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Municipal leaders from across the State of WV are looking at how they can promote cordial dialog through #Revive Civility, a grassroots initiative launched by the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) to counter the coarseness that runs extensively in public discourse.
“This initiative was started as a direct result of the extensive polarization (in society),” said President of the Municipal League, Mayor Steve Williams of Huntington, WV. “It’s on social media, it’s in our businesses, it’s in government, it’s in families, it’s in the media. We believe that respect and civility are core values of building trust. What I have found is Collaboration builds Partnerships-Partnerships build Trust and with that Trust, Hope is the Outcome. As Municipal Leaders It is our responsibility to lead and we must demonstrate grace while we stay focused on the mission at hand.” Without trust you can’t form deep relationships. Without that you have the dismantling of a functioning government and you wind up with unhealthy families and communities.”
That is not to say that disagreements aren’t welcome when discussing a polarizing subject. “Diversity in beliefs and experiences are really imperative to have thriving economies,” he said. “Disagreements are healthy because they force us to stretch our thinking, but when we’re unable to have conversations where we share those experiences and learn from one another, we’re never going to find common ground.”
According to Civility in America: A Nationwide Survey, 75 percent of Americans surveyed believed the nation was at a crisis level while 94 percent said the country had a civility problem. Furthermore, nine out of 10 Millennials say they experience some form of incivility every day and 61 percent of children experience it at school.
A Resolution adopted by the Board of Directors of the WV Municipal League kicks off the initiative here in West Virginia. “The National Institute of Civil Discourse, which is a non-partisan organization whose mission is to bring people together on divisive issues, to have constructive conversations, to find common good,” explained Lisa Dooley, Executive Director of the League. “It’s typically on issues directly related to democracy, and we are honored to be the first League in the Nation and the first group in West Virginia to explore this campaign.”
Clarksburg Mayor Catherine Goings concluded, “The West Virginia Municipal League recognizes the importance of expressing different political views but not in a manner that is disrespectful to the individual or the office held. The City of Clarksburg is one of the first municipalities to adopt the resolution as an effort to show support for their grassroots effort.”