At the Institute for Civility in Government we are all about building civility everywhere – in homes, local communities, businesses, schools, and government at all levels. And it is important to build civility in ALL of the communities in which we are a part – not just one or two, but rather across the board. Thankfully there are many ways we can all do just that!
Building strong communities and fostering deep civility norms go hand in hand. And it requires constant attention and care. A greater sense of civility builds a stronger sense of community, and vice versa.
Not every conversation has to be controversial. Not very issue/situation has to be fraught with conflict. Often it is our daily interactions – the respect and the kindness we show – that allow for a deeper respect and civility when things become challenging.
The Duluth Superior Community Foundation has a wonderful program that underscores this truth. Speak Your Peace was originally developed and then expanded through the support and work of community members who chose not to take civility for granted in their towns. People who chose to get involved, and not sit on the sidelines. One of them is Anita Stech, who is a member of the Institute for Civility in Government as well. She is insightful, proactive, and has been tireless in her efforts. She does not wait for other people to make things happen. She, and others like her, are all too often unsung and go with little thanks or recognition. They are our civility heroes, and we need more of them.
In response to the pandemic, these people have worked through the foundation to turn words of wisdom into an opportunity for community members to stay connected, learn from one another, and sow those seeds of care that are so important. Tune into their Speak Your Peace Listening Sessions and you will hear truths that will ring true for people not just in Duluth and Superior, but for people in similar situations in across the country. Listen, learn, and consider how you can help build civility where you live – in all of the communities of which you are a part.