Michigan City Economic Development Corporation position statement on diversity and inclusion

By: Economic Development Corporation Michigan City, Indiana Last Updated: June 19, 2020

Over the last several weeks, pain, anguish and shock consumed the hearts and souls of millions who watched the video footage of the senseless killing of George Floyd. If that were not enough, more lives were lost with the passing of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery by the hands of injustice. Throughout America's history, there are countless untold stories, never receiving the opportunity to pursue justice in the court of law. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr once wrote in a letter from a Birmingham jail, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Racism, injustice, discrimination and oppression are present in our nation. The time for change is now.

It has been encouraging to see so many business and political leaders increasing their calls for change. The Board of Directors of Michigan City Economic Development Corporation (EDCMC) stand in solidarity with our black community and all black communities in our nation and around the world because black lives DO matter. Their education, their families, their work and all of their contributions to our society matter. Inclusion and acceptance of our differences is the key to transcend above the racism and inequality that permeates in our society.

The EDCMC is committed to two key components of the EDCMC 2019-2023 strategic plan: supporting workforce development, job skill programs, the development of new housing opportunities and programs that support existing homeowners. Additionally, we will partner with other community organizations to offer diversity training to EDCMC business investors, and the public at large.

We must do more than simply issue a statement of support and solidarity to the black people and all minorities living in our community, we must commit to the development of policies and programs that drive change and build inclusive communities, a key objective of the strategic plan. This inclusion will bring different communities together, provide hope and ultimately result in a better quality of life. This is the commitment of our Executive Director, Clarence Hulse, and our Board of Directors of the EDCMC and in that spirit will:

• Reach out to our black population in Michigan City, seeking fresh voices for our Boards and Committees.
• Partner with like-minded organizations, committed to inclusive and equitable communities.
• Develop policy and programming on closing the persistent “wealth divide” between white households and households of color, and make this a priority for broader economic policy especially in the arena of workforce development and housing.
• Advocate and advise City and non-profit leadership on community-based strategies and opportunities that aim to improve economic opportunity for all, with a focus on black and disadvantaged residents.
• Advocate within the business community to be more inclusive, and make the connections needed to be a resource for community and local business working to advance diversity within Michigan City and LaPorte County.
We stand ready to work with other community leaders to address these challenges. Our strength as a community comes from our diversity, and the way forward is together. In unity, we can and will emerge with strength, dignity and compassion for ALL.

Mission Statement
To develop and implement seamless policies, procedures and programs for economic and community development that drive systemic and long-term viability through collaboration and consensus with our stakeholders and community resources.

Vision Statement
To assure the long-term viability of Michigan City with a healthy and robust business environment, modern public infrastructure, a stable tax base, outstanding customer service and quality human, technical and financial resources so that local leaders are able to sustain needed change.

Stephanie Oberlie
Chair, EDCMC

Clarence Hulse
Executive Director, EDCMC