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Newsletter - June 16, 2021

LWVIN | Published on 6/16/2021

Myra Dunn Abbott, LWV of Montgomery County
Myra has been a member of the LWV Montgomery County for 8 years and serves as 2nd Vice President, Chair Active Voter Services, member of the LWVMC Board, 100th Anniversary committee member, and committee member for Lunch with the League. Myra has the ability to think “outside the box”, is organized, congenial, dedicated and recognizes the importance of the League at all levels. Myra is a former teacher and school administrator and is interested in Education and Voter Services (voter registration, election process, fair redistricting, Vote411).
Joanne Evers, LWV Greater Lafayette
Joanne has been a LWV member for 26 years. She is committed to the League, organized, detail-oriented, perseverant, likes a challenge, and enjoys problem solving. She is particularly interested in voter services, reproductive justice, and leadership development. Joanne’s League experience includeLocal: voter services, membership, nominating, planning annual events, Voter editor, VOTE411 (9 years), 501c3 study, by-laws and policy review, archiving;State: advocacy for reproductive justice, redistricting, against voter ID; review of state positions, new League development, membership and leadership development, co-creator of forerunner (LAN) to legislative advocates, amicus brief in opposition to Indiana Voter ID Law;National: By-laws Committee (2010). Offices Joanne has held includeLocal: committee chair for voter services and membership, president. State: Board position, reproductive justice advocate, President.

Sacha Gee-Burns, LWV LaPorte County
Sacha has only been a League member for one year. She is particularly interested in voter education. She is adaptable and has great communication skills. She is very eager to learn and contribute to the League.

Invite fellow League members, partners, volunteers, and friends to attend!

From our ALL IN for Democracy coalition

June 17: Packing, Cracking and Tacking: The Voting Rights Act and Redistricting- a virtual webinar sponsored by Common Cause Indiana, the NAACP Indianapolis branch, and the NAACP Indiana State Conference,7:30 p.m. EDT Pre-registration required.


June 16: For the People Act Webinar  This training will be a deep dive into the bill to learn what the For the People Act will do and why it is so important for us to pass it!

June 23: For the People Act Friendbank This will be an opportunity to take action and encourage your friends and family to contact their Senators to pass the For the People Act.

REDISTRICTING INDIANA—Let’s keep the momentum going!

In the midst of a pandemic over the last year, we engaged over 28,000 members of the public through virtual redistricting events, both traditional and through social media.

We need to continue that arcin order to persuade the legislature to create Fair Maps through a transparent process. By July 4, approximately 5000 Fair Maps postcards in two waves will have been delivered to Governor Eric Holcomb, Rodric (note spelling) Bray, President Pro Tempore of the Indiana Senate, Todd Huston, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Representative Timothy Wesco, Chair, Elections and Apportionment, and Senator Jon Ford, Chair, Elections and individuals' own senators and representatives. Two additional waves will follow.

Up to 1000 League members and friends around the state will be wearing Fair Maps buttons to engage others in conversation about the impact of redistricting and the importance of Fair Maps.
Lobbying Teams, led by Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) members, will launch soon. Volunteer here: You will receive a link to join the virtual organizing meeting on June 23.

Lobbying team leaders are:
NW Indiana – Chris Brandon and Missie Summers-Kempf
NC Indiana – Ranjan Rohatgi and Leigh Morris
Fort Wayne area – Marilyn Moran-Townsend and Tom Hayhurst
Hamilton County and CD 5 – Xavier Ramirez and Jack Tharp
Marion County – Clara Glaspie and Julia Vaughn
Other areas – Sonia Leerkamp and Chip Taylor

Vaccinations and good weather are prompting more face to face events. A number of Leagues — Fort Wayne, South Bend, Henry County, Calumet -- are participating in Juneteenth celebrations by registering voters and providing the postcards to advocate for Fair Maps. Calumet is already pushing VOTE411 as well. Brown County and Fort Wayne are considering tabling at their County Fairs while Bloomington-Monroe County is working with partners to distribute stickers and fliers at a July 4th event.

Bloomington-Monroe has also spent considerable effort developing a state-specific redistricting presentation. You may schedule a presentation with Q&A by contacting Vickie Dacey. The presentation itself is on the LWVIN website under Resources-RedistrictingCheck the website regularly for upcoming Fair Maps coalition events!

Greetings from the SW corner of Indiana! Like all of you, we’ve faced the year’s challenges, become masters of Zoom meetings, and are excited to get back to a new normal where we can meet face to face!

We started last year (pre-Covid) witha wonderful tribute to the brave suffragettes.Our event included speeches from Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. Our featured speaker was Ellen Weiss, author of VOTES FOR WOMEN. Over 300 people attended the ceremony and the reception afterwards. Little did we know, that would be the last in-person gathering we would have for over a year!

With 2020 being an election year, some members of our Voters Services team continued to meet in person through the summer, outside, masked and observing social distancing -- while others worked behind the scenes with the local Election Offices, making sure we were providing factual information to the public. We began in-person voter registration events in August and continued through October. We participated in Vote411 for the first time, and we had over 2,000 visits from people in SW Indiana.

We ramped up our web and Facebook presence, adding content frequently andin the last month before the general election over 7,400 users visited our website and over 6,000 people visited our Facebook page. We look forward to continuing our presence on social media during next year’s mid-term elections.

We continued to hold Lunch and Learn sessions, except they became virtual Lunch and Learns, and had very interesting discussions on topics ranging from African American Women in Politics, the Electoral College, Civil Discourse, and Zero Waste.

We were disappointed that we couldn’t host our monthly Meet your Legislators (MYL) sessions in February-April, so we tried to keep our community informed about legislation in Indianapolis through our newsletters, website, and Facebook page. I think all of us will be happy to return to in-person MYLs next session!

We participated in the Fair Maps session in the 8th District, and we’re planning to meet with all our local legislators during the summer to review the Findings from the committee’s hearings.

We are holding an in-person annual meeting on Saturday, June 26 at one of our local Library branches – with box lunches. Our speakers are State Senator Vaneta Becker State Representative Ryan Hatfield, talking about the 2021 legislative session. We will also be presenting our annual Making Democracy Work Award.

This year we will continue to work on the Fair Maps campaign, presentations for High School classes on voting rights, and planning for a busy 2022!

Vicki Small, President, LWVSWIN

January 11, 1886 – June 15, 1929

Virginia Brooks was a suffragist and political reformer who worked in the Chicago Region and throughout Indiana in the early 1900’s.

Brooks and her mother moved to West Hammond (Calumet City IL) after her father died, probably around 1910. She fought against vices, including bars, prostitution, and gambling in West Hammond, which crossed over the state borderline of State Line Avenue into Hammond, Indiana.

Virginia Brooks was internationally known and began a settlement house in 1911 on State Line and Rimbach in Hammond, to serve West Hammond (Calumet City) and Hammond. It featured an employment agency, night classes, day nursery, lectures and more.

In 1912, Brooks was the principal speaker at the state convention of the Equal Suffrage League in Indianapolis and she also spoke about her crusade for reform in Richmond, Indiana.

Well-known Illinois suffragist Ida B. Wells, one of the founders of the Alpha Suffrage Club, was at theWashington D.C. Suffrage parade on March 5, 1913. Because Wells was African-American, she was not allowed to march with the Illinois delegation. All African-American participants were to march at the end of the parade. Not wanting to cause a scene, Wells backed off and stood on the sidelines of the parade route. When the Illinois delegation marched past, Wells came out of the crowd, was pulled in and protected by Brooks and Belle Squire, also founders of the Alpha Suffrage Club, and marched with the suffragists of Illinois. This was Brooks’ last public appearance.

Brooks was married in 1913 and divorced in 1915. Later she moved to Oregon with her mother and son, Walter, known as Brooks. She died at the age of 43 in 1929 in Oregon.

For her short time of suffrage and anti-vice activities, which was only about three years, Virginia Brooks accomplished much. We are grateful for her activism in helping women get the right to vote.

Nancy Machnikowski
LWVCA member

This is a monthly feature. Sue Webster will be coordinating highlighting suffragists throughout the state.