A conservation struggle is emerging in Michigan City, Indiana. Bismarck Hill, the city’s last remaining undeveloped dune, is eyed by developers and the parks department for a privately-operated, seasonal zip-line business.
Residents plan to speak on the issue at the city council meeting on Wednesday, 7 June, 2017.
The Michigan City Social Justice Group asked its followers to state reasons to preserve an undisturbed landscape. Responses note the ecological problems and limited economic benefit that private development would bring. The major regional environmental and conservation organizations have thus far failed to make a statement on this issue.
This sort of development seems to contradict the parks department’s natural restoration efforts undertaken earlier this spring. In March the department spoke of the “substantial benefits” to “native communities” such as “long-term reduced maintenance costs, carbon footprint reduction, improved soil stability, excess nutrient filtration, stormwater runoff reduction, aesthetic enhancement, and increased habitat diversity for insects, birds, amphibians and mammals.” All things that would be impacted or disrupted by this proposed business.
A #BlackLivesMatter forum on Monday, 27 April, 2015 brought nearly 100 people to the Dubois branch of the Gary Public Library. While riot guards were entrapping and inflicting harm on school children in Baltimore, event organizers here presented a list of specific demands while the community testified to personal abuses at the hands of police. Unlike a forum held in nearby East Chicago late last year (under the guise of #BlackLivesMatter but dominated by the local police and power elites), this evening’s event organizers were more careful to privilege the community’s voice, restricting the conditions by and when (local) power would speak. The typical reactionary victim blaming was largely avoided.
Local media failed to communicate the purpose and message of the forum. The Times filed no story, the Post Tribune reporter arrived late, missing the presentation of demands, and quoted none of the panelists or forum organizers, instead relying on the “hug-a-cop” frame. Among the demands of the forum were: an end to The Sweeps and predatory fines, anti-racist training for the police, and greater police accountability to the community through an independent citizen review board, more public reporting, and local residency requirements.
Panelist Kwabena Pratt reminded those in attendance of the words uttered by Lake County police Dan Murchek to an assembly of 16 police agencies during The Sweeps in Gary last year: “Let’s have fun and take a bunch of people to jail tonite.” Another officer said of the Sweeps: “This is like a treat.”
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was granted the privilege of final word. The essence of her comments were captured by local media.
As the forum ended and we filed out of the library a television near the entrance caught the attention of some attendants. We saw our first visuals from Baltimore and a palpable heaviness fell upon my friends and neighbors. And some back-and-forth began
“All those people who won’t have jobs tomorrow…”
“How can you compare property damage to murder?”
14 December, 2014
The Region hasn’t seen a day like this in decades; and it won’t be the last, this Movement is growing.
Before the rally a local reactionary ‘Mad Monk’ made his bid for Passive Aggressive Notes fame, impaling the trees on city hall lawn with crudely executed signage that rally participants delighted in detourning, posing with, and ultimately desecrating.
13 December, 2014
Michigan City, IN
Broadway and Ridge Rd
Sunday, 7 December, 2014
East Chicago, IN
Indianapolis Blvd and Chicago St
Sunday, 7 December, 2014.