The Initiative to Revive Civility

In order to counter the incivility that too often dominates our public discourse, the National Institute for Civil Discourse has launched the Initiative to Revive Civility, a national grassroots effort that highlights the need to change the tone of our current politics and suggests specific things that each individual can do to help make that happen.  The Initiative to Revive Civility is conducting active programming around the country in the fall of 2017 and will continue to work in communities across the country throughout the 2018 election season. 

The Initiative to Revive Civility invites Americans to take a personal pledge to model and promote civility and offer suggestions of what they can do to practice it in their community.  The Initiative  also provides program ideas and materials to help individuals take part in community conversations that bring together people of different political views so that they can listen to each other, build relationships and talk about ways to work together. Groups with ties in civic/political life, faith based groups, businesses and young leaders from colleges and universities as well as concerned citizens are leading the way. The Initiative to Revive Civility is sponsored by the NICD in partnership with many other national, state and local partner organizations.

Citizens and policy makers nationwide are answering the call and declaring their commitment to civility through:

  1. Taking a personal pledge to practice civility and promote it with others;
  2. Joining in community conversations about how to act at a local level to revive civility;
  3. Working with Mayors and other elected officials to get proclamations promoting civility; and
  4. Engaging local media about how they can play a more positive role during political campaigns. 

Some of the specific activities the Initiative to Revive Civility include:

  • Structured one on one conversations which seek to build relationships between individuals with deep cultural or political differences
  • Small group dialogues that bring together people of different views to discuss ways to promote civility and respect
  • Text, Talk and Revive Civility, which uses an innovative text messaging platform to engage young people and adults in listening across differences for understanding and discussions about civility and respect in public life
  • Engagement with elected officials to promote standards of behavior and seek proclamations that promote civility
  • Simultaneous national actions that encourage as many people as possible to do similar things to promote civility and respect during a specific period of time. The first of these will be "Setting the Table for Civility," which will take place before, during and after Thanksgiving Week in 2017 and throughout the year-end holiday season.  

The National Institute for Civil Discourse

The National Institute for Civil Discourse is a non-partisan institute based at the University of Arizona's School of Social and Behavioral Sciences dedicated to addressing incivility and political dysfunction in American democracy by promoting structural and behavioral change. Informed by research, NICD’s programs are designed to create opportunities for elected officials, the media, and the public to engage different voices respectfully and take responsibility for the quality of our public discourse and effectiveness of our democratic institutions. Our National Advisory Board includes former Presidents Bill Clinton and George Herbert Walker Bush; former Senators Tom Daschle and Olympia Snowe; former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Colin Powell; former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; and journalists like Katie Couric, Greta Van Susteren, and NPR’s Scott Simon.