Hoosiers from around the state came together Wednesday to support Bourbon local, Suzanne Afolabi.
Back in May, Suzanne Afolabi lost her family home to a fire. Her insurance company provided her with a temporary trailer, which the Town of Bourbon said violated local zoning codes. Afolabi was assured by the town that she would be able to get a variance to allow the trailer, but the variance never came.
When the Libertarian Party of Indiana caught wind of this, they stepped in to help.
With support from the District and State Party levels, the Libertarian Party of Marshall County was able to put on a rally to raise awareness and money for Suzanne and her family.
The event featured live music, food, a raffle, merchandise, and informational materials. LP Marshall County Chair Ty Shively kicked off the evening saying, “It’s easy for people to get on Facebook and be keyboard warriors and say things like ‘That’s wrong,’ or ‘These people don’t deserve for this to happen to them,’ but we need people like those of you that showed up to make a difference and actually bring change.”
LP Marshall County is proud of their Chair and his commitment to helping the community and furthering the Liberty Movement.
Up next on the docket was Libertarian candidate James Sceniak.
“Tonight is not about the Libertarian Party…it is about what we can do to support Hoosier rights on a local level,” he implored. Sceniak is seeking the party’s nomination for the United States Senate race coming in 2022. He is an ardent supporter of individual rights and a friend to all Hoosiers across the state. He commented, “This is where things happen. Your local community is your most important community, and this is where movements begin. If we wanna stop seeing our rights infringed upon – if we want to see true change – this is where it happens. We need to come together…We need Hoosiers to step up.”
LP Marshall County was grateful to James and his campaign for taking the time to fight the good fight for Hoosiers, even in Northern Indiana!
The final speaker of the night was LPIN State Chair, Evan McMahon. “…More importantly, I’m a Hoosier, and I’m a Hoosier that is concerned about how our government is encroaching on our everyday liberties.”
Looking at the case of Suzanne Afolabi and her struggle with the local zoning board, Evan had this to say, “When I heard that the zoning board said that Suzanne could not stay in an RV on her property while she waits for the insurance company to process her claim and rebuild her home, I was not surprised. That’s typical of a cold, callous local government who looks at a rule and says we can’t have human decency or compassion, we have to kick you off your property. Are you okay with that?” He continued, “I want a community where people come together like this and support somebody in a time of tragedy.”
Evan then issued a call to action for the local community. “I’m not gonna ask you to join the Libertarian Party of Indiana, or the Libertarian Party of Marshall County, you should though. “Instead, I’m going to ask every single person in this room, on October 11, I want each of you to bring 3 people from Bourbon to the zoning board meeting. I want you to sign up to speak in favor of Suzanne’s zoning cause.” “I want you to sign up and speak on her behalf, and let them know that this community says yes. Yes she can feel safe and secure in her property. Yes she can live her life. Today you have to take and stand and say Yes to Suzanne and No to the government. And if enough of them see enough of you they will do the right thing out of fear of getting kicked off the board. But if that’s what it takes, that’s ok.”
McMahon said, “Remember what they did. When the time comes to cast a vote, I want you to think about that. I want you to look in their eyes and ask them if they’re a Hoosier. If you don’t think they do, then you vote No on them.”
LP of Marshall County is equally grateful to Evan McMahon for his words and his challenge to the Hoosiers in Marshall County.
With live music from Austin Pennington,and good food provided by LP Marshall County, the lively crowd lingered for over 2 hours. Connections and friends were made; all with the goal of raising awareness and helping one Hoosier and her family.
The rally also garnered national attention, being shared by 2020 Libertarian Vice Presidential Candidate Spike Cohen, who had this to say, “This is the kind of work that Libertarians do across the country, with just a couple hundred elected Libertarians and thousands of activists. Imagine what we’ll be able to do as we continue to grow.” “We’re just getting started.”
Overall, the night was a huge success. Community awareness was raised, and the combined efforts from the LP Marshall County and the LP Kosciusko County were able to raise nearly $300 for the family!
But the biggest shock of the night came as the crowd started to dwindle.
Suzanne Afolabi, who by her own account was overwhelmed and moved by the outpouring of support, let slip the best news of the night. Earlier in the day, she had been in contact with the insurance company. She had told them earlier that local media had been contacted, and that a rally was scheduled. Because of these things, the insurance company decided it needed to move and move quickly. By the end of the rally, the insurance company had deposited money in her account, and demolition was to begin as soon as the following day.
This is a win. Most importantly, a win for Suzanne Afolabi and her family. But it is also a win for all of us who are concerned with the fight for Liberty and freedom in the State of Indiana.
But the fight is not over. The October 11 zoning board meeting looms. Stay tuned for more information.
Prepared by Anthony Hutchinson, Vice Chair, Libertarian Party of Marshall County