Our Recipe for Unity

Start With Kindness & Conversation

Some key ingredients to Our Recipe for Unity℠ are openness and understanding. But other keys involve civility, listening to other points of view, and creating conversation.

Unfortunately, 75 percent of Americans say that incivility (rude or unsociable speech or behavior) has risen to crisis levels in America; that’s a significant increase from 70 percent in January 2016. (Civility in America VII: The State of Civility, conducted by Weber Shandwick & Powell Tate with KRC Research)

Peruse this robust collection for resources on how to help America course-correct: by mitigating bias, avoiding offensive language, encouraging kindness, stimulating open and friendly conversation, and improving communication overall.

We invite you to read, explore, comment, and suggest other resources we might include here!

Civil Discourse


Civility doesn’t require that we agree on the issues, or that we avoid vigorous debate. Democracy depends on people willing to engage in the marketplace of ideas. (NBCNews May 11, 2018)

“While on the job there’s often an unspoken rule that politics aren’t to be discussed. This proves helpful in fostering civility in the workplace.” (NBCNews Jun 21, 2017)

More than 100 Mainers attend a civility workshop in a Quaker meeting house in one of the launch cities for the Revive Civility initiative. (Boston Globe Sep 4, 2017)

It’s not trying to change someone’s mind, or giving up your own values, or avoiding conflict altogether. “It’s about disagreeing without being disagreeable.” (Maine Voices Oct 16, 2017)

For Civility Now, “we agree to listen and disagree respectfully in a manner or conduct that will be decisive for the future of our democracy.” Half Moon Bay Review (Dec 21, 2016)

Psychology Today asks “Is Civility Dead in America” and walks us through clear examples of civil and uncivil behaviors we should either encourage or avoid. (Jul 11, 2016)

Around a table, people who disagree can discover something even better than civility: true Christian love and unity. (The Table, a publication of the Biola University Center for Christian Thought, Feb 2, 2015)

AllSides aims to expose bias and provide multiple angles on the same story so that you can get a full picture, without the slant. Their tools include Bias Ratings (ABR™) and The AllSides Balanced Dictionary, designed to illuminate how people across the political spectrum define, think, and feel differently about the same term or issue.

This community of Americans is participating in an open-source project to explore the use of Living Room Conversations as a conversational bridge across issues that divide and separate us.

This non-partisan institute based at the University of Arizona's School of Social and Behavioral Sciences is dedicated to addressing incivility and political dysfunction in American democracy. Their initiative, Revive Civility, is a national grassroots effort highlighting the need to change the tone of our current politics.

The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation is a community dedicated to bringing "people of all stripes together to discuss, decide and collaborate on today's toughest issues."

With tools created by National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD), Revive Civility empowers Americans to restore and call for civility in our democracy. Their initiatives include a 7-Day Civility Challenge.

This program by the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) suggests specific actions each individual can implement, including tips and tools for families and friends to have civil conversations over the holidays.

Longtime friends and political opposites explain one way to bridge gaps in understanding and create opportunities for mutual listening and consideration. (TEDWomen 2017)

This event, moderated by NPR’s Scott Simon and livestreamed by the NICD and the American Psychological Association, is about improving the tenor of discourse in our country. (Sep 26, 2018)



In choosing your language, recognize that people are not defined by their weight and that lots of commonly used phrases are offensive. (The Body is Not An Apology digital magazine, Aug 25, 2017)

"Words matter in the migration debate," says Rob McNeil from the Migration Observatory. For example, undocumented is the better, more accurate choice vs. illegal. (BBC Aug 28, 2015)

The adjective lame—we need to disable it. (Teaching Tolerance Oct 8, 2014)

by Naomi Karten, Dorset House ©2002

Whether the problem is miscommunication or a complete lack of communication, Karten gives tips on how to resolve these issues to improve relationships and work.

(International Association of Business Communicators ©1977)

This book is a valuable overview of nondiscriminatory communication (re: race, ethnicity, gender, ability), useful in all types of business.

Say what you mean and mean what you say—with help from the LGBTQIA Resource Center at UC Davis

Designed to help speak with children or students about kindness, exploring what it looks, sounds, and feels like. By Dr. Lynne Kenney, pediatric psychologist, author and educator.

Ready to print out and use cue cards with questions designed to spur conversations about kindness. By Families Giving Back family volunteering resource based in Phoenix, AZ.

A guide for educators, parents and caregivers to use the Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels public service ad campaign to examine and challenge our own implicit biases. (by the Anti-Defamation League)

Anti-discriminatory vocabulary curated and presented by the cause-driven petition site Care2 (Jan 16, 2017)

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is an international Jewish non-governmental organization whose mission is to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is an international Jewish non-governmental organization whose mission is to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.

In order to have respectful and civil conversations, we first need to learn how to talk with one another so we can hear and understand our different perspectives.

The term “handicapped” is often still used to refer to people with disabilities, but the word has a negative connotation and is unnecessary.

Calling someone by the wrong name or “misgendering” them by using incorrect pronouns or names can feel disrespectful, harmful, and even unsafe.

On talking and teaching about race by Pamela Oliver of the University of Wisconsin, Madison (Sep 16, 2017)

Questions to consider when using racing teams—by ThoughtCo., a premier reference site with a focus on expert-created education content. (Jul 27, 2018)

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