What Is Civility?
“Civility is claiming and caring for one's identity, needs and beliefs without degrading someone else's in the process.” 1
...and it begins with us.
Civility is about more than merely being polite, although being polite is an excellent start. Civility fosters a deep self-awareness, even as it is characterized by true respect for others. Civility requires the extremely hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and perhaps fierce disagreements. It is about constantly being open to hear, to learn, to teach and to change. It seeks common ground as a beginning point for dialogue when differences occur, while at the same time recognizes that differences are enriching. It is patience, grace, and strength of character.
1 Suggested Citation: Institute for Civility in Government Co-Founders, Cassandra Dahnke and Tomas Spath