by Brittany Campbell
On November 22nd, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break for students at SHS, members of the Salem High School SADD group went on a field trip to the Indiana State Capitol building. The members of the group were going to the Capitol building to raise awareness about their county SADD chapters, the attending SADD member’s job being to track down the state representatives from their county and inform them about the activities and goals of their SADD chapters to gain some PR for the group. The members that attended from Salem SADD were; Amber Hollen, Angie Hollen, Brittany Campbell, Kaileen Martin, Lisa Wynn, Nicole Gibson, Tossie Kinnamon, Tracey Hammock, and Tyler Sizemore. They were accompanied by their sponsor Mrs. Jeanne Page. The group met up with other SADD chapters from across the state and their State Coordinator Jamie Vickery to set up a meet and greet with pamphlets about SADD, doughnuts, and coffee to welcome the representatives to work.
Apparently, that’s not all the people that the SADD members would be welcoming to their informational breakfast. By late morning, hundreds of people had gathered at the Capitol building, and it wasn’t just for the doughnuts. These “en mass,” people, bundled up in winter coats and gloves, were congregated to protest a new piece of legislation that the House of Representatives would be voting on that afternoon. The legislation piece was called R.T.W, or “Right to Work.” The Legislative piece attracted so much controversy and attention because it stated that the companies who made their employees join a Union to work for them would now be able to eradicate those Unions. Unions like these are present in a lot of work locations such as factories. These hundreds upon hundreds of people gathered at the Capitol building, lining the outside streets and steps in the cold wind and rain were there to vent their anger at this new potential law. Anger, you may ask? These people were angry because they felt that the R.T.W took away their power as minor employees amongst their corporate employers. Taking away their Union would take away their voices.
There is a positive to the R.T.W legislation though. It takes away power from the over-paid Union leaders, and returns some of that money back to the company. In the end, the choice boils down to people or company, and the people gathered to say their piece. How did this affect our small group field trip? The Salem SADD group did get to meet one of their representatives from Washington County, Steve Davisson. The Salem group gave him our informational spiel and some hot coffee. He then recommended that our group come and watch the House in action at 1:30pm through a viewing window, and that he would be present.
Instead, all of the Indiana State SADD groups got put into a small court room where the State Justices held appeal cases. The room was beautiful, and we got to hear the history of the Capitol building. But afterwards- the building was so crowded that we didn’t get to go and see the rooms on a tour, we were just verbally told about them. We didn’t get to see either the Senate or the House of Reps. in action on the floor, because the protestors crowded the windows and the door ways, chanting inaudible phrases and waving banners, hanging signs, passing out buttons, and asking us to sign petitions. Blue and white buttons with phrases such as, “Support Working Families, Support Workers’ Rights. We Are Indiana.” It was hard just finding the exit to the building, and don’t ask how long it took for all of these angry protestors to be searched at the entrance and “wanded,” by security. All in all, this field trip was an eye-opening experience for all of Indiana SADD. We witnessed the power of the people, and it encouraged our own Salem SADD group that we ourselves can make a difference with our own causes if we stick together and stay strong. Nov. 22nd was not your typical day at the Indiana State Capitol building.