FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE As the nation awaits a grand jury decision in Ferguson, Springfield officials encourage citizens to stay the course with regard to civil discussions and dialogue about sensitive topics such as politics and diversity, along with committing to take stock of lessons learned in our community and others. Mayor Bob Stephens calls for Springfieldians to renew our commitment to civility. “We have many good examples of healthy public dialogue and peaceful demonstrations that have shone a light on Springfield’s commitment to civility,” Stephens said. He cited this past weekend’s March for Peace as one of those examples. And he is hopeful that some of that improvement in community awareness over these types of issue has come from an effort started four years ago. In 2010, the Good Community Committee, an informal cross-section of community leaders, began discussing and learning how a growing trend of incivility was stifling community participation. The committee’s goal became one of restoring civic engagement to the democratic process, and fostering an atmosphere in which people can freely speak their minds. Citizens across Springfield and Greene County called for greater civility in public discourse about politics, diversity and local planning and development. About Springfield-Greene County’s Civility Project
The Springfield-Greene County Civility Project focuses on 10 main tenets of civility, and encourages private businesses, public agencies and government entities to adopt and display them in their buildings. The 10 tenets of the Springfield-Greene County Civility Project are:
- Be Attentive.
Live with awareness toward others and your surroundings.
- Acknowledge Others.
Greet people, ideas and values with respect.
- Be Inclusive.
Recognize and welcome all people every day.
Seek to understand by concentrating on what people say.
- Respect Other Views.
Respond to different opinions with a fair and open mind.
- Speak Out With Courage.
Express yourself with honor and conviction.
- Act with Compassion.
Treat others with kindness and honesty.
- Give and Accept Constructive Feedback.
Consider criticism thoughtfully and factually.
- Treat Your Environment with Respect.
Show regard for nature, resources and shared spaces.
- Be Accountable.
Acknowledge mistakes and take responsibility for your actions.
Many groups, including Springfield City Council and Greene County Commission, have adopted resolutions that call for "spirited public discourse" while maintaining "mutual respect for all opinions.” The 10 Tenets are shown before each City Council meeting and posters adorn the walls of many public and private spaces throughout the community. "One of our ideas when the Good Community was founded in 1995 was to help ensure 'a vigorous civil society,'" said Good Community Committee Chairman Brian Fogle. "Democracy can only flourish when there is a strong civic engagement. Our hope with the Civility Project was that our citizens would feel comfortable to participate in civil dialogue without fear of verbal attacks and incivility. By having a more civil discussion, we ultimately hope all voices are heard and considered." Fogle has recently reconvened a steering committee for the Civility Project and hopes to reignite discussions and plans. # # # For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (cell), [email protected]