New Boise organization to focus on civility, discourse in Treasure Valley

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jun 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-11 19:15:07-04

The Treasure Valley Research Network was created to focus on civil discourse, or the lack thereof, when discussing issues such as growth, changing demographics and political differences. 

The group began with a grant through Boise State University and utilizes a partnership between BSU professors, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, the Boise Police Department and other community leaders.

The network's first meeting was Monday. 

Their goal is to brainstorm solutions for Treasure Valley issues while keeping differences in mind. 

"Gender, race, religion, whenever you're dealing with growing numbers of something perceived as 'the other' people tend to get a little nervous, get a little tense," network member and Idaho Black History Museum Executive Director Phillip Thompson said. "We don't have to play like we all think the same, but we need not vilify those who think differently." 

Thompson says living in a fast-growing city, it's important to keep civility at the forefront of conversation.

"When people come to visit the museum, they're shocked at how polite, how calm, cool, collected everybody is," he said. "If we could keep it that way when we're dealing with these more heated issues on a political front as far as the city, growth, etc., then we can continue to move forward and keep what we have." 

Monday's meeting was closed to the public, but Thompson says there will be opportunities in the future for valley residents to weigh in on issues they see and how to solve them.