March 2021 Newsletter
Justice Reform Bill: A Step in the Right Direction
On Tuesday, March 9, 2021, Hazem Bata, IMAN Associates Public Policy Advisor, testified in support of HB1006, which requires de-escalation training and aims at mending the relationship between the public and law enforcement.
Alongside IMAN Associates, the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Indianapolis Urban League, and the Indiana Black Expo noted their support for the bill during the Senate committee hearing. The Statehouse File quoted Br. Hazem's testimony in their report on the bill.
Touted as historic, the bill garnered bipartisan support and passed the House and the Senate chambers with unanimous approval. It headed to the Governor’s desk for his approval.
We are grateful for the opportunity to support a bill that galvanized many organizations, individuals and law enforcement officers across the state to work together to advance justice reform in Indiana.
IBLC Call to Action Days
On the heels of the incivility that took place in the flour chamber on February 18, 2021, the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus has organized Call to Action Days at the Statehouse, where supporters joined the caucus members in solidarity with them.
On March 9, 2021, Hiba Alami, IMAN Associates Executive Director, and Hazem Bata, IMAN Associates Public Policy Advisor, participated in the "Call to Action" alongside NAACP, the Indiana Minority Health Coalition and other organizations and citizens from around the state. IMAN Associates, and the other present organizations, were recognized by Rep. Cherrish Pryor on Facebook.
You can also take action and show your support to the IBLC by signing this petition.
Evictions and Housing Disparities Event
On March 13, 2021, IMAN Associates, in collaboration with Indianapolis Muslim Community Association and Masjid Al-Mumineen, hosted a community event to address “Evictions and Housing Disparities: A Crisis in the Works.”Attendees heard from Amy Nelson, Executive Director of Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, about the housing challenges faced by Hoosiers on a daily basis, and how the pandemic has led to a sky high number of eviction filings and aggravated the existing housing disparities. Also, they heard from Imam Ismail Abdul-Aleem and Imam Ahmed Alamine on the importance of housing and how Indiana Muslims need to prioritize this issue and get involved in legislative advocacy to improve the housing scene in Indiana. Our Executive Director, Hiba Alami, concluded the event with a list of resources available to help Hoosiers with rental and utility assistance.
Missed the event? You can watch the recording on our facebook page.
Hoosier Action’s “Reclaim Our Future” Event
March 23rd marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 lockdown in our state and the beginning of one of the hardest years any of us can remember. In the past year, we’ve lost nearly 13,000 lives, hundreds of thousands of jobs, and so much more. Join Hoosier Action, IMAN Associates and other organizations for a socially-distanced vigil on the Statehouse lawn to mourn everyone and everything we lost and call on Indiana General Assembly to ensure that all Hoosiers are able to recover from this crisis.
The program will include an interfaith vigil, in which Imam Michael Saahir, Imam of Nur-Allah Islamic Center, will participate and uplift the voice of the Muslim community. A press conference will follow and feature Hoosier Action leaders sharing their stories and calling on the Indiana General Assembly to honor our losses and legislate on our behalf.
March 2021 Newletter
Limiting the Use of Force of Local Law Enforcement
The 2021 legislative session has witnessed a number of bills that aim at negatively impacting the existing oversight structures for local police departments. An example is Senate Bill 311, which gives police officers almost complete discretion in using force, including deadly force. It also allows them to ignore department policy on how much force to use. Further, the bill prevents departments, cities and counties from restricting an officer's discretion on the use of force.
We believe this bill is bad for the people of Indiana because it goes against our system of checks and balances. Checks and balances are essential to a free society. This bill is out of balance because it removes most checks on an officer's discretion to use force. Even the officer's own police department would not be able to enforce protocol on the use of force in many cases.
Fortunately the troublesome language was removed from the bill at its last hearing on February 16. Hazem Bata, IMAN Associates Policy Advisor, attended the hearing to testify in opposition to the bill. However, since the harmful language was removed our position was neutral.
Silencing the voices of Black Legislators
On February 18, 2021, Rep. Greg Porter and Rep. Vernon Smith, two members of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, were booed by fellow legislators while speaking against bill HB1367, which would allow residents to leave the racially diverse South Bend school system and become part of a mostly white neighboring district. The bill narrowly passed with 52-43 votes.
Adorned by his African garb to celebrate the Black History month on that day, Rep. Smith shared afterwards that “The legislature is known for its institutional racism.” The IBLC came out strong and issued a statement condemning the disrespectful behavior from Republican members. In a press conference, Rep. Robin Shackleford, the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) chair, asked House Speaker Todd Huston for all legislators to receive Implicit Bias Training. In fact, the IBLC has started a petition “urging accountability for the mistreatment of Black legislators.” Also, Caucus members are organizing a “Call to Action” days at the Indiana Statehouse, where supporters can show up in solidarity with them. Call to Action days started last week and will continue throughout the next week.
IMAN Associates has issued a statement denouncing the lack of decorum and civility in the statehouse, and urging legislators to rediscover respect for the diverse perspectives of all members of the Indiana General Assembly. We urge our members to support the members of the IBLC and sign the petition.
Anti-Asian violence spiked nationwide
While our nation has been reeling for the last year from the pandemic, Asian Americans have been the victims of hateful incidents across the U.S., including the Indiana Asian American community members. They have been the target of xenophobic attacks, ranging from “verbal bullying and micro aggressions to outright assaults and lethal violence.”
The Indiana chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) is launching a campaign to speak out against the spike of violent attacks and urge Governor Holcomb to take official action to condemn the bigotry. Please sign this petition in solidarity with the Asian American community and share it with others.
Evictions and Housing Disparities: A Crisis in the Works
A global health and economic crisis has numerous repercussions on an already challenged housing scene in Indiana. To that point, IMAN Associates, in collaboration with IMCA and Masjid Al-Mumineen, is hosting “Evictions and Housing Disparities: A Crisis in the Works” on March 13, 2021 at 2PM.
We will hear from Amy Nelson, the executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, about the unfolding situation of housing insecurity and disparities in Indiana, and the resources currently available to help Hoosiers navigate the housing challenges.
The event is free but registration is required. Register here.
Check our newsletters for the latest updates at the Indiana Statehouse and upcoming events in the Muslim community.