Hundreds attend 815 Choose Civility kickoff event in Rockford - – Rockford’s News Leader

Hundreds attend 815 Choose Civility kickoff event in Rockford

Area residents sign on to take the civility pledge Area residents sign on to take the civility pledge

Hundreds took a pledge Tuesday night to choose civility.

The event, the 815 Choose Civility kickoff, was one that has been in the making since August, when a grassroots group of citizens came together to form a group focused solely on civility and treating one another with respect.

The idea has taken off since then and gained great traction in the community. Tuesday night, the group shared its vision with the community.

That vision is based around a pledge of civility. It reads: "I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is honest, respectful, considerate and kind, even toward those with whom I disagree."

Shamika Williams from KFACT - Keeping Families and Communities Together - was one of several panelists who spoke about civility.

"I work with young people in trying to teach them the importance of having civility and being respectful and treating each other how they would want to be treated in the Rockford community," Williams said Tuesday. 

Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea also attended the event and stressed the importance of knowing your neighbors.

"You got to know your neighbors, trust your neighbors, and then take it to the next neighbor and to the next neighbor," O'Shea said. "And I think when you do that and what 815 Civility is about, that's what they're trying to get to. When you treat others like you want to be treated how you want them to treat your mother, your father, your son, your daughter, it goes a long way to changing the community and the feeling of the community."

Monday night, Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey declared this week "815 Choose Civility Week" in an official proclamation.

Mayor Morrissey says choosing civility is part of our democratic process, whether it is at a national or local level. The mayor says an initiative like this can let Rockford set an example for other communities.

"We actually need to have a forum, a marketplace if you will, where ideas can be freely debated," Mayor Morrissey said Monday. "It's not good for us if we don't allow ideas to come to the surface."

The event was held at Heartland Community Church in Rockford. To learn more about 815 Choose Civility, visit their Facebook page.

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