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How AACI plans to hold mayor accountable

As mayoral candidates spent the months leading up to the Nov. 5 election talking about what their administrations would do for Black people in Indianapolis, one of the most common themes that came up at town halls and forums was accountability.

There were numerous events that led to this point.

Democrat Joe Hogsett, who was elected to his second term, and Republican challenger Jim Merritt detailed in a response and forum at Central Library what they would do to address so-called deserts in Indianapolis, including economic, public safety and education.

Merritt tied that in with his Black agenda, an idea that started gaining momentum after the first mayoral debate in late August.

There was also a Black agenda debate and Black agenda town hall. Most of the organizing around establishing a Black agenda came from organizations under the umbrella of the African American Coalition of Indianapolis (AACI).

Hogsett mostly talked about what his administration has done since he took office in 2016 and did not articulate a Black agenda, a topic on which he gave mixed messages since it came up in August.

His administration faced criticism from Merritt and Black leaders for not meeting the city's goal for contracts awarded to women and minority business enterprises. Hogsett also said he would advocate for renters' rights and increase the number of housing choice vouchers, among other things.

All of these issues need to be assessed independently going forward, AACI chairman Willis Bright said in an interview before the election.

"At an appropriate time after a mayor is elected, we would want to have a conversation with that mayor and his staff people that are in charge of those respective areas about how they would address those specific

concerns," he said.

Pastor David Greene, president of Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis, said there will be more forums in the future — similar to the ones Hogsett and Merritt participated in at the library — to address deserts in the African American community.

Greene also said there could be a "state of the African American community" address in 2020, delivered by some combination of AACI organizations.

"We're moving in the right direction," Greene said, adding that this is the most energy he's seen around holding a mayor accountable to addressing Black issues. "We just can't allow the momentum to stop."

Marshawn Wolley, policy director for AACI, declined an interview for this story but said multiple times at different events that establishing and implementing a Black agenda should be about more than this particular election.

"Black Indianapolis is dying," he told those who attended a Black agenda town hall at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in October. "... We are not living. We are not thriving to where we want to be."

AACI plans to hold similar town halls in other parts of the city in the future. There will also be a Facebook Live town hall at 6 p.m. Nov. 29 on the AACI and Indy Black Chamber Facebook pages.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

How family shaped this veteran's experience in the military

Had Linda Lewis-Everett not enlisted in the U.S. Army, a long family legacy of joining the military would have still continued.

She had plenty of siblings — six of her 12, to be exact — who took care of that. The line of service dates back to her great-grandfather, but even when she enlisted when she was 22, Lewis-Everett did it for her own reasons.

Her job at the bank wasn't paying enough money to support her and a young son, so Lewis-Everett figured joining the military would be a good way to finish her college education. She attended Indiana University before enlisting and got her degree from the University of Phoenix after leaving the Army.

Lewis-Everett accomplished her goal, but she also became part of something bigger along the way.

"I was young and went for more personal reasons, not to uphold any family legacy," she said, "but in retrospect, I'm glad I was a part of that family legacy."

Lewis-Everett joined the Army in 1982 as a clerk. She was stationed at Fort McClellan in Alabama and Barstow in California. Her last tour, a year and a half in South Korea, was also her longest.

The tour in South Korea was what's known as an "unaccompanied tour," meaning she couldn't take her 4-year-old son. Lewis-Everett said that was the main reason she left the Army in 1986. She achieved the rank of sergeant by that point.

Her son, Kenneth Peters, is 40 now and said he didn't comprehend the sacrifice his mother made until he was older.

"Realizing she couldn't be away from me or family let me know how important I was," he said. "She made this sacrifice but also understood she had to return."

Lewis-Everett, 58, said her time in the military was a good experience because it exposed her to other cultures and customs. She enjoyed traveling and feels like she still benefits from those four years.

"I'm accustomed to difference, if that makes sense," she said. "It sounds like a juxtaposition, but I'm used to things being different."

Lewis-Everett said she didn't experience the kind of discrimination she heard about from older relatives who had also been in the military, but being an African American woman has continued to test some people's automatic association of veteran status with a man.

When she's out to dinner or at a store, Lewis-Everett said, she asks employees if they offer a veteran discount, and they usually thank her husband, Dubois Everett, for his service, even though he wasn't in the military.

"When we think of the military, we think of male," she said.

Lewis-Everett is part of a group called Sister Soldier Network, which honors Black women who have served in the military.

Lewis-Everett is now an author. She said she's always enjoyed writing and usually has multiple projects going at the same time. Her historical fiction book, "I Still Hear the Drums," won an award from Author Academy Elite.

The book is about a girl who's stolen from her African home and enslaved. Lewis-Everett knew she wanted the cover art to be of a man playing the drums, and after some reluctance, Peters agreed to be photographed for the cover.

"I was willing to do it, of course," he said, "because she's my mom."

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

Hogsett wins second term, Democrats gain stronger majority in city-county council

Marion County voters elected Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, a Democrat, to his second term Nov. 5 and gave Democrats a stronger majority on the Indianapolis City-Council Council.

Hogsett faced challenger Jim Merritt, a Republican state senator who pushed Hogsett hardest on public safety. The race took a turn after the first debate in late August, when Merritt said his campaign would develop a Black agenda and Hogsett said his would not. Merritt did develop a Black agenda, and there was a debate focused on issues affecting the Black community. Still, Indy Politics polls showed Hogsett's support has remained high among African Americans.

In the city-council, Democrats flipped at least five seats from Republicans. It could end up being six, but District 15, where Republican Andy Harris is the incumbent, was too close to call by deadline.

In Lawrence, the mayoral race between Republican incumbent Steve Collier and Democratic challenger Jamar Cobb-Dennard was also too close to call by deadline.


☑ = Winner

D = Democrat

R = Republican

I = Independent

L = Libertarian

G = Green Party

* = Incumbent


☑Joe Hogsett (D)* — 71.5%

Jim Merritt (R) — 26.8%

Douglas McNaughton (L) — 1.5%


(too close to call) Steve Collier (R)* — 51%

Jamar Cobb-Dennard (D) — 49%



☑ Leroy Robinson (D)* — 72.4%

Richard Anderson (R) — 27.6%


Keith Potts (D) — 61.7%

☑ Colleen Fanning (R)* — 38.3%


☑ Dan Boots (D) — 64.1%

Dan Jones (R) — 35.9%


☑ Ethan Evans (D) — 52.2%

Mike McQuillen (R)* — 47.8%


☑ Alison Brown (D) — 54.9%

Adam Cox (R) — 45.1%


☑ Cristina Carlino (D) — 52.2%

Janice McHenry (R)* — 47.8%


☑ John Barth (D) — 87.2%

Stu Rhodes (R) — 12.8%


☑ Monroe Gray Jr. (D)* — 85.1%

Patrick Midla (R) — 14.9%


☑ William Oliver (D)* — 100%


☑ Maggie Lewis (D)* — 86.4%

Clancy Arnold (R) — 13.6%


☑ Vop Osili (D)* — 89%

Evan Shearin (R) — 11%


☑ Blake Johnson (D)* — 72.5%

Jerry Mahshie (R) — 24%

Justin Harter (L) — 3.5%


☑ Keith Graves (D)* — 88.4%

Jay Thompson (R) — 11.6%


☑ La Keisha Jackson (D)* — 67.4%

Derris Ross (I) — 22.5%

Karl Henry (R) — 10.1%


(too close to call)

Jessica McCormick (D) — 50.5%

Andy Harris (R)* — 49.5%


☑ Kristin Jones (D) — 52.8%

Laura Giffel (R) — 44.9%

Mike Smith (G) — 2.3%


☑ Zach Adamson (D)* — 79.2%

Tom Sutton (R) — 10.8%

Antonio Lipscomb (I) — 8.4%

Paul Copeland (L) — 1.5%


☑ Michael-Paul Hart (R) — 53%

Duane Ingram (D) — 47%


☑ David Ray (D)* — 59.1%

Tony Mendez (R) — 40.9%


☑ Jason Holiday (R)* — 53.5%

Phil Webster (D) — 46.5%


☑ Frank Mascari (D)* — 62.7%

Tyler Richardson (R) — 37.3%


☑ Jared Evans (D)* — 58.4%

Jason Richey (R) — 41.6%


☑ Paul Annee (R) — 60.4%

Beverly McDermott-Piazza (D) — 39.6%


☑ Michael Dilk (R) — 54.7%

Ben Brown (D) — 45.3%


☑ Brian Mowery (R)* — 63.4%

Justin Braun (D) — 36.6%

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

Crossley to participate in conversation at Wabash College

Award-winning journalist, commentator and public speaker Callie Crossley will participate in a conversation about the legacy of civil rights leader Malcolm X at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at Wabash College's Baxter Hall 101.

The event — "Eyes on the Prize and Race in America" — is free and open to the public. Wabash is home to the Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies, founded during the 1970-71 school year.

Crossley worked at WTHR in Indianapolis in the 1970s before going to ABC News, where she became a producer for the news program "20/20." Crossley has since worked at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism and has been a contributor and commentator for Fox News.

Crossley joined Boston


The award-winning journalist, commentator and public speaker will participate in a conversation about the legacy of Malcolm X. The event is free and open to the public.

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18

Where: Wabash College, Baxter Hall 101

based NPR member station WGBH in 2009, where she hosts a weekly radio show, "Under the Radar," and provides weekly commentary during "Morning Edition" on Mondays.

Growing up in Memphis, Crossley's family regularly consumed and talked about the news, but there was an obvious lack of coverage for issues affecting African Americans. They subscribed to the Tri-State Defender, a weekly African American newspaper.

In her radio show, Crossley turns to alternative media and community news that tend to get overlooked by larger media outlets.

There's a "constant push to have newsrooms that look like America," she said, because lived experiences help tell more accurate stories and inform the public.

"There's only one truth, but there are many perspectives," Crossley said.

The larger media outlets — sometimes called legacy media or mainstream media — are largely white and male.

Asked if she's worried about those outlets going after stories that are important to minority communities but ultimately not doing them justice, Crossley said minorities have spent a lot of time learning about the majority, so the majority should learn to do the same.

Crossley added that sometimes journalists don't actively ignore race; they just don't see it.

When it comes to the long-term survival of media outlets, Crossley said public and private media — she's worked for both — have essentially the same tasks in front of them: They have to keep consumers coming back and remind people why it's important to pay attention to what's going on around them.

Though the conversation at Wabash could go in any number of directions, it will be that same sense of accountability that Crossley said she wants to instill in those who show up at the all-men's liberal arts college.

"My message always is you have to stand up, and you have to stand up even when it's tough," she said. "... I think with college students, much has been given to them because many people can't be on these campuses."

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.