, and the Indianapolis Women’s Club. She led Indiana suffrage groups and was charged with organizing an 1888 convention in Washington, D.C., to mark the 40th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention. She also was a delegate to the Universal Congress of Women in Paris and became president of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1889.

May Wright Sewall served as chairman of the National Woman Suffrage Association 's executive committee from 1882 to 1890 and was the organization's first recording secretary. Shel was instrumental in forming the National Council of Women of the United States and served as their President from 1897 to 1899. From 1899 to 1904 she served as President of the International Council of Women. Sewall was also an organizer of the World's Congress of Representative Women, which was held in conjunction with the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. U.S. President William McKinley appointed her as a U.S. representative of women to the Exposition Universelle (1900) in Paris.

Sewall wrote three worksHigher Education of Women in the Western States of the U.S., Neither Dead nor Sleeping, and History of the Woman Suffrage Movement in Indiana. She died on July 22, 1920, just one month before the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Sewall was a member of the Unitarian Church in Indianapolis and is buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis beside her second husband Theodore Sewall.

Some of her honors include the Sewall Memorial Torches, a pair of bronze lampposts, that were dedicated to her memory at the John Herron Art Institute (the present-day Herron High School) in Indianapolis in 1923. In 2005 the Propylaeum Historical Foundation established the May Wright Sewall Leadership Award to recognize other Indianapolis women for their community service. In 2019, the Indiana Historical Bureau added an historical marker there.

Sue Webster, Porter County League