The Common Good

Honor Roll: The Institute for Civility in Government


[Editor's Note: Welcome to Sojourner's Truth and and Civility Election Watch Honor Roll. This post is part of a series of submissions from our constituents that highlight organizations and individuals engaging in positive, honest discourse.]

Honor Roll Nominee: The Institute for Civility in Government
Nominated by: Rev. Helen P. DeLeon

The Institute for Civility in Government was founded in 1998 by two Presbyterian pastors, the Rev. Cassandra Dahnke and the Rev. Tomas Spath. They began by taking groups of adults to Washington, D.C., to listen and learn about how to speak with one another and their elected officials in civil, courteous ways. They branched out to college campuses, bringing elected officials to campuses to meet with students. These gatherings are not about positions or sides of a debate, but about discussing ideas in a respectful manner.

In recent years, this organization has begun to take high school students to Washington, D.C., for the same purpose. These young men and women are not necessarily the "best and brightest" students at their schools because they have not been given enough opportunity due to poverty and environments not conducive to healthy development. The Institute for Civility in Government, however, gives these students the opportunity to travel to D.C., and learn about civility in the political process. On these trips, they learn how to respect one another and are given the chance to meet with their members of Congress. At these meetings, the students present their case on an issue they are concerned about.

True transformation occurs on these trips organized by the Institute for Civility in Government, and that is why I nominated them for Sojourners' Truth and Civility Election Watch Honor Roll.

Rev. Helen P. DeLeon is associate pastor at Webster Presbyterian Church in Webster, Pennsylvania.

Congratulations to the Institute for Civility on their continuing work toward truth and civility! We ask that you continue to lift up these stories and feel free to send them our way. Email your example to, ATTN: Truth and Civility Watch

+Tired of the hateful rants, lying, and deceptive rhetoric? Don't suffer in silence -- join the Truth and Civility Election Watch today!

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