Embrace Civility

What is Civility?

Civility is more than just politeness. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions and teaching others to do the same. Civility is the hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreement.*

Why Civility Matters for Cities and organizations

  • Civil behavior and speech are critically important to a healthy, functional and respectful society.

  • A 2019 survey revealed that 93 percent of Americans believe that incivility is a problem, with 68 percent identifying incivility as a major problem.**

  • Cities need a plan to counteract the growing polarization and challenges caused by incivility.

* The Institute for Civility in Government

** Weber Shandwick’s annual poll, Civility in America 2019

Civility fosters respect, trust, and belonging. By modeling and practicing civility, city and organization leaders set an expectation that vigorous debate and vetting of ideas can be respectful and productive, leading to better engagement and outcomes for all.

Larry Hanson, GMA CEO & Executive Director

9 Pillars of Civility

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    Be considerate of others’ opinions. It’s ok to agree to disagree.

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    Manage your emotions. Get curious instead of furious.

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    A silent voice is not always a weak voice. Sometimes it’s ok not to respond.

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    Be Kind! Make your point about the issue, not the person.

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    Actively listen, to learn how to Engage respectfully!

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    Think about the impact of your actions and not the intent.

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    Ask questions to learn. Answer questions with respect.

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    Remember the acronym QTIP (Quit Taking It Personal).

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    Have empathy! Just because you have not experienced it, does not mean it does not exist.

Civility Pledge

The way we govern ourselves is often as important as the positions we take. Our collective decisions will be better when differing views have had the opportunity to be fully vetted and considered. All people have the right to be treated with respect, courtesy and openness. We value all input. We commit to conduct ourselves at all times with civility and courtesy to each other.

Georgia City Solutions logo Georgia Municipal Association logo


Cities Connect: Embrace Civility Presentation

In this Cities Connect presentation, GMA CEO and Executive Director Larry Hanson and Freddie Broome, GMA’s Director of Equity and Inclusion, provide a detailed breakdown and explanation of the EMBRACE Civility Initiative.  


Designated Cities & Organizations of Civility

Designated Cities & Organizations of Civility

A listing of Cities and Organizations that have pledged to Embrace Civility