Announcement for World Civility Day

The Times of Northwest Indiana Executive Editor Bob Heisse, left, and Gary Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chuck Hughes announce the second World Civility Day.

John J. Watkins, The Times

MUNSTER — The Community Civility Counts campaign that launched in the spring of 2015 as a joint partnership between the Gary Chamber of Commerce and The Times Media Co. continues to earn recognition.

Editor & Publisher, a magazine and website that covers the North American newspaper industry, recently named The Times of Northwest Indiana one of the 10 Newspapers That Do It Right for 2017. E&P spotlighted the growth of the civility initiative that has included the development of a logo, a hashtag #CivilityCounts, a Facebook page, a civility pledge on The Times opinion page and essay and drawing contests for children.

In recent months, The Times Media Co. has also won the Associated Press Media Editors’ Innovator of the Year Award and a Lee Enterprises’ President’s Award for the Community Civility Counts initiative.

In the E&P article about The Times, the writers specifically cited 2016 as beginning “with a high point for the initiative when the Indiana Senate unanimously approved a resolution commending the group ‘for delivering an awareness campaign to remind everyone about the need for civility and treating each other right’.” That resolution was authored by Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, and supported by all 50 Senate members from both political parties.

The following week, the Indiana House of Representatives approved the same resolution authored by Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary.

Bob Heisse, editor of The Times Media Co., said in the E&P article that the legislative support, including a standing ovation in the Indiana Senate, was “a big boost for us“ and directly led to the first World Civility Day held in April of 2016.

Held at the Majestic Star Casino ballroom in Gary last spring, the first World Civility Day drew a sell-out crowd of 300 people from Indiana, nine other states and three countries to hear the keynote address by Dr. Clyde Rivers, World Peace ambassador, special representative from Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative to the United Nations, and Ambassador at Large from Burundi, Africa.

“The only problem we had last year was that we couldn’t have younger people there because it was at a casino,” Heisse said in the E&P article. “This year, we decided to get away from the casino and expand World Civility Day into something that has workshops, takeaways and an evening event.”

The second World Civility Day begins at 8:30 a.m. April 13 at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond and features eight workshops ranging from civility in the workplace and in politics to cyber bullying in the classroom. Rivers returns to talk about World Civility Day Ambassadorship beginning at 8:45 a.m.

That evening Community Civility Counts awards program will be held at Avalon Manor in Merrillville.

Click here for special hotel rates. 

In recognizing The Times Media Co. for the Community Civility Counts partnership, E&P also cited the Civility in the Classroom component that began as a pilot program last spring at Lighthouse College Prep Academy in Gary. Summer Moore, Times digital and audience engagement editor, worked with a team of teachers to build on the pilot program that this year has been expanded to a year-long, curriculum-based program at both Lighthouse and Steel City Academy in Gary.

Moore and teachers involved in Civility in the Classroom program at the two Gary charter schools will present one of the workshops at the second World Civility Day.

Other newspapers recognized by E&P this year included the Albany (N.Y) Times Union; the Albuquerque (N.M) Journal; the Ledger-Enquirer from Columbus, GA; the Oklahoman of Oklahoma City; the Petosky (Mich.) News-Review; the Quad-City Times of Davenport, Iowa; the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star; the San Antonio (TX) Express-News and Straits Times from Singapore.