As the presidential campaign takes turn after turn toward incivility, a Northwest Indiana “grassroots” group is planning to host the first World Civility Day event on April 14.
Community Civility Counts, which started as a partnership of the Gary Chamber of Commerce and The Times Media Co., has expanded in many ways and is arranging for World Civility Day at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary to mark its one-year anniversary.
Already, three civility-themed groups across the country plan to send representatives to the event, which is timed for the primary campaign stretch in Indiana, which culminates with the May 3 election.
Community Civility Counts is inviting local, state and national political candidates to the event, and has opened it to the community for a $20 charge to cover the buffet dinner. There will be a program and entertainment.
“This is a much needed event, particularly this year, and we invite everyone to join us,” said Bob Heisse, editor of The Times Media Co.
Since its initial press conference in Gary in April 2015, Community Civility Counts has seen students draw and write about civility, municipal and county councils pass civility resolutions, hundreds of CCC volunteers welcome attendees at the annual Pierogi Fest in Whiting, and anti-bullying initiatives gain visibility in schools.
Community Civility Counts, with the slogan “Together we win” and using the #CivilityCounts hashtag, has initiated a civility in the classroom program at a Gary charter school involving ninth-graders that could be a model for other classrooms in the future.
In late January, the Indiana Senate approved a resolution lauding Community Civility Counts for “delivering an awareness campaign to remind everyone about the need for civility and treating each other right.” A week later the state House approved the same resolution.
The General Assembly’s action “demonstrates the commitment that our legislators have to make Indiana the kindest place to live and visit,” said Chuck Hughes, executive director of the Gary Chamber of Commerce.
Among the attendees at World Civility Day will be United Nations Ambassador Clyde Rivers, who has delivered the message of civility and Community Civility Counts in his work around the world.
Civility-themed groups planning to attend, so far, include the National Civility Center, based in Detroit; the National Institute for Civil Discourse, based in Arizona; and the Center for Creative Solutions, based in Michigan City, Indiana.
Kent Roberts, co-founder of the National Civility Center (CivilityCenter.org), will unveil its new Political Civility Scorecard at the event. The Scorecard – using an objective, non-partisan algorithm — evaluates speeches of political candidates and generates a civility score.
To register for the World Civility Day event, contact the Gary Chamber of Commerce office at (219) 885-7407. Cost is $20 for an individual and $150 for a table of eight.
Sponsoring World Civility Day, in addition to the Gary Chamber and The Times Media Co., are the National Civility Center, the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana.
For further information and to set up interviews, contact Debbie Reilly at The Times Media Co. at (219) 933-3329.