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Empowering Communities.
Changing Lives in Lake, Porter, & LaPorte Counties






“Diversity and Inclusion – Courageous Conversations”

Dr. Vanessa Allen-McCloud,

President and CEO, Urban League of Northwest Indiana


Sometimes we can feel that we are up against impossible odds.  The challenges of racial and economic injustices, the difficulty many find moving forward on the path to equality and the resistance we see on a national level to policies leading to the “greater good” can leave us wondering about the future of our region and our nation.

A profound and relevant response to these challenges is to see new possibilities that can arise out of diversity and inclusion practices.  This year at our Diversity and Inclusion Symposium we took on employer issues such as doing business with the State of Indiana and creating supplier diversity.  But we also tackled the harder conversations about race, privilege, power and identity.  We believe that silence is not an option, especially when so much is at stake.

The Urban League event was held on Thursday, November 9th, 2017 at Purdue University Northwest.  As Urban League President and CEO, I am proud to say that ours is the only region-wide symposium that focuses on these issues within Northwest Indiana.

The morning began with a panel of State and Local executives who provided information on diversity and inclusion as it relates to job training requirements, heavy highway jobs, construction, women and minority certification, and trades union job opportunities. Other collaborative panelists included NAACP President Steve Mays and the Indiana Human Right Commission Executive Director Haneefah Khaaliq.

We then introduced a number of innovative break-out sessions whereby participants were able to discuss the realities of uncivil behavior, racism, privilege and inequality in a safe and non-threatening environment.

We believe that information and conversation are crucial elements in bringing about new understandings among employers and people in the workforce.  Therefore, every year, through this event, we rededicate ourselves to our goals of knocking down barriers and opening doors to equality and prosperity by providing strategies to overcome these barriers.

As follow up to the symposium, on March 22nd, 2018, the Urban League’s Diversity and Inclusion luncheon will acknowledge the achievements of local organizations that promote diversity and inclusion.

Business and surrounding area organizations are encouraged to apply for a diversity and inclusion award. Awards will be presented at the luncheon. For more information on submitting an award application, visit the website at www.ulofnwi.org . For questions, phone the Urban League offices at (219) 887-9621.

Notice of Public Discussion for the Gary Comprehensive Plan

Notice of Public Discussion for the Gary Comprehensive Plan

Date: Thursday, September 21, 2017

Time: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Where: 504 Broadway (1st Floor)

What is America’s promise to all its people?

What is the promise of America?  Is it bestowed on certain sections of the population to the detriment of everyone else?  Does this promise create inequality and imbalance or equity and opportunity?  We know what the answer should be, but if we are honest, we understand that the promise is a long way from being fulfilled.

We in Northwest Indiana are no different than the rest of the country.  We face the test of our determination to make good on the promise of America to all of our citizens.

Today, we do this in the face of massive support for that promise.  We can see it in the “days of absence” we have witnessed and will continue to see throughout the country.

Take for instance, the recent “Day without Immigrants” where restaurants, food markets, factories and other businesses closed because immigrants instead took to the streets in general strikes and demonstrations from coast to coast.    The purpose was to show all of America the important role immigrants play in the economy and to make a profound statement about the value of all human life in the face of inhumane incarcerations and deportations that break up families and destroy innocent lives.

There is a hunger for justice in America-a hunger for diversity and inclusion in all areas of life.  We will see this on March 8, International Women’s Day, when another general strike will take place in America which is part of the fight back against the misogyny and mistreatment women in our country endure on a daily basis.

In this context, the Urban League Diversity and Inclusion Luncheon is a beacon of hope that like-minded people in Northwest Indiana will come together to celebrate those who are leading our region in the right direction.

The 5th Annual Diversity Awards Luncheon will be held on Friday, March 23, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. The deadline to submit an application for an award has been extended to Friday, March 3, 2017 by 12 noon. The event will be hosted at the Avalon Banquet Center in Merrillville, Indiana where awards will be presented to businesses and organizations throughout Lake, LaPorte and Porter counties that embrace and celebrate inclusion and participation of a diverse people in their workforces.

Last year, this annual event hosted over 500 people who came together to recognize those who are in the forefront of making Northwest Indiana a better place in which to live, work and recreate.

Recognition will be given for outstanding performance, in one or all of the following six categories.  Where does your business or agency fit in?

  • Community Award: To be presented to an organization or group that actively supports activities and services which engage diverse citizens and develops opportunities for inclusion.
  • Leadership Award: To be presented to an organization that promotes diversity and inclusion on a local and regional level.
  • Workforce Diversity Award: To be presented to an organization that implements innovative strategies to attract, select, promote and maintain a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
  • Moving the Needle Award: To be presented to nominees with exceptional effort in all above three categories.
  • Youth Award: To be presented to an organization or group that involves and engages the youth in activities that promote diversity and inclusion.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: To be presented to one individual or organization for outstanding vision, dedication and lifelong commitment to advance diversity and inclusion.

Sponsorship and ticket information is located on our website. Payments can be made online at www.ulofnwi.org. For more information, please phone the Urban League office at 219-887-9621.

We must act now on behalf of ourselves and all future generations.


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