Elected officials and the president of Calumet College of St. Joseph will take part in a panel discussion this week on inner-city poverty.
The Twin City Ministerial Alliance, a group of pastors from Gary, East Chicago and Hammond, is sponsoring the panel as part of its 2020 plan to encourage more economic development and address poverty in the urban community, said The Rev. Darnell Johnson, CEO of the Holistic Community Coalition and pastor of the Mt. Hermon Missionary Baptist Church.
The talk will take place at 10 a.m. Friday at the First Baptist Church of East Chicago, 4911 McCook Ave.
"It's important this issue is brought to the forefront," Johnson said. "We're working within the community to raise social consciousness."
The panel includes Calumet College President Dan Lowery, state Rep. Earl Harris, state Sen. Lonnie Randolph, The Foundations of East Chicago Executive Director Russell Taylor, Lake Circuit/Superior Court Clerk Michael A. Brown and Lake County Councilman Jerome Price. They will discuss a range of issues related to poverty, including public perception, stereotypes stigma and correlations of race and class.
The public is welcome to attend the discussion.
"It isn't an issue that only affects blacks," Johnson said. "We need to come together collectively to address this issue. Our overall goal is to make sure the spiritual welfare of the community is always considered."