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EDCMC announces Neighborhood Leadership Academy

MICHIGAN CITY — The Economic Development Corporation Michigan City as part of its new Strategic Action Plan 2019-2023 is forming the Neighborhood Leadership Academy to assist in the development of neighborhood leadership associations or developing programs.

This training program is intended to help build capacity within and among Michigan City neighborhoods with the vision of addressing local issues and opportunities in a productive and positive manner.

The Michigan City Neighborhood Leadership Academy seeks to strengthen the communities by educating citizens on the various roles of city government and community partners; and encourages them to build strong neighborhood associations, communicate with city government and engage in neighborhood-level projects.

“This is one of my campaign promises and an excellent first step to ensure stronger neighborhoods within the City of Michigan City,” Mayor Duane Parry said.

“By educating residents about their community, you instill pride and empower them to be part of the change to restore our neighborhoods. I am very happy to see community partnerships working together to strengthen our community.”

MCLNA is an eight-week course beginning in early March for residents who seek to develop their neighborhoods by working with local organizations utilizing local resources. Participants will learn to grow or start their neighborhood association by creating a vision working with neighbors and the rest of the community.

“We are very excited about this program as it models similar approaches across the State of Indiana,” said Clarence Hulse, EDCMC executive director.

“Each class will cover different aspects of organizing a neighborhood association, harnessing local resources, hearing from city departments, learning about Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), creating a neighborhood vision plan, and meeting residents from across the city who also wish to make a difference in their community.”

The course, to be offered to Michigan City residents 18 and over at no cost, is being sponsored by the Urban Enterprise Zone, the Unity Foundation of La Porte County and Horizon Bank.

Thirty applicants will be chosen based on community involvement, volunteer experience and ability to make the time commitment for class. Everyone is welcome to apply as two representatives from each neighborhood representing the city’s six wards is the goal.

Applications can be found at edcmc.com or by contacting the EDCMC office at 219-873-1211 or info@edcmc.com.

Applications are due by Feb. 14, but applicants are encouraged to apply early as the first class begins on March 5. All applicants will be notified by Feb. 18. Applications can be emailed to info@edcmc.com.

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Deuitch keynotes Black History Month event with talk on legacy and 'systemic racism'

MICHIGAN CITY — “We are our history.”

Angie Nelson-Deuitch quoted the late James Baldwin during her keynote speech at the 6th annual Black History Month Kickoff Brunch at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts on Saturday.

Still loosely quoting Baldwin, Deuitch continued, “The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways. And history is literally present in all that we do – everything that we do.”

She talked about some of the “great strides and achievements” of black people in America, up to and including having the country’s first black president. And she wondered aloud what life might be like today if the country’s “unspeakable truths” had been brought to the forefront long ago.

“What if little girls – black, brown, yellow, white – knew about the impact women had with the NASA program and the launch to the moon as we learned in ‘Hidden Figures?’” Deuitch asked rhetorically.

“Think of how many engineers and astronauts we would have that are female today. I’m an electrical engineer, but I’m an anomaly as an electrical engineer by being female and being black.

“What if the educational system focused more on the rich culture and contributions of African-Americans throughout history and not the one-page, G-rated version narrative of the savage, barbaric and brutal conditions of slavery in America? What children and young adults see is what they sometimes believe.”

The problem, Deuitch said, is that people tend to seek out information that supports what they already believe, as opposed to supporting what the facts are.

“What we have failed to highlight is that regardless of systemic racism and discrimination and inequities, African-Americans, black people have risen up,” she said.

“The systemic racism I’m speaking of is still here today. I feel like things have been moving in the right direction, but the tone in America has swiftly taken a turn, stopped progress, and in some cases, reversed the positive wins of equity and equality.”

Her concern was less with individual people and more about systems.

“I am talking about the media, I’m talking about education, housing, health care, jobs, trades, etc.,” Deuitch said. “It’s so important to share the contributions of black people in books, music, art, television, activism, the list goes on. Black History isn’t just about MLK, Rosa Parks, the Civil Rights Movement, and now even the Obamas. It’s about all of the unsung heroes in our families that came before us.”

She reflected on the people who have helped her to become the person she is today – her family members, friends, educators and local pioneers who helped to advance the social status of black people and women in Michigan City.

“Heritage for me spans across 400 years, when the first Africans arrived in Jamestown in 1619 – 400 years ago,” Deuitch said. “Civil wars, world wars, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Suffrage Movement, my family, my extended supporters and Michigan City – that’s my heritage. That’s what it means to me. It’s who I am. On the flip side, I’m the legacy of everything and everyone I just talked about.”

And she reflected on her own legacy that she has worked to leave for her kids – not just those to whom she gave birth, but also those she has coached, led in Girl Scouts, helped get into college and influenced in other ways.

“All of these people are now my legacies,” she said. “… I put something within them.”

Deuitch quoted actress Viola Davis as having said, “It’s OK to strive to be successful. … But in your quest to leave a legacy, you should strive to be significant.”

And in closing, Deuitch asked her audience, “In the legacy you are creating, I want you to ask yourself, ‘Have I been significant in someone’s life?’”

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Pat Boy seeking second term in state legislature

MICHIGAN CITY — First-term state Rep. Patricia (Pat) Boy has filed to seek a second term in 2020 to represent Indiana’s 9th District

The Michigan City Democrat has served the public “effectively and passionately” since her first election to the Michigan City Common Council in 2003, where she championed protection of Lake Michigan and equal rights for all community members, according to Deborah Chubb, co-chair of the Committee to Re-elect Patricia Boy.

Elected to her first term in the Statehouse in 2018, Boy said she will continue to serve constituents and represent them to the best of her ability during this session and, if re-elected, for the next two sessions.

“One of the urgent challenges still to be faced is redistricting,” Boy said. “Gerrymandering creates districts that do not correctly represent the population and discourage voter participation because they are not competitive.

“Voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around,” she said.

Two opportunities to correct the redistricting process would be to create an independent, non-political commission to draw and submit district maps to the legislature for approval; or to create a bi-partisan commission composed of legislators.

“This needs to happen this year to be ready for the next redistricting session after the 2020 Census,” Boy said.

“My redistricting bill in the last session was not heard in committee. However, there is a growing bipartisan movement to change the process in favor of fair maps and transparency in the redistricting process.”

Boy introduced 10 bills in her first year to address social, economic and environmental justice for all, especially the most vulnerable, she said. Some of them supported unions, updating bias-motivation for hate crimes, raising teacher salaries, redistricting reform, legalization of medical marijuana, vote by mail, and a summer study on increasing the minimum wage.

Two of her bill amendments were adopted last year. During the current session, with a limit of five bills per representative, three are being heard in committee, all addressing some of those same principles – parental notification of juveniles arrested at school or school functions before being removed from the school or event; preregistration to vote for 16- and 17 year-olds, with notice by mail when they are old enough to vote; and Notice of Environmental Contamination to include penalties for violations of the notification process.

Boy is a retired business owner and a current member and former president of the non-partisan League of Women Voters of La Porte County.

She is also a member and former president of Michigan City Rotary Club; member and former president of the Michigan City Women’s Democratic Club; a Junior Achievement volunteer; a 2001 graduate of Leadership La Porte County; a member of the La Porte County chapter of the NAACP; and a former member of United Retail Workers Union.

She serves on the Michigan City Storm Water Advisory Group and the La Porte County Rural Broadband Taskforce, which grew out of the Michigan City Broadband Taskforce that she resurrected after a 10-year lapse.

Boy also participates in the Vibrant Communities Initiative to support transparency in local government.

In 2011, she wrote the ordinance to create the Commission for Women in Michigan City; and in 2019, helped to create the Commission for Sustainability, which develops plans to address climate change.

Her last official project for 2019 was the new Michigan City Commission for Veterans. In 2018, she was endorsed by both the AFL-CIO and ISTA, among other organized labor groups.

The eldest of eight siblings, and daughter of two WWII Marine Corps master sergeants, boy is a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago. She has one son and one grandson who reside in Michigan City. Her late husband served in the U.S. Army from 1970-72.

Boy said she is “passionate about protecting the environment; ensuring public schools and teachers have adequate funding; making medical care and insurance available to everyone; reducing the cost of prescription medication; and equal pay for equal work.

“I’ve lived here more than half my life and raised my family here. I want to continue to move Indiana forward,” she said.