March 6, 2017 at 2:15pm
Dane Lisser

Millikin and Decatur Community partner to encourage Civic Discourse

Civic Discourse Week

In the midst of an increasingly diverse array of perspectives, civic discourse helps demonstrate our shared responsibility to one another, our commitment to our systems and our willingness to choose to elevate the conversation.

Millikin University and the Decatur, Ill., community have teamed up to present Civic Discourse Week, March 30 – April 6, to have authentic conversations about our duties as citizens in relation to America in 2017. 

Civic Discourse Week provides something for everyone, from book clubs, to a nationally recognized author, to community fairs and community discussions. Civic Discourse Week includes the following events.

Friday, March 31

Community Engagement Fair

Decatur Public Library, 12 noon – 5 p.m.

Want to know more about local civic organizations? Local non-profits will showcase their services and volunteer needs at the Community Engagement Fair on Friday, March 31, at the Decatur Public Library from 12 noon – 5 p.m.

Sunday, April 2

Parent Leadership Event

6 p.m., Decatur Area Arts Council

Are you a Parent? Do you wonder what the community would look like if parents were viewed as equal partners in decision making for our children's educational experiences? A Parent Leadership Movement is gaining momentum in Decatur and an event to learn more will be held at the Decatur Area Arts Council on Sunday, April 2, at 6 p.m. Child Care and food will be provided.

Monday, April 3

Millikin University welcomes J.D. Vance

7 p.m., Kirkland Fine Arts Center

J.D. Vance, renowned author of the New York Times best-selling book "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis," will present a thought-provoking discussion on Monday, April 3, at 7 p.m. in Kirkland Fine Arts Center on Millikin University's campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Vance grew up in the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Ky. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and served in Iraq. A graduate of The Ohio State University and Yale Law School, he has contributed to the National Review and The New York Times and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC. Vance has recently signed on as a CNN Political Contributor and currently works as a principal at a leading Silicon Valley investment firm.

J.D. Vance

Vance gives a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. In this timely talk, Vance sheds light on an often forgotten corner of the country, offering not just a powerful picture of how upward mobility really feels, but also the loss of the modern-day American dream.

Tuesday, April 4

Macon County Hybrid Court Discussion featuring Circuit Judge Thomas Little

6 p.m., Decatur Public Library

Have you heard of Macon County's Hybrid Court Program? Established in 2011, Hybrid Court is a voluntary program designed for High Risk/High Needs adult offenders who have a current nonviolent felony offense and a diagnosis of substance dependence. Rather than traditional punishment, the Court diverts participants away from the criminal justice system by offering alternative comprehensive and therapeutic judicial intervention. Macon County Circuit Judge Thomas Little will discuss the program with community members on Tuesday, April 4, at 6 p.m. at the Decatur Public Library.

Wednesday, April 5

Books between Bites and Millikin Freedom Readers

12 noon – 1 p.m. at the Decatur Public Library, 7 – 8 p.m. in Shilling Hall, Room 317 on Millikin's campus

On Wednesday, April 5, Books between Bites invites community members to review and discuss J.D. Vance's Book, "Hillbilly Elegy," from 12 noon – 1 p.m. at the Decatur Public Library. Millikin's Freedom Readers also invites community members to sit back, listen and engage with readers from campus and beyond in Shilling Hall, Room 317, from 7 – 8 p.m.

Thursday, April 6

9th Annual Conversation on Race

6 p.m., MacArthur High School in Decatur

Civic Discourse Week will conclude with the 9th annual Conversation on Race on Thursday, April 6, at 6 p.m. at MacArthur High School in Decatur. The event will celebrate almost a decade of creating space for ongoing and honest dialog about race in the Decatur community.

For more information on Civic Discourse Week, contact Millikin University's Office of  Student Development at 217.424.6395 or at