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Dr. Vernon Smith recognized for work with youth

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Photo caption: Indiana State Representative Dr. Vernon G. Smith

Indiana State Representative Dr. Vernon G. Smith of Indiana’s 14th House District is slated to receive the Katie Hall Educational Foundation’s Merit of Distinction Award for outstanding public service to the youth of Gary and Northwest Indiana.

Smith is a former member of the Gary Common Council representing the 4th District from 1972-1990. During his professional and political career, Smith has created and led many businesses and organizations, with a primary mission of educating and empowering the lives of young people, especially African-American males.

Representative Smith (D-Gary) is an educator and has served in the Indiana House of Representatives since 1990. He is the ranking minority member of the House Education Committee, and is a member of the Local Government Committee, and the Financial Institutions Committee.

Currently a professor of Education at Indiana University Northwest, he has won every teaching award offered on the Northwest Campus.

Smith’s professional background includes experience at several public schools in Gary. He was the principal of Williams School and Nobel School, and assistant principal of Ivanhoe School in Gary. He was the first African American to serve as an officer of the Indiana State Principals Association.

His educational background includes a B.S. degree from Indiana University, an M.S. degree from Indiana University, an Ed.D. degree from Indiana University and post-doctorate studies at Indiana University and Purdue University.

Active in several professional and civic organizations, Smith helped found several civic groups. Among them are the I.U. Dons, Inc., the African American Achievers Youth Corps, Inc., the Vernon Stars, Youth Ensuring Solidarity (YES) and the Young Citizen League. Smith is the recipient of over 200 awards and honors, and is the author of numerous magazine and journal articles and four books.

In recent years, during the legislative session of the Indiana General Assembly, Smith has highlighted the concept of critical race theory, where educators in the State of Indiana are permitted to teach their students a comprehensive history of America, detailing the slavery and Reconstruction periods, including the modern

Civil Rights Era and the Trail of Tears, among other atrocities inflicted on minority peoples.

Smith is a proponent of the critical race theory concept and has written numerous articles on this profound and relevant theory in various local media outlets.

Smith’s critical race theory concept efforts in the Indiana General Assembly, to include critical race theory concepts in the curriculum of Indiana’s public school districts, are vehemently supported by the Katie Hall Educational Foundation, Inc. General Counsel and Chaplain John Henry Hall, a former colleague of Smith’s.

Dr. Hall, a 37-year adjunct professor of African American History at Indiana University Northwest stated, “The teaching of critical race theory concepts throughout the entire Indiana public school system is of utmost importance in teaching present and future students in an honest and open manner about the unjust treatment of African Americans and other minorities in all spheres of American society. Dr. Smith is an advocate of fairness for all people regardless of race, gender and national origin. He is and continues to be an advocate and servant of the people of Gary and all of God’s children.”

Past recipients of the Foundation’s Merit of Distinction Award are: Associate Indiana Supreme Court Justice Robert Rucker (Ret.), Attorney Hilbert L. Bradley, Attorney Robert L. Lewis, Attorney Shelice Tolbert, and Attorney Michael Tolbert.

The Annual Katie Hall Public Service Awards Luncheon and Program will be held on Saturday, April 15 at the St. Timothy Community Chuch Fellowship Hall, 1600 W 25th Ave. in Gary. The VIP Reception honoring Dr. Smith and his fellow 2023 Co-Awardees will begin at 12:00 p.m. with the Luncheon Awards Program beginning at 1:00 p.m.

For more information, contact the law office of Attorney John Henry Hall at (219) 883-7711, or Junifer Hall at (312) 953-5697, or [email protected].

Indiana University Northwest is a Bronze level sponsor of the 10th Annual Katie Hall Public Service Awards Luncheon and Program.

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