NORTH PORT — When former North Port Mayor Jacqueline Moore attended the National Mayors Conference on June 27, 2016, in Indianapolis, her whole world changed and she found a direction for her life’s calling.
“That day, I saw the Dalai Lama speak. I sat a few feet from him and listening to him, being in his presence — it was life-changing,” Moore said. “I knew that I had to do something to make a difference in my community. This was right after the Pulse Nightclub shooting and so many of us from Florida were still shaken up and thinking about how we could change the climate that we were seeing, and this moment, seeing the Dalai Lama, helped me determine what it was I needed to do.”
The leadership development consultant said she had lived a life of service, starting with working in customer service with AT&T.
“My role developed from there, and then I was advising on how to develop leadership skills,” Moore said. She has spent nearly three decades as a coach and trainer, providing leadership development and strategic planning to clients worldwide. “One of the things that I have always tried to teach people is that you deserve respect simply because you are human. Everyone is equally deserving of being treated with kindness and civility.”
With that in mind, Kindness Community was born. Founded on Dec. 1, 2016, Kindness Community is a grassroots social movement that seeks to elicit change and make kindness a way of life.
Kindness Community believes that “Kindness is always a choice in our relationships with others … Kindness is free and inclusive, Kindness is a unifier in our world … and Kindness is contagious.”
In 2017, North Port, Sarasota County, Manatee County, and Sarasota County Schools adopted the message of Kindness Community and pledged to make kindness a way of life for everything they do.
In the 2017-2018 school year, Moore worked with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to develop curriculum to bring the Kindness Community ideas to students in all Sarasota County Schools. The foundation launched its Because It Matters campaign based on that curriculum.
Today, that same idea has been redone and rebranded as The Civility Squad and is being used in all Sarasota County Schools to help students develop skills, values, and motivation to effect positive change in their schools and community.
In 2018, the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce featured Kindness Community in the Community Guide, and more than 75,000 people have signed an online pledge to agree to “take actions in creating a kindness community” and transform the community into a better place to live.
And Moore isn’t close to being done. Her work in kindness and civility has helped her take on a new role — president of the National Civility Center Board of Directors.
“We aspire to help catalyze a needed shift in our society, a turning back toward one another, remembering that we are interdependent and that we need one another to thrive,” Moore said about her position with the National Civility Center. “I am honored to work with an extraordinary group of international leaders in civility, and stakeholders and communities around the world. We are on a mission.”
The National Civility Center’s vision is “a civil world, where individuals, organizations, and communities exist cohesively and thrive while operating in mutually beneficial relationships that are in service of each other and their relevant societies” and the mission is “to be the catalyst for conversation about civility in society and to provide leadership, resources, and tools that empower and enable individuals and organizations to be civility champions in their communities.”
Moore said that, in order to make that vision and mission a reality, the December 2018 North America Launch of the Golden Rule Civility Global Initiative is coming to Hotel Indigo in Sarasota, Dec. 1-6. There will be five sessions throughout the six days to teach people how to become leaders in civility.
Moore is one of only five certified Golden Rule Civility Statesmen trainers in the world, and she is a Candidate for International Civility Trainers Consortium Master Trainer. She also serves as a United States Liaison for Civility Experts International with Lew Bayer, Executive Director and CEO of Civility Experts Inc.
“The Civility Center Board is thrilled to have Jacqueline join our team,” Bayer said. “Her personal values, experience and lifelong pursuit of civility align perfectly with the Civility Center mandate and it is our pleasure and a privilege to work with her to help restore civility to society.”
Details on the Golden Rule Civility Global Initiative are still being planned, but Moore said that the final touches will be complete soon.
“One thing we will talk about in the sessions is the The National Civility Center’s focus in the fiscal year 2018-2019 on The 3.5 percent Community Civility Initiative,” Moore said. “This was inspired by the work of Erica Chenoweth, an American political scientist, who found that, under certain conditions, it takes only 3.5 percent of a group to make change via organized, non-violent resistance. Essentially, we are suggesting that people … choose civility even in the face of incivility.”
Examples of how to choose civility include responding with kindness and civility to incivility, leading with kindness, avoid labeling people as “uncivil,” and rather label behaviors, and more. Further details on how to choose a life of civility can be found at www.civilitycenter.org.
Moore is currently writing her first book, “Kindness: The Heart of Civility,” which is due for release in 2019.