The Gary-based Urban League of Northwest Indiana hosted its annual luncheon to honor individuals and businesses promoting cultural diversity and inclusion.
The luncheon, which took place Oct. 25 at Avalon manor in Merrillville, featured keynote speaker LaPorte Circuit Court Magistrate Erika Stallworth.
The Urban League of Northwest Indiana saluted individuals, businesses, nonprofit and civic organizations that have advocated for diversity and inclusion through programs and initiatives in communities across Northwest Indiana.
This year’s honorees included:
- Minority Business Award: Marion Williams, owner of WLTH Radio in Gary
- Moving the Needle Award: Dr. Danita Williams, president and CEO of Edgewater Health in Gary, Griffith and Cedar Lake
- Youth Award: Jeffrey Edwards, founder of Gary Community Partnership Corp. in Gary
- Community Award: Linda Jones, president and CEO of Gary Historical & Cultural Society in Gary
- Leadership Award: Mike and Mary Martinez, founder of Hannah's Hope in Portage
- Lifetime Award: Leigh Morris, former mayor, educator and chairman of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority in Crown Point
“While we have made significant strides in helping create more diverse and inclusive settings across the counties we serve, our work is far from done,” Dr. Vanessa Allen-McCloud, president and CEO of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, said in a press release. “Embracing and respecting one another’s differences and beliefs is part of the narrative. The ultimate goal is for diversity and inclusion to become commonplace and not an initiative that has to be implemented on so many fronts.”
The Urban League of Northwest Indiana promotes cultural diversity and economic opportunities in African American and minority communities in Lake, Porter and La Porte counties. A not-for-profit organization, it provides youth scholarships, college readiness and developmental training programs. The Urban League of Northwest Indiana was founded in Gary in 1945.