A northwestern Indiana mayor who is facing calls for his resignation over his profanity-laced remarks about a Black pastor has presented a plan for all municipal employees to undergo mandatory implicit bias and cultural diversity training.
Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry also announced at a news conference Wednesday that a new position will be created in his office for someone to “assist the mayor and act as a representative” to the community. The Michigan City Spiritual Task Force, the Michigan City Common Council and the NAACP of La Porte County will have input on how that position is filled, he said.
The news conference came a day after Rev. James Lane publicly released a voicemail message Parry left for him on Friday in which the mayor declined to meet with Lane and the Spiritual Task Force. Lane and the task force wanted a meeting to address their concerns regarding Parry’s recent public admonishment of Police Chief Dion Campbell, who is Black, over a fundraising letter for police charities that Campbell included in city water bills.
Toward the end of the recording, it was apparent that Parry thought he had hung up the phone, and he could be heard saying: “They want a … audience, you know. These Black guys, they all want a …. audience,” using an expletive twice, The News-Dispatch reported.
“I cannot say the words to fully express my regret for saying what I said during the past week,” Parry said Wednesday. “My words now cannot change what I’ve said. However, my future actions can and will. I’m sorry. I realize that saying I’m sorry is not enough.”
Parry said his implicit bias and cultural diversity training would begin immediately. He did not take questions.
Lane, who attended the news conference, said he was unsatisfied.
“I still want this mayor to resign,” Lane said. “This public apology — it seems false, fake, insensitive. And like always, he says what he wants to say and leaves. That is not the character of a true leader.”