On January 31, 2017 Rockford officially kicked off it's "815 Choose Civility" movement at an event at Heartland Community Church. Rockfordians took a pledge at the event  to "conduct myself in a way that is honest, respectful, considerate and kind, even toward those with whom I disagree", and a great question was raised afterwards; now what?

Sadly, I was unable to attend the kickoff event, but I just read an article on HappyRockford.com that I feel hit the nail on the head.

The 815 Choose Civility kickoff event featured a discussion panel with community leaders, and at the end WREX's Kristen Crowley asked the audience, "Now that we’ve started this civility movement, what is possible? What can we accomplish?"

Wow. Powerful stuff to think about. What can we do if this community bands together in kindness?

Brian Wallheimer of Happy Rockford thinks this is the answer;

my hope for this project is that we create a community where those with civil, helpful things to say can feel emboldened. This isn’t to say that we shout down others. Their opinions matter and should be considered. But if we can show them that we can get more done by talking with kindness, respect and understanding, the sky’s the limit.

We create the climate in which we choose to live. If we allow it to be noxious, that’s what we’ll have. If we put in the effort to create a respectful society, civillity will rule.


Bravo, Mr. Wallheimer, I couldn't agree with you more. I am so sick of people hiding behind keyboards and ripping people up on social media for stating differing opinions. Yes, we all have the freedom to state how we feel publicly, but why do people have to do it so hatefully? Newsflash! Using angry, hateful words towards strangers only makes you mean and appear ignorant. Sure, you can feel strongly about something and express it, but take a moment to figure out how to convey those feelings intelligently and respectfully. Please.

Maybe I am too optimistic about society's ability for kindness, but how is it a bad thing to try and see if it works?