Celebrating Black History Month with Councilwoman Karen White
SOUTH BEND, Ind.—South Bend Common Councilwoman Karen White reflected on her time spent in college when thinking of how to celebrate Black History Month.
“Becoming a public servant really started when I went to college. I had an opportunity to attend a predominately black institution and I received a full scholarship. It was the first time I ever left home,” White said.
White attended college in Augusta, Georgia but later achieved her bachelor’s degree in psychology and social work from Indiana State University in Terre Haute.
“It was instilled in us that we had a commitment to go back and make our communities better, that we were standing on the shoulders of those who had actually gave up their lives so we could have an opportunity for education, that we could have the opportunity to really live a decent life,” White said.
In 2000, White was elected to the South Bend Common Council as the At Large Member. She says her proudest accomplishment to date is being the “voice of reason” on the council.
White is the only African American who has served both as the President of the South Bend Community School Corporation Board of Directors and as President of the South Bend Common Council.
White believes that a large part of celebrating Black History Month is educating youth, and supporting the next generation of leaders and public servants.
“I come from a very large family of 12, we were very poor and if I can do it and I can be where I’m at now by the grace of god and his favor, they can do it, too. You just have to roll up your sleeves, work hard, be a person of integrity, and love what you do and make sure you do the very best you can do,” White said.
The City of South Bend is hosting a public event with Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Thursday, February 21 at the Charles Martin Center starting at 6 p.m. to officially celebrate Black History Month and recognize local achievements.
“Come and just enjoy. I mean you’re just in that type of setting and the atmosphere is energetic and you can just see that we’re really doing great things in this community,” White said about the event.