It is always a pleasant surprise when I find myself sitting next to someone doing something significant for little reward, applause, recognition, if any at all.
Today, I sat next to a fellow attorney in a meeting as our general counsel announced that this attorney, a man with many decades of legal experience more than myself and something of a living legend around here, would be spending some significant time on a project to promote increased civility in Utah. It was not the first I had heard about the Utah Civility and Community 2011, but it was the first time I had heard anything specific about it. I was impressed that an exemplary and skilled attorney would take significant time away from his very lucrative career to lend his skills, reputation, and efforts to an unpaid, but very important, cause.
What is the Utah Civility and Community 2011 project?
The Utah Civility and Community 2011 site states that “In Utah we are committed to respectful discourse and behavior toward all people. Further we are committed to being a welcoming, inclusive and caring community. Now is a great time to pass it on and start the five steps to a more caring Utah.” It is co-chaired by Lt. Governor Greg Bell, and individual I know and have a high degree of respect for, and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, who I do not know, but who has impressed me (more about his tenure here).
A short brochure about the project details four parts of the campaign to increase civility this year:
Part 1: Touch Of Civility – Pass It On Campaign. This is a campaign to pass along “civility cards” when you see someone acting in a civil manner.
Part 2: Five Steps to a More Civil and Caring Utah. Reflect, Share, Engage, Act, Contribute.
Part 3: A Series of Regional Summits Throughout the State
Part 4: Statewide Community Participation and Celebrations
Participation is expected to include public schools, civic centers, places of worship, public meetings and “any other place Utahns can generate a renewal of respectful and caring discourse and behavior.” (I can’t help but wonder if this will include the state legislature…) In November, the campaign intends to organize community gatherings to celebrate both the efforts and successes of the project, as well as to “pledge a continuing effort to pursue a higher ‘civil-ization’ in Utah.”
For more information, check your local news tonight. A press conference was held this morning, and I understand that all local news stations were in attendance. Also, visit the site on the web at http://utahcivility.org. It’s still fairly undeveloped but the rudiments are there, and I am sure the content will grow as the campaign gets rolling.
As pleasant a surprise my experience was, I think it is a gift we can pass on more often by acting with civility ourselves.
Civility. Pass it on.
- Becker, Bell launch campaign to be more civil ()
- The Utah Compact on Immigration (lawafterthebar.wordpress.com)