The Great Lakes Civility Project, which aims to build civility by teaching people to listen to and understand one another, invites community members, students, faculty and local businesses to come together for a Civility Night at Henry Ford College from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 27.
After a discussion on civility led by Civility Project founders and renowned journalists Nolan Finley and Stephen Henderson, participants will have an opportunity to immerse in civility-building guided by strategies and techniques taught by the Civility Project.
The program is themed Norms & Values of a Democratic Society, driven by the premise that some people believe democracy means the right to fight to impose their will, while others believe democracy shouldn’t force one position on the rest of the community – unless an initiative is morally wrong. And that’s where the gray area comes in.
This program will explore how, and whether, democracy can survive in a pluralistic society.
“The last decade has been one of the most politically and emotionally divisive in American history, and as we get closer to midterm elections, those tensions will continue to rise,” Henderson said. “Confrontation happens when civility breaks down, and it’s more important than ever for Americans to be able work through disagreements in a respectful, productive manner.”
“A huge part of civility requires seeing the other person as human and trying to understand where they are coming from,” Finley said. “Our goal is to teach people how to truly listen to one another to move past conflict and work together more effectively. You don’t have to agree – but listening to understand is key.”
Anthony Perry, professor in HFC’s political science department, teaches his students the power and importance of civility to maintain a democratic society. He’ll be offering credit to students who attend the program, along with other faculty members at HFC.
“There is no better time than now to have this conversation,” Perry said. “Raising these issues with college students is a way to protect our nation’s future.”
Registration is now open at: https://forms.office.com/r/Fv1YqSEFJc.