Editor's Note: Guest blogger Adrian Matanza is HRC's field organizer. He is currently working to increase support for an inclusive ENDA in Indiana. HRC is the only national organization working in Indiana in support of the legislation, while Indiana Equality refuses to assist activists organizing around the important federal LGBT rights bill.
I have been in Indiana for over a week now and have been getting a lot done. In three days last week, I traveled over 800 miles to work with constituents to express their support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to their Members of Congress.
On Monday I drove out to Bloomington, IN and sat down with students from IU Bloomington that have started a great letter-writing campaign in each of the campuses dorms to let Rep. Baron Hill know they mean business. We then headed down to Jeffersonville to meet with a representative from the Congressman's office. Rep. Hill's district director Trent was very nice and explained to us that the Congressman needed to hear from us. He enjoys listening to his constituents' stories and how the law would affect them personally. Trent also mentioned that handwritten letters and personal calls get to the Congressman much faster.
On Tuesday, I drove out to Evansville, IN to meet with Pastor Karen Lipinczyk and Eliot Colin. We sat down with Rep. Ellsworth's district director, Patrick. He listened to our concerns and gave us some insight into the Congressman's thinking. Patrick mentioned that we need to keep contacting the Congressman to make sure the legislation stays on his radar. Patrick wanted us to know that we can drop in anytime to chat and when the vote gets closer, would probably get the Congressman to meet with us again.
This weekend, there were several events throughout the state where we reached out to Member of Congresss. I was in Greencastle at DePauw University and in Terre Haute collecting letters and telling students about ENDA. Out in Evansville, UE students tabled at UE PRIDE's annual Drag show to urge students to contact Rep. Ellsworth to vote in favor of ENDA. In Bloomington, members of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality, SAGE, were writing letters to Rep. Hill.
This week, I will be getting out to Northern Indiana to meet with members of South Bend Equality, who have been very helpful, and students from Valparaiso University. We are meeting with a representative from Rep. Donnelly's office today. If you are in the South Bend area and are looking to get involved, now is the time. Contact me for more information!
Being based in Indianapolis, I am getting to travel the Hoosier state. In each of my districts, two in Southern Indiana, and one in the North, I have met some really passionate people. These leaders in the community will be very helpful in passing an inclusive ENDA - working to write letters to the congressmen and to the local papers. If you are in Indiana and would like to get involved with this effort, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have people in all parts of the state working on passing ENDA.
Southern Illinois, I'll be out there soon!