Mayor Ralph Becker, Lt. Gov. Greg Bell launch campaign to be more civil

Published: Friday, Jan. 7 2011 1:06 a.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Mayor Ralph Becker and Lt. Gov. Greg Bell kicked off a new campaign Thursday urging residents to be more civil, caring and inclusive.

They held a press conference for the Civility and Community 2011 Initiative at Memory Grove in City Creek Canyon.

The initiative is based on a simple, immutable concept: "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."

"The simple message of the Civility Initiative is one we believe everyone can get behind and benefit from as we all strive to treat those around us with respect," said Bell. "The best solutions and results for our community come from collaborative efforts and true collaboration demands civility and respect for one another."

Bell said we have differences in our community and that people need to express them well, civilly and in a manner that shows respect for each other. He said those views need to be based on logic and reason, so we can explain them, not just on prejudice and bias.

"I think it's really important that we all consider how we're interacting with each other, how we're listening to each other, how we're respecting each other," Becker said. "If we can keep these very basic principles and values in mind, Lt. Gov. Greg Bell and I will continue to be having a good discourse on things, and we'll arrive at good decisions."

Bell said in the last 20 years, "we've seen a crescendo of people being ill-tempered, of being unwilling to discuss, of saying ' just because I believe it it's true and you're wrong because I'm right.' That's just not the way to discuss things."

He said people need to be able to explain how they feel "so we can try to get people to come with us, or in the reverse, if we find someone else has a better way of thinking, we can that way."

There are five steps Utahns can take to have a more civil and caring Utah: reflect, share, engage, act and contribute.

By reflecting: "I intend to make a personal assessment and reflect whether I am honoring the Civility Themes in all areas of my life."

The initiative encourages Utahns to share thoughts and feelings in this regard with family members and encourage a family discussion about how, as a family, we can all be more civil, caring and inclusive in our daily lives.

People are encouraged to have conversations with family, neighbors and co-workers on how everyone can be more civil, caring and inclusive.

Citizens can also come up with plans on how we can all be more civil, and during 2011, everyone will share the richness of our community stories, projects and ideas with other Utahns by contributing information to the Utah Civility and Community Submission Office.

For more information, go to the website www.utahcivility.org.

e-mail: jdaley@desnews.com

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