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Newsletter - November 16, 2023

LWVIN | Published on 11/16/2023


Thanks to all of you who registered voters, encouraged and helped voters get to the polls, held candidate forums or other events to bring candidates and voters together, worked the polls, or in any way worked to ensure that our elections ran smoothly!

Please be sure that your League knows what you did toward making our democracy work in these partisan times. We’re trying to capture the work of the League to use in social media posts and articles. And LWVUS wants to know the impact of LWV across the country.  League leaders have an annual report to do Nov 15-Dec 15 — and we can benefit from the data we have to gather for LWVUS!Our ability to tell our individual and collective League stories hinges on collecting and sharing data. What do we do? How do we do it? Who do we do it with? It’s all in the numbers…

Linda Hanson, LWVIN President


We have very little time before we begin preparations for the 2024 election cycle—and we’re going to need all of us!

  • Our LWVIN advocates are working behind the scenes, keeping track of legislative study committees’ work and looking toward the 2024 legislative session.
  • The Public Education advocacy team could use two or three volunteers. Contact
  • There’s renewed interest in a Gun Safety advocacy team. Contact if you’re interested in serving on the team.
  • There are LWVUS grants to help local leagues with voter registration efforts. Particularly if you participated in the Voter Service zoom sessions on High School voter registration, you might want to consider applying for the youth voter registration grant.LWVUS is currently receiving grant applications for youth voter registrations, new citizens registration, and former and currently incarcerated voter registration.Deadline is Nov. 30.
  • The Review of LWVIN Positions that we voted at convention to conduct is underway. Lisa Plencner (South Bend) is chairing the review committee. She is joined by Tracy Heaton de Martinez (Indianapolis/Columbus), Karen Martoglio (Greencastle) and Tom Gardiner (Muncie-Delaware County). Their report is due at Convention 2025.


Organization Day: What to Expect in the 2024 Indiana General Assembly Session

Tuesday November 21, 10 – 11 am in the Indiana Statehouse, 4thFloor South

Hosts are the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics & Indiana Capital Chronicle

Niki Kelly, Editor-in-Chief, Indiana Capital Chronicle
Dr. Greg Shufeldt, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Indianapolis
Brandon Smith, Statehouse Bureau Chief, Indiana Public Broadcasting
Dr. Laura Wilson, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Indianapolis

Dan Spehler, Anchor, Fox 59 & Host, IN Focus: Indiana’s Week in Politics

This expert panel will highlight the key issues, political dynamics, and policy agenda for the 2024 Indiana General Assembly. 2024 promises to be a year of transition, with the end of the Holcomb Administration and in the intense political environment of statewide races for Governor, US Senator, and President.

There will be time for questions from the audience following the moderated panel.
Breakfast snacks & coffee provided.

League Day at the Statehouse, January 31, 2024

More information will follow:
  • An upcoming zoom session to help prepare for meeting with legislators.
  • Speakers at the lunch discussion tables at the State Library.
  • The finished Democracy Hanging by a Thread quilt will be on display!
  • Opportunity to attend Fannie at the IRT (Indiana Repertory Theatre) as a group on the evening of January 31. Go HERE for more information about the musical.


Thank you to all who contributed squares and stitching! The Democracy Quilt is finished!

The phrase “Hanging by a Thread” was used in testimony in Goshen summer 2021, before our current district maps were adopted. Frustration with the legislature’s redistricting process, despite the momentum and visibility of our All IN 4 Democracy efforts to model the process the legislature should have been using prompted determination to keep the issue in front of voters and the legislature for the rest of the decade. LWVIN embarked on the Democracy Quilt project for the long term, and our All IN for Democracy coalition developed a virtual patchwork quilt to parallel the physical one being created by League members.

The virtual quilt, much like virtual choirs, was comprised of multiple windows of citizen testimony to the ICRC hearings about desirable mapping criteria. Members had an opportunity to speak to the camera during the League Day 2022 meeting in the State Library.

The physical patchwork quilt is comprised of 4" squares with the letters DEMOCRACY in white blocks superimposed and "hanging" by threads from a clothesline superimposed across the top. If you were at League Day, on January 6, 2022, you may remember that we had a clothesline strung in the Library to which people pinned fabric squares on which they had written messages (Fair maps, Hear my Voice, My vote counts, etc.) with fabric pens. We continued to collect quilt squares through September 2023. The quilt top was displayed in progress to keep the issue of representation before us. The finished physical quilt will continue to be displayed until we actually have a more equitable process in place for redistricting; we will certainly continue to display it until we achieve democratic representation in Indiana.

“Hanging by a thread” seems to apply in a larger context to the necessity for expanding voting participation in primaries as well as the general elections--to register to vote, to move to action, to get voices heard, to make changes in our communities--to motivate people to do something! But it is applicable beyond redistricting efforts.

The suppressed vote in Indiana caused just by gerrymandering (lack of competition leading to voters' belief their votes are irrelevant) contributes to a true lack of representation and a lack of accountability.

Our focus with this Democracy Quilt is fair and responsive representation.

Linda Hanson, LWVIN President


Profiles of lesser-known heroines in the fight for women's rights

Samira Azzam


Samira Azzam grew up in the Acre district on the coast of Mandatory Palestine in a Christian Orthodox family. She was born Sept. 13, 1927, in a land already in upheaval. By the year of Samira’s birth, United States newspapers reported frequent confrontations and violence in Palestine.

Samira attended public school in Acre, then a Christian high school in the nearby Haifa district. Her life was, wrote Kathyanne Piselli, “fairly typical of an educated Palestinian of the middle class.” During Samira’s school years, the Great Palestinian Revolt, also called the Arab Revolt, raged in Haifa, fueled by the poverty and displacement of Arabs that resulted from the 1922 Palestine Mandate’s promotion of Jewish immigration to Palestine.

At age 16 in the early 1940s, Samira started working as a teacher at the Greek Orthodox School in Acre. In her free time, she was a frequent contributor to the newspaperFilastīn, writing under the alias "Fatāt al-sāhil,” meaning “Girl from the Coast.” Rawaa Talass ofArab News, wrote that Samira “taught herself English through a correspondence course.

On May 14, 1948, Jewish Agency leader David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The new country was quickly, on the same day, recognized by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. What followed was Plan Dalet, a formal outline for the Israeli War of Independence. It details the stages and contingencies for expelling the Arab population from the now-designated Jewish states, including, “Destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centers which are difficult to control continuously.” Bridges should be destroyed, the Plan says, roads seized, and transportation, energy, and resources controlled.

Palestinians call this time “an-Nakbah,” an Arabic word meaning “catastrophe.” In less than six months, from December 1947 to mid-May 1948, Zionist armed groups expelled about 440,000 Palestinians from 220 villages. ... Some 150,000 Palestinians remained in the areas of Palestine that became part of the Israeli state. Of the 150,000, some 30,000 to 40,000 were internally displaced. Like the 750,000 who were displaced beyond the borders of the new state, Israel prohibited internally displaced Palestinians from returning to their homes.”

Twenty-year-old Samira was one of these displaced Palestinians. In 1948, she and her family traveled northeast to Falougha in Lebanon. Then they moved out to the coast, settling in Beirut. Samira journeyed back inland to Iraq where she taught in a girls’ school for two years. In 1952, she found work as a radio broadcaster with the Sharq Al-Adna/Near East radio station, an Arabic-language, British-owned station that itself had to relocate to Cyprus (which was still under British control) after the mandate terminated.“She is familiar to many Arabs simply because she was heard so often on the radio,” noted Kathyanne. “She later worked for radio stations in Iraq and Kuwait and taped material for the Jordanian station and the Voice of Palestine in Cairo.”


During these years, Samira also began to write short stories. In the 1940s and ‘50s, the short story was highly popular in the Arab world. Literary shorts were easy to print, publish in magazines, and read aloud on radio broadcasts. Few of Samira’s short stories reference Palestine directly, but she often explored themes of separation and anguish. She frequently depicted class divides, writing tales of the poor and marginalized finding ways to survive. In “Her Story,” Samira wrote the letter of a sister to her younger brother. The boy she once raised now rejects her for having been sexually assaulted and forced into sex work. The sister tells her brother how much she’s struggled for what little comfort she has; she tells him about her anger at the injustice in the world.


On Dec. 24, 1959, she married Adib Yousef Hasan. The couple briefly lived in Baghdad, but soon left, fleeing the upheaval of Iraq’s collapsing monarchy and violent birth of a republic. By some accounts, she was banished for voicing her opposition to the new regime.

Samira became more politically active through the 1950s and ‘60s. She began contributing articles toDunia Al-Mar`a(Women’s World) andSawt Al-Mar`a(The Woman’s Voice), a Sudan-based progressive magazine. While her short stories gained popularity, she also started writing a novel.

Samira worked diligently to form connections and resisted “the prevalent belief among some people that Palestine could only be liberated by the hands of Palestinians,” according to Nejmeh. Instead, she saw it as a cultural responsibility, one that should be held by all Arab states. “She was a pioneer in the political world, establishing a secret resistance organization (The Liberation Front for Palestine) spreading from Lebanon to Jordan.” She was part of the General Union of Palestinian Women, an organization specifically focused on advocating for the women of Palestine.

In 1967, Samira—like most displaced Palestinians—avidly followed the developments with Egypt’s controversial new president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, who wanted to unite Arab nations and vocally opposed Israel. Here lay a chance to return to her homeland of Palestine and to see her people restored.Samira watched as the second Arab-Israeli War of her lifetime, the Six-Day War, ended with Israel invading the Sinai Peninsula and occupying the cities of Rafaḥ, and Al-ʿArīsh, and Gaza. Hope for Palestine had been lost once again.

As she and other women activists in Beirut organized to help the refugees from the Sinai Peninsula, Samira destroyed the novel she’d been writing. “Its title must have seemed particularly tragic in the wake of ’67:Sinai Without Borders,” wrote M Lynx Qualey in the introduction for a collection of Samira’s short stories.

Despite this renewed heartbreak, Samira continued working for Palestine. She and other members of The Liberation Front for Palestine headed for Jordan; they needed to regroup and adapt to the new situation. In 1967, at just 39 years old, Samira died of a heart attack in a car along the way. She was laid to rest in Beirut.

To read this entire article go HERE.

Kathryn S Gardiner

Pam Locker, Editor, LWVIN Voter