Moral Mondays, a movement advocating for Hoosier rights and dedicated to making legislative changes, met at the Statehouse Monday to air grievances about the failure of the 2016 General Assembly.
With over 60 people in attendance, topics from minimum wage to LGBT rights to abortion were discussed. “People over money” was the opening sentence of the rally.
The first speaker Annette Gross, an avid LGBT rights advocate and a part of the Mike Pence Must Go movement said “I was asked to wear yellow, and it turns out this is the only yellow shirt I own.” Gross smiles and shows off her “Pence Must Go” tee. “This session, our general assembly left out our LGBT brothers and sisters, who still don’t have statewide rights. Until my son and the rest of the LGBT community are fully protected, the welcome door to Indiana is only open part way.” This speech garnered loud cheers and group-wide support.
Wanda Savala of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky spoke about reproductive rights. In regards to House Bill 1337, she says “it shames women from obtaining an abortion. It is deceptive, disingenuous, and disrespectful. The goal is to slowly remove the reproductive rights of women.”
Following up on Wanda’s speech, Abigail McKinney spoke about her own abortion. Being in a relationship with a verbally and physically abusive man, Abigail knew that her child wouldn’t be safe or financially stable in this world. She says of HB 1337 – “this bill adds barriers to access for women. Being forced to choose between a burial or
cremation for your unborn child adds cruel financial and emotional strain.”
“Women deserve access to resources and women deserve a second chance,” says McKinney, a quote that gained positive outcry from the audience.
On the issue of minimum wage, a mother of three and member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spoke about working full-time and not being able to afford daily life. “My daughter can’t run track because I can’t afford the fees,” she said through tears. “I work seven days a week and I still can’t afford to send my kids to college; they have to join the military in order to pay for it.”
Other topics spoken about included education reform, environmental concerns, and immigration.
“My struggle should be their [the legislature’s] concern,” the crowd chanted. “There’s a lot of people across the isle that need to go, but the number one person who has to go is right down there on the second floor- Governor Mike Pence,” said one SEIU representative.