City Clerk: Spread the message of diversity during Black History Month

City Clerk: Spread the message of diversity during Black History Month

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—South Bend City Clerk Kareemah Fowler says part of the reason she ran for public office when she did was because she wanted to see people who looked like her sitting at the table.

Fowler, the first minority in St. Joseph County to seat a full-time executive office, has served as South Bend’s City Clerk since 2015.

“Black History Month is really good for me  because it gives me a reminder of what I am supposed to be doing all year long,” Fowler said.

Starting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in January, Fowler says she celebrates Black History Month by reflecting on the challenges and barriers she’s overcome and the work she still wants to do.

“I think we do a good job of being inclusive in South Bend but in St. Joseph County as a whole, we have a lot of rural areas and I think we just need to get out there with the message of how important it is to be diverse,” Fowler said.

After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Public Service from Bethel College, Fowler served in management positions in both the Office of the Clerk and the St. Joseph County Assessor’s Office.

Thinking through her accomplishments in the City Clerk’s office, Fowler says that opening the city up to using technology to create access to the government has made a huge difference.

Fowler also launched Parking Ticket Amnesty Day, where residents can pay parking tickets on a specific day without paying late fees they may have incurred. The program is now in its third year. 

“By streaming the [Common Council] meetings on Youtube and Facebook, we’re giving people access to information they would not normally get access to,” Fowler said.

Fowler was honored in 2018 during the City of South Bend’s Black History Month recognition event. She was the “Leaders under 40” honoree.

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