All too frequently news stories emerge about civil discourse in America and abroad. To address these civility issues firsthand, the ABA Division for Public Education collaborated with organizations in nine states to create a series of public programs entitled Civility and Free Expression in a Constitutional Democracy – A National Dialogue. The civility programs are made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Bridging Cultures initiative.
Leading the civility series are program partners the Tennessee Bar Association and the Program for Humanities and Human Values at UNC-Chapel Hill, who worked together to develop Balancing Civility and Free Expression. On September 18, 2012 the first program of the series will be held at the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and looks at Civility and Cross Cultural Issues, with a specific emphasis on the recent school consolidation process and its challenges in Memphis and Shelby County. The event will feature several members of the Transition Planning Committee (TPC) and will give insight into the experiences that the TPC encountered when attempting to craft a plan responsive to the concerns of various groups involved in the school consolidation process. This dialogue will also address the relevant, underlying history and currents that have been affecting the civility of the school merger issue, including the busing episode of the 1970’s, which triggered almost identical reactions and lack of substantial cross-cultural or cross-geographic interactions in the Memphis community.