Clean Speech Colorado Announces 2nd Annual Campaign: “Civility Needed Now More Than Ever”

Campaign To Focus on One Month of Mindful Speech for all Coloradans

DENVER, CO — In the only statewide effort of its kind, Clean Speech Colorado announced its second annual effort to bring an entire community together to rectify hurtful, insulting speech. Coming on the heels of campaign insults, divisive rhetoric, and rallies with harsh words and deadly violence, the month-long, statewide education and awareness campaign will involve over 60 Jewish organizations from across the state. Last year, over 10,000 people participated in a month of kinder, more respectful, and non-hurtful speech.

Starting November 1, 2020, the clean speech campaign will feature 30 new daily lessons and videos focused on how we talk to each other, avoiding any kind of offensive, disrespectful, insulting remarks to one another. This non-partisan effort has gotten the attention of Governor Polis, who has made November officially “Clean Speech Colorado Month.” 

Rabbi Raphael Leban, founder of Clean Speech Colorado, and Managing Director of The Jewish Experience

According to its founder, this year’s campaign is needed now more than ever.  “Unfortunately, the stakes are even higher than last year,” said Rabbi Raphael Leban, founder of Clean Speech Colorado, and Managing Director of The Jewish Experience.  “Our communities are torn apart by division and strife. One has only to scroll down through any social media platform to see anger and vitriol over politics and other bitter contemporary issues.”

“With the heated election, heightened social tensions, and a world isolated from one another by a pandemic, the stories of broken friendships, families and even marriages continue to mount,” said Leban.  “This is our attempt to stem the tide – or tidal wave.”

“”It’s a time-honored Jewish value to communicate with respect and dignity,” says Leban. “We are in such need of those lessons now. I really don’t want to hear another story of families not speaking to one another because of the bitter tone of their political discussions.”

“There are so many lines drawn through our communities-over American politics, Israeli politics, religious perspectives. It’s time to dig into our common heritage and draw upon the timeless lessons of the Torah to reunite and reconnect the Jewish People,” says Leban, who is hoping his community can serve as role models.  In fact, several other cities across the United States and Canada saw last year’s successes and are planning to launch similar campaigns in the first quarter of 2021 and will be working with Leban to run them through his organization.

This year’s Volume 2 campaign will feature 30 new daily lessons and videos with a new focus.  Last year’s campaign focused on how we talk about each other, avoiding lashon hara – gossip and slander.  This year will explore how we talk to each other, avoiding onas devarim – offensive, disrespectful, and insensitive speech.

30-Day Campaign: (starting November 1st )

The 30-day campaign will start November 1st and run through the month with a series of daily videos and weekly talk show style streamed events, all of which are free of charge. These include:

  • 2-minute Clean Speech lesson a day – Distributed by direct mail, as well as email, audio, and video formats across digital and social media platforms, the lessons will be taught by lay leaders representing the variety of Jewish organizations participating in the campaign.
  • Sunday evening online TV Talk Show – With sensitivity to COVID19 restrictions on public gathering, this year Clean Speech Colorado will produce a weekly evening talk show, bringing on special guests from around the world and locally. Hosted by Adrienne Gold, a seasoned talk show host from Toronto, guests include Josh Hammer, Newsweek opinion editor and syndicated columnist Rap artist Nissim Black, Obama administration speech writer and author, Sara Hurwitz, , and Founder and Director of Momentum Lori Palatnik, who authored a book on avoiding gossip.
  • Weekly discussion curricula for schools, Sunday schools, youth groups, and the workplace, as well as tips for family discussions and discord. Youth educational materials include a card game and posters with Mr. Wordwise, an animated child-friendly icon of good speech tools. 
  • Giveaways – Tens of thousands of reminder wristbands, car magnets, stickers and lapel pins will be distributed to help keep the lessons in the forefront of everyone’s minds during the 30-day campaign.
  • Participating organizations will hold individual events to underscore the clean speech lessons including staff in-service education, educational video watch parties, staff competitions and sweepstakes, classes, and programs.

Given that Colorado is a known leader for a cleaner physical environment, so too, this campaign seeks to clean up the words that can denigrate and pollute our social environment to improve the quality of life for us and our children’s future.

“Clean Speech Colorado is not just about what we say. It’s about who we are. It’s a simple principle: If we remove negativity, gossip, slander, and divisiveness from our vocabulary, we automatically and dramatically improve our own lives and the lives of everyone around us. We can make a difference and create a more peaceful and unified community one word at a time.”

Rabbi Leban is available to discuss Clean Speech Colorado and its expansion across the country as well as to give tips for better communication and how we can discuss divisive issues more respectfully – how families can get through the political and holiday season without creating more division and verbal casualties.

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