By Ciara Smith, Gary Crusader
World Civility Day took Northwest Indiana by storm on April 13. Guests from 14 states, eight nations, and several school systems were welcomed to the region to celebrate festivities geared towards inspiring a kinder world, national and local communities.
“Gary, Indiana affects the entire world. Gary is making a difference in the world with an initiative called Civility Counts. It started here, and now it’s moving all over the world. And I want to tell you that great things can come out of Gary, Indiana,” World Civility Day Ambassador Dr. Clyde Rivers said of the Community Civility Counts Initiative. It was started by Charles “Chuck” Hughes as a project of the Gary Chamber of Commerce and the Times Media Company in 2015, a response to so many reported acts of cruelty. “I believe with all my heart that we can change the world if we do one thing and one thing only, if we educate people to treat others how they want to be treated.”
The 2nd World Civility Day offered a full day of workshops, ranging from Civility in the Workplace, to Ethics Training and Civility in Books and Publishing.
Events culminated as the Gary Chamber of Commerce held its first gala to celebrate outstanding civility efforts, both at home and abroad. Notable honorees included Indiana State Senator Lonnie Randolph, Canadian Colleen DeMaere of Next Gen Global TV, USA Africa Chamber of Commerce Founder Gladys Loggin, and World Civility Day Ambassador Dr. Clyde Rivers, founder of the Human Rights Global Congress.
The Munster School DOC 200 Project (Demonstrating Outstanding Citizenship), received the anti-bullying contest award. Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy was the recipient of the Civility in the Classroom award.
Positive attitudes and messages were celebrated at the evening’s gala, which concluded the conference. Gala festivities included dinner along with dance numbers performed by the South Shore Dance Alliance, and a thought provoking message delivered by keynote speaker Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill.
“We know we’re supposed to treat people the way we want to be treated. We know we’re supposed to turn the other cheek, but it’s not always that simple. It’s not always easy – that’s why it takes courage. We’re living in a world where civility is almost like an oxymoron,” said Attorney Hill. “There’s a Greek proverb that says a society has grown great when old men plant trees whose shade they’ll never see. That’s parallel to how we have to look at our future in terms of civility. We have to be the teachers. Those of us who know it’s against our nature, we have to fight that urge to lash out. We have to generate a new order for youngsters to move forward. It’s not about moving forward and being a better community. If I could take this program all over the state and all over this country, the change we’d make would be remarkable.”
“People think about ambition, they think about respect, they think about love, they think about helping and sharing. One word connotes all those things – that’s all it takes,” said Senator Lonnie Randolph.