Category Archives: Social Justice

Joe Micon


Biography

Joe Micon is the Executive Director of the Lafayette Urban Ministry.  LUM is an organization of 47 Greater Lafayette area churches that serves as a social safety net for at-risk children and low-income families.  He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Sociology from Purdue University (1980) and a Master of Social Work Degree from Indiana University (1983).

Joe is our retired Indiana State Representative from West Lafayette – serving two terms from 2004 to 2008.  While at the Statehouse, Joe served as Vice Chair of the Indiana House Education Committee. He is also a past President of the Warren County Council, serving from 1998 to 2002.

He currently serves as Commissioner of the Indiana Lobbyist Registration Commission, is a member of the Purdue University Public Health Program Advisory Board, the Association of Retired Members of the Indiana General Assembly, the St. Vincent Williamsport Hospital Board of Directors and the Creasy Springs Retirement Community Board.

Micon has been a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church Parish Council, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce’s Third House, the West Lafayette Rotary Club, the National Association of Social Workers, the Board of Directors of the Purdue University Warren County Cooperative Extension Agency, the Indiana University School of Medicine Lafayette Advisory Board and the Advisory Board for St. Vincent’s Hospital in Williamsport.  He was a Junior Achievement volunteer in his children’s school, and a youth baseball coach. Micon served on the Benton Community School Corporation’s Textbook Adoption Committee, the Vision 2020 Education Round-table, and the Warren County Child Protection Team. He has served on the Editorial Board of the Lafayette Journal and Courier, the Indiana Native American Commission and on the Indiana Family and Social Service Administration’s Select Welfare Reform Advisory Council.  

His spouse, Jo Micon, is the Dean of the School of Public Affairs, Social Services and Education  at IVY Tech’s Lafayette Campus. They have two adult children; Katie, a Physician Assistant at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Washington and Jonathan, a Ph.D candidate in Archaeology at the University of Georgia in Athens GA.


Hoosier Social Change Agent

Joseph “Joe” Micon

From 1980 to 1989, Joe Micon directed the LUM Advocate, Jubilee Christmas, Repairs on Wheels and Social Justice Programs. In 1990, the LUM Board of Directors appointed Joe Micon as the third Executive Director, where he quickly established LUM as a 21st century model for church engagement.  

During his tenure at Lafayette Urban Ministry:

  • LUM Camp grew, and After School and 5th Quarter Summer Learning Programs were created for at-risk youth. 
  • LUM Tax Assistance Program, Immigration Clinic, ID Clinic, Winter Warming Station and Protein Food Pantry were established.  
  • Four “Isaiah 32” houses were purchased. 
  • Three major capital campaigns were successfully completed, buildings were built and solar energy was brought to LUM.  

Joe Micon significantly expanded LUM’s fundraising, established LUM’s social media presence and grew LUM’s membership to 47 churches. LUM was recognized by MSW Online Magazine as One of the 99 Most Effective Non-profit Organizations in America. 

The first social worker ever elected to the Indiana General Assembly, Joe served two terms, from 2004 to 2008.  His legislative accomplishments include increasing Indiana’s minimum wage, authoring full day kindergarten, making state taxes more progressive, greater funding for K-12 remediation and expanding Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program. Consumer protections were strengthened, death rates for teen drivers decreased and our community found in Joe Micon a tireless advocate for Purdue University.  

Dream Team Project

The LUM Dream Team Project is a fund as well as an outreach & networking initiative.

OUTREACH & NETWORKINGThe Dream Team Project includes creating a network of “urban ministries” in the East North Central states for the purpose of sharing ideas and potentially resources. LUM will publish a Dream Team eNewsletter four times a year. If you wish to be included in the Dream Team network or wish to contribute to the newsletter, please email dreamteam@lumserve.org.

THE FUNDThe fund will support research and evaluation that will foster the goals of LUM and address its needs.  Research funded by this permanent fund will document societal-level, state-level and local-level trends in poverty, explain fluctuations in various types of poverty, give the LUM board the data needed to modify its policies and programs and show how participation in these programs impacts low-income people over time. The Dream Team Fund will allow LUM to subsidize original studies, secondary analyses and meta-analyses of societal trends related to the causes and consequences of poverty, the circumstances that foster poverty among individuals in our community (and other comparable communities), the effects poverty has on Hoosiers and their families, churches efforts to serve the poor and build a more just and equitable society, and the implications that theses analyses have on the policies and programs of LUM and its member churches.

DONATE If you wish to invest in this research, please consider a donation to the LUM Dream Team Fund for Research & Evaluation. To donate, click here:


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Dream Team Fund

Additional information on the LUM Dream Team Fund, please call or email Josh Prokopy, Dream Team Project director (dreamteam@lumserve.org |
765-423-2691).


LUM Dream Team History

On September 17, 2014, Lafayette Urban Ministry announced the creation of a new fund to support program-related research and evaluation at LUM — the LUM Dream Team Fund for Research and Evaluation.

The LUM Dream Team members — pictured above L to R — the Rev. Don Nead , Thomas Hull Ph.D, the Rev. Ron Elly , and Professor James Davidson Ph.D — were among the early planners and developers of what became the Lafayette Urban Ministry.

In 1976, only four years after LUM was incorporated, these four individuals conducted a research study that led to the formation of the LUM board model of participating member churches, which is still in place today. (This study was funded by the Lilly Endowment.) In 2014, the Dream Team members gave a combined gift of $40,000 to LUM to start this new research program, whose purpose is to further research and evaluation to benefit the children and families served by the Lafayette Urban Ministry.

O’Callaghan Returns to LUM


Patti O’Callaghan, LUM Lobbyist

Patti O’Callaghan returns as the new LUM Lobbyist (reporting to the Executive Director).

She has many years of experience advocating for Indiana families including serving as the LUM Social Justice director for more than 11 years, as well as being a founding board member of three agencies advocating for local children.  

Patti grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and currently lives in West Lafayette with Mark Diekman, her husband of 42 years. They are members of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, West Lafayette. They have two grown sons, Casey & Brian, both professors, and five grandchildren, ages three, five, five, seven & eight. Patti graduated from St. Agnes Seminary High School and earned a BS in Biology from New York University and a Master’s from Colorado State in Reproductive Physiology. She served two terms on the West Lafayette City Council and two terms on the West Lafayette Community School Board of Trustees.

Patti is excited about her new role with Lafayette Urban Ministry because it gives her an opportunity to create lasting positive change for the families in Tippecanoe County and the entire State of Indiana. She shares that, she is

looking forward to working with our state representatives and senators to give a voice to Indiana children and create a better future for Indiana families.

In her free time, Patti enjoys playing Pickle-ball, sharing books with her book club friends, and most of all, spending time with her family. LUM is fortunate to have someone with Patti’s passion and talent re-join the LUM team.

It’s Time to Vote



  • For everything you need to know to VOTE in INDIANA, click HERE
  • For everything you need to know to vote in USA, click HERE
  • Tippecanoe County (Lafayette, West Lafayette, Battleground, Dayton)
    • Early Voting Schedule – NOW through Monday, November 4, 2019
      – click HERE
    • Election Day Voting Locations – Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
      – click HERE

Bending Toward Justice – 40 Years of Influence

Presentation by Joe Micon, LUM Executive Director

Mark your calendar for this special presentation by Joe Micon, executive director of Lafayette Urban Ministry, on Thursday, November 14 at Noon at the LUM Ray Ewry Center (525 N 4th Street, Lafayette, IN).

Bring your own lunch and join us as Joe Micon reflects on the impact LUM has had, over the decades, working toward social justice and advocacy on behalf of families.

The presentation is entitled, Bending Toward Justice; LUM’s Forty Years of Influence in the Public Square

Save the date.

Bending Toward Justice – 40 Years of Influence

Presentation by Joe Micon, LUM Executive Director

Mark your calendar for this special presentation by Joe Micon, executive director of Lafayette Urban Ministry, on Thursday, November 14 at Noon at the LUM Ray Ewry Center (525 N 4th Street, Lafayette, IN). Micon will reflect on the impact LUM has had, over the decades, working toward social justice and advocacy on behalf of families.

The presentation is entitled, Bending Toward Justice; LUM’s Forty Years of Influence in the Public Square. Stay tuned for more details and save the date.

The Right to Drive – Possible Legislation Coming

An estimated 4.5 million undocumented immigrants nationwide are driving regularly, most without licenses. In 2019, legislators in several states introduced legislation to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented residents including Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. Legislation in New York passed in the State Assembly and is now in the State Senate. At the moment only twelve states issuing licenses without proof of legal residence in the United states; those states being: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Vermont and Washington.


It is our understanding that State Representative Chris Campbell, who represents a large portion of Lafayette/West Lafayette, will be authoring legislation that will allow persons residing in Indiana, who do not possess the necessary immigration documents to otherwise qualify for a standard drivers’ license, to receive a driver’s card


Many states have adopted tough new laws to prevent illegal immigrants from driving, while expanding immigration enforcement by state and local police. The Department of Homeland Security figures show that at least 30,000 undocumented immigrants who were stopped for common traffic violations in the last three years have ended facing deportation. The numbers are rapidly increasing, and as a result are aggravating tensions in the national debate over immigration.

What has been asked of Indiana, multiple times, is for the state to approve a permit for undocumented residents. This permit would allow individuals to fearlessly travel to work, take their children to school, and to give them a peace of mind. In this day and age it is difficult to live depending on public transportation. The permit being discussed would provide reliable transportation to undocumented residents. Sadly, time and time again that legislation establishing a permit for undocumented residents to drive has been proposed it has quickly been rejected.


by Brenda Barrera, Campaign for Hoosier Families Intern

“Never Again Is Now” Rally – Powerful Event

LUM Immigration Clinic Participates in Rally

Last Sunday, the LUM Immigration Clinic staff members attended and participated in the “Never Again Is Now Rally” organized by the Interfaith Leaders of Greater Lafayette.

ILGL members planned the rally at St. John’s Episcopal Church, stating that the members are “horrified at the conditions in the detention centers on our borders, wherein children are abused, denied medicine, refused soap and toiletries, and are forced to sleep in freezing temperatures on concrete floors. This dehumanization is immoral!”

Lafayette Urban Ministry was one of the event sponsors, and the Rev. Susan Brouillette, the LUM Immigration Clinic director, was an invited speaker (pictured above). Other speakers included the Rabbi Michael Harvey from Temple Israel representing the Interfaith Leaders of Greater Lafayette, Purdue Professor Jay McCann representing the Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies and Annabel Prokopy, 10th grade student at West Lafayette High School (and daughter of LUM program director, Josh Prokopy). Each speaker was well received, and the rally drew more than 300 participants and local media. The overarching message throughout the rally was that,

“Our community will not stand for these violations of human rights.”

For more information, please email interfaithleadersgl@gmail.com.


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Immigration Clinic

Rev. Rodney Lynch Spoke at Pizza & Perspectives

Theological Reflections on the “Urban Ministry”

As a part of the on-going training of the LUM Board of Directors, each quarter their meeting features a program called “Pizza & Perspectives.” At last week’s board meeting, the Pizza & Perspectives program featured remarks from the Rev. Rodney Lynch, pastor & director of the Baptist Student Foundation at Purdue University.

The evening began with a wonderful meal at Jane’s Gourmet Catering followed by the Rev. Lynch who shared his Theological Reflections on the Urban Ministry. His presentation was lively, informative and inspiring. The Rev. Lynch gave an overview of the importance of “urban ministries” incorporating Bible verses as well as personal stories to highlight his message. The event was well attended, and the participants were engaged and appreciative of the timely information.

The Rev. Rodney Lynch earned a BA in Social Science from The College of New Rochelle, as well as a Master of Divinity & Master of Sacred Theology from Drew University (Madison, New Jersey). He is married to Felicia M. (Myles) Lynch, and they have three children: Jeremiah, David & Michael. A special thank you to the Rev. Rodney Lynch for taking the time to share his thoughts and expertise with the friends, board members and staff of Lafayette Urban Ministry.

To view more PHOTOS from the LUM Pizza & Perspectives program, click HERE.

LUM Reflection – Always More Left Over

A Message from Joe Micon, LUM Executive Director

LUM has focused a lot in recent weeks on issues of food distribution to those in our community who don’t have enough good, nutritious food for themselves or their children. During this process I have paid special attention to the miracle story Jesus Feeds the 5,000. Found in all four Gospels, it remains one of scripture’s most powerful teachings of faith, compassion and service. And it is a teaching that touches, in real and practical ways, virtually everything that goes on at LUM.

As the disciples gathered to figure out what to do about the hungry crowd, they could only pool 200 denari. A young boy had five loaves and two fish. It wasn’t enough, but Jesus was filled with compassion and miraculously, faithfully, moved quickly forward. The story is a lesson to us about beginnings. But it is also a powerful lesson about endings. Because miraculously, faithfully, there was more left over than Jesus started with — 12 baskets full of broken pieces! I love this story, because during my time at LUM, I have always found there to be more left over than when we start something.

There are more children doing better in school now than we ever imagined when LUM first started the After School and 5th Quarter Summer Learning Programs. There are more neighbors receiving paralegal help and support through the LUM Immigration Clinic. There are more chronically homeless individuals who have turned to addiction getting help because LUM found creative ways to offer information and support.

Service fosters deeper relationships with others. If you volunteer at LUM, you can’t help but develop a keener knowledge of poverty and income inequality. When you see the faces of those we serve, learn their names and hear their stories, you can’t help but grow in understanding. Your friendships are strengthened. Your perceptions are broadened. Your heart is expanded.

I believe so very firmly that our faith is enriched through service at a place like LUM. We are challenged to be more loving. We become more generous with our time and treasure. We respond more fully to the prophet’s call to justice. Thank you for joining with us; for your prayers of support; for the service you render; for the dollars you donate; for performing miracles at LUM each and every day!


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