Hope Packages Leadership Collective:
Project Coordinator: Sam James
Sam James is a worker and an organizer who grew up in Indianapolis. They have worked as a ballet dancer, pet adoption counselor, stage manager, and barista. Since 2017, Sam has served as co-coordinator of ANSWER Indiana. In this capacity, they led struggles that ultimately defeated two pieces of anti-homeless legislation considered by the City-County Council. The first struggle “sit-lie” ordinance in 2018 that would have criminalized sitting and lying on the sidewalk in the heart of downtown Indianapolis between 6 am and 12 am. The struggle took on a variety of forms and, in what was a turning point in the movement, Noah Leininger their other coordinator of ANSWER Indiana condutced and published research on the IMPD’s racist enforcement of panhandling laws. as well as writing and debunking the anti-homeless lies told by the bill’s proponents.
Their ability to build relationships with organizations dedication to the most oppressed sectors of society was crucial in the defeat of prop. 291. which was a racist and pro-ruling class effort proposed in 2020. If implemented,, Prop. 291 would have deterred and effectively criminalized distributing aid to poor and working-class people in public spaces. They helped unite an impressive array pf organizations,, engaged in regular outreach on the streets, got different groups to endorse protest, helped, and was the main organizer in demonstration that ultimately defeated the measure. After its defeat, the media let a few City-County Councilors all the credit, while it was won by the unity of several organizations (many of which are now united through the Indianapolis Liberation Center), activists, as well as non-activists who were just outraged at its callousness.
Outreach Coordinator: Doris Jones
Doris Jones, who first proposed the idea of Hope Packages, is a survivor of childhood abuse and homelessness, which partly drives her dedication to assist those without shelter and her commitment to ending homelessness. She is a member of the Indianapolis branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and has been a prominent leader in several movements, including the Cancel the Rents campaign that began in the Spring of 2019. Doris worked at Eli Lilly for several years and was a key organizer in the victorious 2018 janitor’s uprising in Indianapolis. As a single mother, she seeks to teach her daughter the value of paying it forward to those in need.
Social Media Coordinator: Madison Cockreham
Madison Cockreham, who got involved with Hope Packages through the protest movement that defeated Prop. 291, graduated from DePauw University in 2020. She is currently a full-time student at IUPUI, studying for a master’s in School Counseling and Mental Health Counseling through Indiana University’s Urban Education department, and works as a part-time substitute teacher at a junior high school in Southeast Indiana. She has also worked in the Korean peace movement, specifically with the Korean community in Japan’s struggle against discrimination.
Project Sustainability Coordinator: Adrianna Hull
Adrianna Hull is a worker, student, and organizer from the Westside of Indianapolis. She has consistently been involved in social justice campaigns since high school. She attends the IUPUI School of Public and Environmental Affairs and works as a waitress. Her work as the Sustainability Coordinator for Hope Packages is one of the things she is most passionate about.
Indy10 Black Lives Matter Liaison: Amber Toombs
Amber Toombs is an organizer for Black Liberation, working with Indy10 Black Lives Matter, which is a founding member of Hope Packages. They learned first-hand about the complexities of revolutionary versus liberal organizing and the dedication, sacrifice, and discipline the latter require by working with Indy10BLM. Later, Toombs became primary leader of the No Questions Asked Food Pantry, a food justice pantry located in Fountain Square that served nearly 22,000 individuals in the last nine months of 2020 after the pandemic hit Indianapolis. Toombs regularly speaks at public events and you can see them at almost any action. Toombs is excited to continue learning and growing with the Hope Packages Collective Leadership and our regular volunteers!
Volunteer Coordinator: Grace Stinson
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Grace Stinson recently graduated from DePauw University with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Sociology. In addition to her work with Hope Packages, she works as a Pre-Release Coordinator with PACE Inc., a non-profit that helps with community re-entry for those leaving prison. She has also worked with the international peace movement, focusing mostly on East Asia.