Celebrating Black History: Indiana Black Expo

Celebrating Black History: Indiana Black Expo

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Black Expo (IBE) has transformed in its 50 years from an exhibit at the Indiana State Fairgrounds to an organization that works year-round. Representatives said the value isn’t necessarily in the growth, but the lives they’ve helped change for the better.

The rooms and halls at the IBE headquarters are frequently filled with the sounds of youth. The youngsters that gather in the youth programming wing are going to be adults, and the work they do here is part of their training.

“My favorite thing definitely would be how everything is family-oriented,” said youth programming participant Taaliyah Pinner.

Last summer IBE moved into it’s new building. Inside, young people can learn music, production, dance and so many more skills that’ll help shape them into who they want to be when they grow up.

“I just feel like it’s a great experience for anybody who loves performing arts,” said Pinner.

There are 12 chapters of IBE across the state. The organization has come a long way since 1970.

“Our role and our mission is really to address those needs that impact the African-American community or the community of color,” said IBE president Tanya McKinzie.

McKinzie said in the last five decades the IBE has grown to now be able to provide youth programming as well as a variety of events. The organization also focuses on two major fundraising events: the Circle City Classic and the Indiana Black Expo summer celebration.

“But the whole point of those two fundraisers is they are fundraisers in order for us to provide programming to the families to the youth and families throughout the state of Indiana and particularly here in Indianapolis,” said McKinzie.

The fundraising supports activities and scholarships as well as helps provide services to roughly 400,000 people a year.

“We’ve been giving out more than 4.6 million dollars over the last 35 plus years or so,” said McKinzie.

And for the young people, the work IBE does around the community still matters.

The IBE said right now they have about 120 students in the program but they are looking to grow that to at least a couple hundred.

Meantime they are still fundraising to help put the finishing touches on the youth programming area.