Who We Are
We, supporters of Civility First, are a group of citizens representing a wide range of political views. We have come together to repudiate the divisive language and hate speech permeating our society.
For our democracy to work effectively and to solve society’s problems, the voices, values and opinions of citizens need to be heard – we do not want to suppress vigorous political activism or dissent. However, being heard and hearing others will not happen without respectful listening.
Civility First promotes listening and learning from people with differing perspectives. We aspire to model civility and respectful behavior in public life, including our online presence.
Civility First asks civic and community leaders, civic groups, religious groups, and concerned citizens to commit to respectful listening, civil behavior, and to being role models for our children. We want our communities, schools, and public meetings to be/become safe places for honest discourse.
Civility First is a Washington State and IRS 501(c)3 tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation founded in 2017 on Whidbey Island.
Meet Our Current Board of Directors
Kate Bracy, Director
Kate Bracy is a retired nurse educator living in Clinton. She spent her career in public health focused on serving vulnerable populations as a nurse practitioner, supervisor, and educator. She grew up in northern New York, then lived many years in Minnesota, completing her Master’s Degree in Nursing and working as the Adolescent Health Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Health. Once in the Pacific Northwest she held positions as nursing supervisor at the King County Correctional Facility and as the Nursing Staff Development Specialist for King County Public Health. She has worked extensively with individuals and groups interested in improving communication in order to function more effectively together.
Kate is also a medical writer and novelist who hopes to continue writing in her retirement. She and her partner Anne have lived on Whidbey Island for fourteen years, and look forward to being here for many more. Her hobbies include quilting, knitting, clog dancing, and collecting hilarious quotations from her three grandchildren, who also live on Whidbey.
Charlotte Fairfield, Director
Charlotte grew up on a farm in Minnesota until graduating from Parkers Prairie High School.
After graduation, she moved to Minneapolis and worked for an insurance company and later an independent insurance agency.
Charlotte moved with her husband to the Coupeville area in 1980 and they commuted quarterly to Minneapolis to service their business clients for 35 years. During this period Charlotte went back to college and obtained a BS from City University and obtained her CPA certification. Charlotte is currently self- employed.
Charlotte fills her spare time with her vegetable garden and crocheting, needlepoint or knitting.
Sandi Peterson, Founder and Director
Sandi grew up, mostly, in the Skagit Valley. She moved to Whidbey Island, for the second time, in 2010.
Active in the Republican Party, Sandi grew up in a family of Democrats. Having spent a good part of her life having conversations with people of opposing views, she knows full well that civil discussions about policy can happen.
Sandi has served as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Oak Harbor, is currently serving as a Civil Service Commissioner, is a member of the Patriot Guard and is awaiting admission into the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Sandi and her husband have 4 children, 8 grandchildren, and 2 great grandsons. They enjoy watching their family grow and prosper, traveling, playing cards and board games, wildlife and each other.
Charles Terry, Director
Charles has always been interested in bridging differences, and bringing people and organizations together — collaboration to help bring about a better world. He has several decades of experience establishing, leading and advising nonprofit organizations, philanthropies and foundations. He served as Director of Philanthropy for the Rockefeller family, and been a retreat facilitator for a number of wealthy families and family foundations. He was a co-founder and Executive Director of The Door—a Center of Alternatives for Youth which provides health, mental health, social services and arts to thousands of teenagers in New York City. He founded the NYU Law School Program in Urban Law.
He is a founding board member of Enso House on Whidbey Island and is a long-term board member of Partners for Youth Empowerment, which provides programs and training for youth and adults in 15 countries around the world. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.
His current passions include digital photography, particularly documenting the lives of children around the world, and writing.
Cathy Whitmire, Founder and Director
Cathy grew up in St. Louis and moved to Wenatchee Washington in 1970 where she worked for the War on Poverty, started an alternative high school, was director of Family Planning and served on the Central Washington State University Board of Trustees.
She made a mid-life career change to attend divinity school in Boston where she worked as inner-city hospital chaplain and later supervised community empowerment projects in New England for the American Friends Service Committee.
After retiring, she published books on Quaker spirituality and peacemaking. She is married, has five beloved grandchildren and since moving to Whidbey Island in 2006, has led spiritual retreats and been involved in community activities.
Gary Wray, Director
Gary Wray is a long-time island resident active in Republican politics and civic affairs. He is vice President of the construction company, Wray Brothers LLC and has a commitment to public service with a special interest in housing issues. He is on the Human Services Housing Advisory Board for Island County, the Skagit/Island Counties Builders Association and the Habitat for Humanity Board. He also has an ongoing commitment of many years to Hearts & Hammers and is current president of that North Whidbey chapter organization.