New effort reclaims Youngstown's reputation as maker city
City officials proclaimed Sept. 19 as a day for residents to look toward the promise of the city’s revived economy, rather than dwell on its past.
Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, council members and local entrepreneurs celebrated the city’s first “Reclaiming Our Identity” Day on the steps of City Hall along Phelps Street on Wednesday.
The date, which also marks “Black Monday” and the shuttering of Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.’s Campbell Works in 1977, is now intended to be a reminder of the city’s forward progress, rather than its economic collapse 41 years ago and the perceived depression and negativity officials said have plagued the city’s image in the following decades.
Derrick McDowell, who operates the outdoor market next to the Covelli Centre, said he launched the initiative as a way to “take back what rightfully belongs” to residents, its story, through the work of Youngstown’s “most valuable and rich” resource: its people.
“Our story is not just the rich history of the mills and the tragic impact it had on our community,” he said. “It’s about reclaiming that identity for future generations. We have a rich history of entrepreneurship in this city. This is a day to remember our resilience and resolve,” he said.
Read more about the movement in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.