There is profound truth in the simple idiom that, “to whom much is given, much is required.”
In Gary, there are countless good people constantly doing good things for good causes throughout the year with nothing expected in return but the gratification of knowing that they are making a difference. But no matter how much is done, giving is in many ways like love. There are always more needs, so you can never give too much.
The other day, God awakened me with an epiphany. He said in appreciation of how so many beautiful people of Gary poured into my experience for more than four decades, I should literally GIVE local residents a live stage performance of my critically acclaimed play, “BEING BLACK,” at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, December 3, at The Glen Theater, 20 West Ridge Road.
So, gather friends, church members, co-workers, your organization, or family to come together for a free holiday event! Complimentary tickets are available on Eventbrite or from State Rep. Vernon G. Smith, who is on a mission to maintain the Glen Theater as a comfortable, viable venue for performing arts in Gary. For those without advance tickets, there will be free admission at the door until we pack the house.
“BEING BLACK” is a lively, engaging production that originated with the Indianapolis-based African Repertory Theatre of IUPUI. All age appropriate, this play explores many layers of Black life and culture through soulful and inspirational spoken word; song and vignettes. “BEING BLACK” has played to sold-out audiences in Central Indiana since 2020. This is the Northwest Indiana premiere.
There is a second part to this vision given to me by the Lord. While admission to the play is free, in the mood of the season, theatergoers are encouraged (though not required) to consider donations of non-perishable food items, new or lightly worn clothing, winter outerwear, and toys to be distributed to needy Gary families over the holidays by the I.U. Dons, Inc.
Dr. Smith remarked, “Most times when natives of Gary leave and become successful, they forget about their roots. This is never the case with Vernon Williams. He has always had a heart for Gary. This event is just one more proof of it. Donations generated by a great night of entertainment will go to organizations that have constantly evidenced commitment to Gary for the benefit of the people of Gary.”
To know Gary is to love it. You have to have lived there now, to understand. Once known as “The Steel City,” perched on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana, it is a place where innumerable minds and spirits of Black children were nurtured into responsible achievers and incredible citizens who thrive on giving back.
What irony that in the place from which so many have taken so much away, Gary has persevered to remain one of the most giving environments you can find on the planet. Even after white flight, corporate abandonment and character assassination by media, the voices of Gary residents past and present echo the poetic chorus, “… and still I rise.”
No matter what its mantra, Gary is far from being cold as steel. On the contrary, the city is far better characterized by the warm and giving souls of its fruit, people who now—or at some time in the past—called Gary home. Prayerfully, this upcoming theatrical event will be yet another example of Garyites’ selfless generosity and giving.
For more information on the free Gary performance of the play “BEING BLACK,” at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, December 3, at the Glen, just reach out to Dr. Smith or contact me directly at 317.457.8779 or [email protected].
And remember Luke 12:48: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Come on out and enjoy a great play and, even more, the gratification of your generosity.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].