Friendship bracelets symbolize long-lasting connections, and whether you’re a transplant, Indy lifer, or homecomer, Indy acts as a friendship bracelet. Each Wednesday in July for Camp IndyHub, you’ll hear from a duo on how Indy has played a role in bringing them together. And then it’s your turn, take to social media to share your Indy Friendship Bracelet stories by using #CampIndyHub.
Brock and I first met in the fall of 2014. We were both young bumbling chaps just trying to find our way in a new city. While at Music for All, a national music education advocacy organization, Brock and I quickly became friends. This was our first real job out of college. At the time neither of us really considered Indy to be a long-term home but rather a short stop along the journey of life. Brock hailed from southern Indiana while I had just moved from Atlanta, GA. Through our fast-paced work environment, we came to rely on each other to stay grounded and sane. Neither of us can pinpoint what sparked our friendship but we just seemed to click and that’s what makes it special.
We’d often have conversations critiquing Indy and daydreaming about other cities like Seattle, Chicago or Nashville that we wanted to move to. In our minds, these cities had the “it factors” that Indy seemed to be missing. For example, Chicago’s great public transit, Seattle’s proximity to nature, and Nashville’s renowned music culture. In hindsight, we didn’t know Indy that well but complained often without making a real effort to be part of the community. Admittedly, we hadn’t discovered wonderful organizations like IndyHub or Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.
In 2016 I landed a new job at IndyGo, our city’s transit provider, which fit into a lifelong interest of cities and urban planning. As a result, Brock and I found ourselves talking more about the different aspects of the city including the then upcoming transit referendum, unique neighborhoods and Indianapolis’ cost of living. Each time we’d learn about a new venture or mixed-use project we say something like “see Indy’s not that bad.” We began to explore the city on the human scale. That meant we got out of our cars choosing to walk and bike discovering new neighborhoods, historical sites, and local flavors… I like to document the city through pictures and never hesitate to take a good selfie. One day I took a photo of Brock and I as we were riding along the Cultural Trail and that photo ended up getting featured by Visit Indy later that summer. We had made it!
Over time we discovered that all the things we thought Indy lacked were here all along, but we were blind to them. We wanted better transit and now we have the IndyGo Red Line BRT with future improvements to the entire bus system including the upcoming Purple and Blue Lines.
We don’t have the bodies of water or mountains that are close to Seattle, but we have an excellent system of trails and greenways which are some of the best in the country. It’s fair to say that Indy’s music scene is still a work in progress but from concerts at the Hi-Fi, Athenaeum beer garden and last year’s BUZZ/Cut Queer music festival, we’re on the right track.
Indianapolis is a city of potential. Especially for 20-and 30-somethings this is a city of opportunity. If you want to get involved in your community, meet the movers and shakers of the city and feel like you can make a real difference, Indy is that place.
Through the ongoing pandemic, Brock and I have continued to strengthen our friendship and be a support system for each other. Whether meeting for weekly walks around the beautiful Old Northside neighborhood we call home or bike rides through the city, we been able to discuss our fears and uncertainties brought about by our current reality. In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, Brock and I have not shunned from having difficult conversations about race. We’ve each allowed ourselves to be vulnerable and open up to a place where we may not be comfortable. This openness in our discussions is what makes us such great friends and continues to strengthen our bond over time. Indy brought us together and will always be the “connective tissue” of our friendship no matter where we end up.
Jerome Horne is the Ridership Experience Specialist at IndyGo, Chair and founder of Young Professionals in Transportation (YPT) Indianapolis and Deputy Director of Communications for YPT International. He is a passionate urbanist and emerging young leader who frequently speaks about the importance of mobility to cultivate better communities.
Brock Eveland is the Major and Planned Giving Operations Manager at WFYI Public Media. He loves being part of Indianapolis’ non-profit community and engaging with the many mission-driven organizations across the city. Most days during the “new normal”, he can be found exploring the Cultural Trail or Indy Parks system with his fiancé Jordan and pug-mix Millie.