From Tina Pham (Springfield, MO)
Be Civil Be Heard is an organization in Springfield, Mo working towards making conversation about difficult topics civil and productive. Conversations can arise in any setting and at any time. It is good to know some steps to help guide the conversation and get your voice heard. If we didn’t have steps for being civil, we could potentially end up like Regina George and Cady Heron.
The first step to civil and productive conversation is to be attentive. Being attentive is knowing that there are other thoughts around that are different from yours, but also knowing that you are not always right is key to civil and productive conversations. It’s not just listening but trying to understand.
Communicators can be attentive by finding common ground rather than focusing on issues that differentiate us. Gathering around a table with people of a different race, ethnicity, or stance can lead to an amazing conversation of learning and engaging if it is done the right way.
As a biracial student, I’ve learned to listen when I’m engaging in a conversation about a topic that may be difficult to discuss or one that has caused controversy. I listen to what people have to say and I process the information before responding because progress can only be made through civility.
BCBH is working towards writing the narrative of our story as one that illustrates unity and progress on issues in our community. Once we’ve established attentiveness, communicators can continue the count to 10 process and continue engaging in civil discourse.