About the Civil Discourse Committee…
The goal of the committee is to add an explicit statement about civil discourse to LWV-SC’s Position on Civic Participation. While this value is implicit in the League work of educating for democracy, no supporting language could be found in the the language of the League Principles and Positions at all levels−local, state and national.
Through our research we found that the LWV of San Luis Obispo (CA) had done a three-year study on civil discourse. This resulted in the addition of the following to their state’s position on government:
“Promote civil discourse through action and education for all government bodies, staff, and citizens for the purpose of improved public policy decisions and processes. Civil discourse means, at a minimum, mutually respectful, courteous, constructive, and orderly communication.”
This statement was later adopted by concurrence in Oregon. Our committee’s plan is to follow the same path of concurrence: first at the local level, then at the state, and subsequently at the national levels.
Civil Discourse Programs
The committee has held several programs. One was an educational forum at Edmonds Community College in October, 2017. Facilitated by Bob Drewel, a panel of experts spoke on the state of civil discourse within their fields: Education, the Media, Politics, and Community.
In April, 2018, we held a "community conversation" at the Everett Library. Featured speaker was Jacquelyn Styrna, regional director at Skagit County Dispute Resolution Center, followed by small groups for discussion.
The committee will continue to plan educational forums to carry a strong message of the power of civil discourse throughout the county.