Advancing principles of environmental ethics in law and life.


cover page art by Che'

Gary, Rise.

A project that seeks to build and inspire local and global solidarity with the people and communities of Gary, Indiana to highlight their power and promise, and to address their shared challenges.

Within the overarching mission of CEEL, Gary, Rise seeks to bear witness to and shine light on the harms (individual, community, social, economic, and environmental) to the people and communities of Gary, Indiana, caused by the private and public sector, and to empower them to rise up through shared values to address these threats.


Our vision is to rebuild the City of Gary as the cradle of black civilization in America, welcoming and providing opportunity to all.


Cassandra Cannon, Executive Director, United Urban Network, Gary, Indiana; Kathryn Gwiazdon, Executive Director, CEEL
The value of Gary is the people of Gary.

  1. Identify values that we wish to flourish: What are the values that unite the communities of Gary? That can lead to a future of life, instead a future of harm?
  2. Identify the threats and challenges to living in harmony with one another and nature: What are the specific harms and challenges to the communities of Gary, Indiana?
  3. Celebrate Gary: Who are the local leaders and organizations that live the values of the community?
  4. Build local solidarity: Who are the local leaders who can bring communities together to build local solidarity?
  5. Build a wider solidarity: Who are the regional, national, and international leaders and organizations that can share wisdom and bring communities together to build regional, national, and global solidarity?
  6. Share the story of Gary to communities and governance systems around the world.

Let our leaders shine.

Each month, we will highlight a leader or organization in our community that lives the values that we believe can lead Gary to Rise.

Follow our amazing community on Twitter!
[cover page art by Che']

Che' is a member of the United Urban Network.  He has worked with different programs within the city of Gary, such as directing Live Up Arts, a summer arts and after-school arts program. These programs expand the artistic abilities of inner-city youth. 

Che' also participates in various mentoring programs through Kul-cher House, in association with Edgewater, Project Seed, the Act Program, and the Adolescent Chemical Dependency program. He also assisted in the YES program.  

Che' is a gifted artist whose work has been featured in the Post-Tribune, Raise the Wall magazine and has been exhibited in different galleries such as Colours, South Shore Cultural Center, the Cafe' Royale, and the Dubois Branch Library.

Contact: [email protected]
In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, Gary, Rise is an ongoing, permanent civil society initiative. In 2019-2020, there will be two formal events: a Citizens' Inquiry to listen and bear witness to the harms being caused to the communities of Gary - and their visions for a better future; and a Peoples Tribunal to structure the arguments against injustice - and the demands for a better future. Gary, Rise thanks the Australian Earth Laws Alliance and the Australian Peoples Tribunal for being the model - and important partners - for this initiative.
Citizens' Inquiry into the Economic, Social, and Environmental Harms to Gary, Indiana

The Citizens' Inquiry is a series of public hearings - and online submissions - where local citizens can share their stories about what is happening in Gary, Indiana. It is a civil society initiative, created and managed by community leaders, alongside local and global environmental and human rights lawyers, leaders, and activists. It is the first step towards a formal Peoples' Tribunal.

All statements, testimonies, and evidence provided will be collated by the Citizens’ Inquiry and made publicly available on the Gary, Rise website.  The evidence will also be used to write a formal report with recommendations based on community created solutions.  All Inquiry evidence and reports will be submitted to the local, state, and federal governments, as well as international and national stakeholders and international and national media outlets.

Process and where we are now:

  1. March 2019 - Partnership Building
  2. Scheduling of Public Hearings
  3. Web Submission of Stories made available
  4. Week-long Series of Public Hearings
  5. Production of Formal Report
  6. Release of Formal Report
Peoples Tribunal for Community Rights

The Peoples’ Tribunal for Community Rights is a unique forum for economic, social, and environmental justice. It has been created to enable people to share their concerns about the destruction of the community and the foundations of life, articulate their vision for justice and law reform, and work collectively to develop their ideas for building a more just and healthy society. The Tribunal aims to respond to situations where the current legal system is perceived as failing to support those communities most in need.

As a citizens' tribunal, the Tribunal is not a government endorsed activity nor do any of its activities, decisions, or recommendations have the force of government-sanctioned law.  The Tribunal provides an educative and culturally transformative forum in which to present a positive, alternative process to address environmental harm and community care.

The Tribunal Panel will hear arguments from the public and experts. The Panel is made up of lawyers, community representatives, and social and spiritual leaders. After hearing arguments, they will make an Advisory Opinion, i.e. recommendations for restorative justice, innovative law reform, and socio-political reforms that will help the community heal and restore.

Process and where we are now:

  1. March 2019 - Structure Tribunal Partners and Panelists in tandem with the Citizens Inquiry
  2. Draft Tribunal Charter to guide the process
  3. Complete Citizens Inquiry and Receive Report
  4. Schedule Tribunal
  5. Hear Arguments
  6. Advisory Opinion underway
  7. Release of Advisory Opinion

The Citizens' Inquiry is about LISTENING to the people of Gary.

If you are interested in participating in the Citizens' Inquiry or the Peoples' Tribunal, please let us know via the Contact Us page.

Gary, Rise advances each of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the work of the Ethics Specialist Group, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law.