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Grassroots, indivisible

A group from Terre Haute, Indiana, leaves for the Women’s March on Washington Jan. 20. Several Sisters of Providence and Providence Associates traveled with the group, including Sister Barbara Battista at left in orange.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, indivisible is an adjective. It means unable to be divided or separated. Right now, though, indivisible means so much more than that. Saying “indivisible” evokes for many in the United States a desire for unity. It implies a willingness to engage in the democratic process to work toward that unity.

To that end, indivisible could refer to “public radio’s national show about America in a time of change.” Or perhaps it’s a reference to the Indivisible Guide.  Another possibility, indivisible as a reference to the over 4,500 local groups across the country that have signed up to use the Indivisible Guide. I am one of over 400 members of Indivisible Indiana 8th District here in the Wabash Valley.

So, what is this movement?

What is attracting people to read the guide, listen to the radio show, participate in local meetings, or even for some to join Facebook in order to stay in touch? This movement was created by volunteers. It is designed to help us ordinary folk engage in grassroots advocacy through understanding how to effectively interact with our members of congress. The guide walks us through how to organize, strategize, and stay at it for the long haul. It is, however, much more than simply a how-to manual.

I suggest the primary attraction to this movement is rooted in our desire for engagement. Indivisible in its various expressions helps fulfill our very human need for community, for a sense of purpose. We find in joining with others to effect real social change that we ourselves are more hopeful, more able to embrace diversity, and more willing to engage others who look, think, or act differently than ourselves.

As a nation, we have experienced quite a shift these days. Contributing to our democracy by joining a local Indivisible group, I experience the deep joy of contributing to the common good. If you want to join the movement, look for a local Indivisible group here .

Do something!

Looking for a way to connect with other concerned citizens in the Wabash Valley? An Activist Study Hall group has been meeting weekly in Providence Hall at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods since Feb. 9. The weekly meeting is designed to build community and provide mutual support and encouragement to members as they advocate for a more just society. Those attending bring a rich diversity of experience and passion for supporting the common good.

So far, members have met with Congressman Larry Bucshon in-person to discuss health care legislation, participated in phone banking with the Sierra Club to protect solar power in Indiana, organized a rally for International Women’s Day, and sent Hear Our Voice postcards to state and federal elected representatives. The group has also collaborated with Indivisible Indiana 8th District and the Wabash Valley March for Science. Contact Sister Barbara Battista at bbattist@spsmw.org to learn more or get involved.

(Originally published in the Summer 2017 issue of HOPE magazine.)

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Sister Barbara Battista

Sister Barbara Battista

Sister Barbara Battista is a native of Indianapolis who currently ministers as the Congregation's Justice Promoter. She credits her social justice activism to her mother Alice's strong example. Raised in a large and extended Italian family household, Sister Barbara comes by community organizing quite naturally. She is a passionate and energetic advocate for full equity and equality for women and girls in church and society.

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