How do we define Region pride? Is it based on our industrial heritage? Is it based on a combination of mostly Illinois and Indiana people who blend together to make a unique Northwest Indiana? Is it because some organization tells us we are proud? Is there a good kind of pride, and a bad kind of pride? Is it OK to be proud of our gritty nature? If I am proud of you does that make me any less proud of someone else?
The Region is not defined by a hashtag, person, place, or thing. It is this gloriously diverse North Judson-to-Whiting spectrum that is working its tail off to stand tall when talking to Indy, Chicago, or the nation. Let it go. Stop being angry at someone else’s pride and just be glad that they are doing something good. The age of whether you are in this camp or that camp is over. Creating meaningful relationships with our neighbors, whether they are down the street or down the I-80/94 corridor or U.S. 30, is in.
Are you proud of our rural traditions? Awesome! Proud of city-centered development? Great. Proud of the rat or the dune or the urban or rural, old guard and rising stars, industrial to high tech, Ds and Rs, township to city… Can we all just drop the battle of the prides? We can be proud of our industrial heritage and Hoosier values, and excited to be connected to opportunities in Chicago without losing our Region badge.
We can all be proud, and we can all benefit from allowing others’ pride to show. It does not lessen our light; the day actually just gets brighter.
Whether you call yourself a Bulldog or a Wildcat, or you feel more at home at Festival of the Lakes in Hammond or fishing on the lakes in La Porte – stand up for what you are proud of and be proud of who you are. And then look around you to enjoy the light of others.
The mixture is what makes this place unique. Region, 219, NWI, Brickie, Slicer, left, right, center, young, and old. Find something to like about the people around you. It is just as easy as finding something you don’t, and the outcomes is better at a crazy high rate of return.
Try it. I swear you’ll like, and I am certain those who see the light on will as well.
P.S. Tell me what you are proud of, or where you see the light shining in the Region.