VE 3 and Community Connections

 
 

Gary, IN: A Tale of Two Cities (2018) 

The goals of this documentary were five-fold, to:

  • Move beyond traditional research 

  • Present counter-narratives of the lives of residents

  • Identify macro-level problems and residents’ choices

  • Provide an example of scholarly activism

  • Listen to people’s voices 

Poverty, crime, and urban blight are words often used to describe Gary, Indiana. But do these words accurately reflect the present city or its promise? Do they capture the legacy and the lives of its residents? Does a focus on the city’s trials overshadow its triumphs? This 60 minute documentary candidly depicts the two faces of Gary, Indiana - the current problems facing this once thriving rust-belt metropolis as well as the progress and possibilities evident among its people, churches, and communities. The film also shows some of the tensions Gary faces as it reconciles its past, transforms its present, and charts its future (click below to see the film)

 

The IAM! Experience

  • Inspired

  • Affirmed

  • And Making it Happen

In addition to one-on-one conversations over coffee with team members, group gatherings, and social media activities, the IAM! prevention program taps into existing racial and cultural strengths of today’s black young men. The program is funded by a 2015 Department of Health and Human Services grant ($1.5 million over 5 years) to build and enhance existing capacities among young black men who have sex with men (BMSM) and features a community-level intervention to combat HIV and Hep-C called D-up: Defend Yourself! The IAM! experience includes skill-building activities, group dialogue, and other creative events to provide individuals with knowledge, practical tools, and support to proactively make healthier decisions and think more positively about themselves. Participants leave with usable resources and tools to be better equipped and empowered to effect positive change in their lives and in the lives of their friends.  Ultimately IAM! helps educate BMSM about: positive racial and sexual images; HIV and substance abuse; spirituality; self-care; peer support; and, introspection in a culturally sensitive, fun, safe, and innovative environment. To date, over one hundred young men have completed the intensive weekend experience and hundreds more have availed themselves of the program’s indirect services. Click here to learn more about IAM!.

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Debut of “Gary, IN: A Tale of Two Cities” in Gary, IN (2016)  (Vernon G. Smith, Democratic member of the IN House of Representatives, center)

Debut of “Gary, IN: A Tale of Two Cities” in Gary, IN (2016) (Vernon G. Smith, Democratic member of the IN House of Representatives, center)

 
The IAM! Office in the Campus of Fisk University (2017)

The IAM! Office in the Campus of Fisk University (2017)