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Inaugural “This Is Gary” Ignites Great Passion for Steel City

This Is Gary

“This Is Gary,” a 5-day initiative created to shine light on Gary’s greatness, officially wrapped its inaugural debut June 26th. Ultimately, hundreds were able to experience what creator Joslyn Kelly calls “Gary’s glory” through seminars, volunteerism, tourism, tributes and music.

“Gary has a rich history, amazing people and so much to offer,” said Kelly, owner of J’s Breakfast Club, which is located in Gary’s Glen Park neighborhood. “This Is Gary provided a platform for any and everyone to share, learn and grow.”

The first of its kind, “This is Gary” is a collaboration between J’s Breakfast Club, and Kelly’s Victory Way project, which is the beautification of the gateway leading into the heart of Gary at 26th and Broadway. This location is also the future site of a newly constructed J’s Breakfast Club in the fall of 2022.

The schedule of events included the following:

Day 1 – Youth Empowerment Day highlighted Gary natives representing various industries and professions sharing their stories of triumph and defying odds to achieve success with Gary youth.

Day 2 – Be the Change Day
On this day, spaces and places throughout the city were cleaned and beautified, coupled with conversations taking place about Gary’s transformation one block at a time.

Day 3 – On Heritage Day, a “mobile museum tour” took place highlighting five sections of the city. Participants could select one of the guided bus tours that were narrated by those possessing extensive knowledge of Gary’s history. The day concluded with a discussion at Indiana University Northwest.

Day 4 – Held at Gary’s Hard Rock Casino, the Vision Ball was a formal affair which kicked off with a Trailblazer Impact Award Reception honoring Gary natives nominated by the community. The goal of the affair was to engage, celebrate and set an active movement towards embracing the transformation of the city. The event featured music, dinner, dancing and live entertainment.

The honorees were as follows:

Brandon Bee Bowens

Kevin Bradley

Elder Carrell Cargle

Jerla Freeman Disco

Rev. Dwight Gardner

Wallace D. Johnson

Linda Jones

Ludeen Kilgore

Carmen McKee

Shirley Moorehead

Louis Robb

Earline Rogers

Dr. Janet Seabrook

McKenya Dilworth-Smith

Takia “KiKi” Smith

Mark Spencer

Saundra Starling

Catisha Toney

Chelsea Whittington

Day 5 – “This is Gary” culminated with a Gospel Explosion Concert featuring gospel soloists and groups from across the city. “These five days have been simply incredible,” said Kelly. “It could not have happened without some amazing volunteers, generous sponsors and God’s grace.” Souvenir “This Is Gary” coffee table books chronicling stories of Gary natives are available for purchase. Donations are also still being accepted in support of the Victory Way project. For more information, contact Kelly at 219-218-5659 or [email protected].


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