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Wes Moore: Civility Begins with Building Community

Delivering a powerful keynote at the 2018 Detroit Policy Conference, Wes Moore, CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation and best-selling author, challenged attendees to hold up all members of their communities to ensure that no one is left behind in Detroit’s revitalization. A community that supports all, Moore said, is the very crux of what it means to be “civil.”

“The civility of community is freedom. The freedom to dream and know that your dreams aren’t just yours. The freedom to aspire and know people will help shoulder those burdens and help you accomplish your aspirations. The freedom to know that the space you are in does not have to define the future you possess,” Moore said.

Drawing on lessons he learned as a young man growing up in poverty and again while attending Valley Forge Military Academy, Moore said setting standards and upholding expectations, together with having the right support structure and mentors, are key ingredients for a civil and inclusive society.

Key takeaways:

  • Humans are products of others’ expectations. We internalize these expectations and make them our own.
  • Society is interconnected and we either succeed together or fail together.
  • If you are not willing to do something about the macro, you do not have the right to complain about the micro.
  • The civility to build a true community will only happen if everyone feels the same vested interest in its success and that the success includes all of us.

The session was sponsored by PNC Bank.