The first “This Is Gary” sparks great passion for Steel City

“This Is Gary,” a 5-day initiative created to shine a light on Gary’s greatness, officially wrapped up its inaugural debut on June 26. Ultimately, hundreds of people were able to experience what designer Joslyn Kelly calls “Gary’s Glory” through seminars, volunteering, sightseeing, tributes and music.

“Gary has a rich history, amazing people and so much to offer,” said Kelly, owner of J’s Breakfast Club, located in the Gary’s Glen Park neighborhood. “This Is Gary has provided a platform for all 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 walkway leading to Gary’s heart 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 challenging the odds of success with Gary youth.

Day 2 – Be the day of change
That day, spaces and places across the city were cleaned and beautified, coupled with conversations about transforming Gary one block at a time.

Day 3 – Heritage Day, a “Roading Museum Tour” was held showcasing five sections of the city. Participants could choose one of the guided bus tours narrated by people with in-depth knowledge of Gary’s story. The day ended with a discussion at Indiana University Northwest.

Day 4 – Held at Gary’s Hard Rock Casino, the Vision Ball was an official affair that began with a reception of Trailblazer Impact awards honoring community-nominated Gary natives. The purpose of the case was to engage, celebrate and build an active movement to embrace the transformation of the city. The event included music, dinner, dancing and performances.

The winners were:

Brandon Bee Bowen

Kevin Bradley

Brother Carrell Cargle

Jerla Freeman Nightclub

Reverend Dwight Gardner

Wallace D. Johnson

Linda Jones

Ludeen Kilgore

Carmen McKee

Shirley Moorehead

Louis Robb

Earle Rogers

Dr. Janet Seabrook

McKenya Dilworth-Smith

Takia “KiKi” Smith

Mark Spencer

Saundra Starling

Catisha Toney

Chelsea Whittington

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

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