Our Story

In the early second decade of 2000, Springfield, Missouri had a difficult time coming to terms with conversation that was civil and productive. A group of good citizens from different local interested parties joined together to begin Be Civil, Be Heard which was initiated to find rules for civility. Those rules were painstakingly created by stakeholders in the community and took several months to craft.

Civility is thought to stop conversation, not start it. We are here to change that opinion and that message. After the city council and other influential groups became civil and used the tenets for civility, Be Civil, Be Heard became dormant. In 2016, the need arose again with a very divisive presidential election including the primary campaigns. but, be civil, be heard was not a part of the conversation for solutions. Instead, after thinking about how to make community building work again, the Center for Community Engagement was asked about Be Civil, Be Heard.

The faculty fellow took on the task of "finding" this program. The community foundation of the Ozarks was instrumental in creating BCBH and they were the reason that the Center for Community Engagement decided to take on the task of managing BCBH heard again and introducing it to a whole new generation of students and citizens.

Today, BCBH is a non-profit through the CFO. It is administered out of the Center for Community Engagement at Missouri State University by Elizabeth Dudash-Buskirk along with a large and diverse advisory board. Be Civil, Be Heard is no longer "just about civility," but instead, it is civic engagement, civic education, and the role of civility in building communities in order to build a healthier democracy.

Our Impact

Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.
— Alexander Hamilton

To date, we have already had programs in progress...

  • Soup and Civility

    • with Empower Missouri and Community Partners and Members


  • Table Top Talks 

    • Ozark Middle School, Central High


  • Civility Certified Events

    • Congressional Debate, Fall, 2016

    • Informational Press Panel, February 1, 2017