There has been an outpouring of support for the town of Merrillville’s inaugural Black History Celebration Dinner. More than 350 people are expected to attend the sold-out event taking place on February 23 at the Mike Anderson Chevrolet Event Center at the Dean and Barbara White Community Center, 6600 Broadway.
“I am amazed at the overwhelming showing of support for our inaugural event,” Town Council President Rick Bella said. “Sponsorships and ticket sales have been tremendous, and it is hard to believe that we are announcing that the event that will seat 352 guests is sold out.”
The event will feature a keynote address from Alonzo Weems, executive vice president of enterprise risk management and chief ethics and compliance officer of Eli Lilly and Company. Weems leads Lilly’s global ethics and compliance function. He has held a variety of roles with the company, including director for global workforce diversity. In that position, Weems oversaw the refresh of the company’s workforce diversity and inclusion strategy.
The Black History Dinner also will feature a presentation by the Three Sopranos and the South Shore Dance Alliance. Terry Richardson & Ensemble will perform with accompaniment by the Steven Manns, Jr. Band. The event will end with a video presentation and a special announcement. The Black History Celebration Dinner is the result of months of planning. A special committee of Merrillville administration and town staff collaborated to organize the event. Town Councilman Richard Hardaway, chairman of the event committee, is thankful for all the efforts made to arrange the important program.
“When I first mentioned a Black History Celebration Dinner a few months ago, I never envisioned so much support from the business and local community,” Hardaway said. “This event will continue to ask both families and businesses that are looking for a new home, ‘WHY NOT MERRILLVILLE?’”
The Black History Celebration Dinner is possible because of the generous contributions of many local businesses and other community organizations that have long been involved in the growth of the municipality.
“We are humbled by the overwhelming community support,” Merrillville Town Manager Patrick Reardon said. “Many of these donors are the same companies who have supported us with past events like our annual job fair.”