Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson

In November 2011, the citizens of Gary, Indiana chose a new day for the city by electing Karen Freeman- Wilson Mayor. She is the first woman to lead the steel city and the first African-American female mayor in the State of Indiana.

Along with her husband Carmen Wilson and their daughter Jordan, Freeman-Wilson resides in her native city of Gary, Indiana. She was valedictorian of her graduating class at Gary's storied Roosevelt High School and went on to become an honors graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

She is the immediate past CEO of The National Association of Drug Court Professionals and Executive Director of The National Drug Court Institute based in Washington, D.C. As a twice-elected Gary City Judge, she helped pioneer the drug court movement in Indiana.

Freeman-Wilson has also demonstrated public service and leadership in state government. During her tenure as Indiana Attorney General, Freeman-Wilson fought passionately on behalf of youth, seniors and abused nursing home patients. She was one of the first Attorneys General in the country to combat gas price gouging and to ensure that tobacco settlement dollars were directed towards smoking cessation and health care. While she was the Executive Director of The Indiana Civil Rights Commission, Indiana was one of the first states to pass legislation comparable to the American with Disabilities Act.

When asked about her commitment to her hometown, Freeman-Wilson often acknowledges that Gary has a history of many obstacles, but quickly notes that the city's challenges pale in comparison to its potential. "Our opportunities far outweigh our challenges, and Gary is poised to become the next great comeback story of the Rustbelt."

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Welcome to the 2011 Men and Women of Color Leadership Conference.

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