NICD's Family and Friends Initiative to Revive Civility
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The National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) was established in May of 2011 after the tragic Tucson, Arizona shooting that killed six people and wounded thirteen others including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. All were participating in a “Congress on Your Corner” event, a fundamental act of democracy.
In response to the tragedy, the Tucson community came together to create NICD, a non-partisan organization based at the University of Arizona that would promote healthy and civil political debate. NICD is devoted to the same principles that motivated Congresswoman Giffords: that people with different values and political preferences can discuss their differences in a civil and productive manner.
The 2016 presidential election brought a new and very disturbing change in our politics and our people. The vitriolic and bigoted language and name calling of the 2016 election cycle was something that we have not seen previously in modern political history. The tone of the campaigns even led to physical violence at many political rallies. Many groups of Americans were publicly vilified and treated profoundly disrespectfully.
And now, eight months after the election, ordinary Americans are still vilifying, demonizing and hating other Americans who think differently than they do. The latest tragedy of neo-Nazis spewing hate speech, terror and violence on the streets of Charlottesville has revealed the ugliest side of our country’s deep divides. We have not seen this chasm and judgment about people because of who they are and who they voted for since Reconstruction. People in families, neighborhoods, and congregations that had been perfectly comfortable with one another in the past are now unable to communicate with each other without judgment and disrespect.
Given this deep divide among Americans, it is imperative that we find a path forward to help unite us. This will require Americans to begin listening and engaging with one another across their differences. Re-establishing the social norms of civility and respect will require real leadership and a nationwide effort.
The National Institute for Civil Discourse’s Revive Civility initiative helps the American people develop their civil discourse skills, provides positive mechanisms to become engaged in our democracy, and assists the public in reestablishing a healthy, functioning democracy.
As a counter-narrative to the incivility permeating our public spaces, NICD is spearheading a national grassroots initiative to Revive Civility to give Americans and leader solution-oriented actions to restore and call for civility in our democracy.
Citizens and policy makers nationwide are answering that call, becoming civility ambassadors and standing up declaring their commitment to civility through:
- Mayoral/Elected Leader Proclamations
- Personal Citizen Pledges
- Community Led Revive Civility Conversations
For more information on this initiative, please go to the website. #revivecivility
'Listen to America Bus Tour'
Last month NICD was invited to partner with the HuffPost on their 'Listen to America' bus tour. On this 25 city tour across America we are talking to local communities about their hopes, fears, and dreams, and attitudes about the media. The goal, to showcase what we share as Americans, rather than what divides us through moving, multi-media story-telling.
Who We Are
The National Institute for Civil Discourse is a non-profit, non-partisan institute based at the University of Arizona 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. Their 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.
Revive Civility: Because Our Democracy Depends On It!