INDIANAPOLIS—On Friday, Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Eddie Melton (D-Gary) joined Mayor of Atlanta, Andre Dickens, and Amazon in Washington, D.C. for a panel during the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference. The CBC ALC is an opportunity for policy-makers, leaders and stakeholders to have meaningful discussions about supporting policies that foster equality, inclusion and progress. The panel, Leveraging Private-Public Partnerships for Public Change, shed light on existing policy issues and explored opportunities for private and public sectors to partner on shared missions and generate positive social change.

Senator Melton released the following remarks on the event:

“This year, I was happy to serve as a panelist for Amazon in the discussion around leveraging public-private partnerships for the benefit of our communities. Amazon has been doing great work in District 3 with their donation of RING doorbells to vulnerable seniors, and I was honored to join them last week in D.C. to elevate the work and partnerships happening in Gary and Northwest Indiana through the Urban League, under the leadership of Dr. Vanessa McCloud,” Sen. Melton said. “I want to thank the panel organizer, Terri Broussard Williams, as well as the panel moderator and Director of Public Policy, Nicole Jefferson, for their amazing work on last week’s event, and the work of Amazon.

“This was a unique opportunity to represent Gary on a national scale, and I was able to have conversations with Amazon on the possibility of them returning to Gary after the distribution center closure off 15th Avenue. Gary is a logistical goldmine, and I’m optimistic that this was the beginning of us re-establishing a relationship and improving perception among the community and the Amazon Corporation.

“The growth I’ve seen from this company gives me hope about our ability to successfully leverage partnerships to serve the people in the future, which is always the top priority.”

Urban League Director Vanessa McCloud had the following statement:

“I was so happy to join the panel last week to discuss leveraging public-private relationships,” McCloud said. “As the Urban League of Northwest Indiana President and CEO, I have been honored to work with Amazon throughout the region to provide support, aid, and guidance to vulnerable communities. I genuinely believe if you come together with a shared mission and a good-faith effort, a public-private partnership is not only possible but it can pave the way for great things.

“Building partnerships and relationships—promoting unity and collaboration—is how I’ve always served my community and fostered progress. That’s why I was grateful to join stakeholders in D.C. to have those conversations on a national stage. With the collaborative efforts we’re working on, we’re setting up Gary and Northwest Indiana to see economic growth through essential partnerships, and we know that will lead to success.”