Host or Attend a Virtual Dinner to Discuss Race in America
Since Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd on May 25, ongoing demonstrations have taken place in all 50 states. And while thousands of people have participated, many others—who would have otherwise joined the protests—have stayed at home because we’re also in the midst of a global pandemic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t interact with other people and have meaningful conversations about race. Like everything else in our lives right now, that can happen virtually.
An organization called Civic Dinners—which facilitates community dinners in an effort to reduce siloing—has partnered with the King Center to set up virtual dinners where people can have productive conversations about race and injustice with people outside of their usual circles.
How it works
Through the Civic Dinners website, you can either sign up to host or attend a dinner as part of their Bridging the Racial Divide series. If you decide to host, your main role is to set a date, time and virtual room for your guests to gather and use the guide provided to help drive the conversation. Then, you’re encouraged to invite between four and eight people with diverse perspectives to the table, including friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and community members.
There’s also the option of opening the virtual dinner up to the public. In that case, the information about the date and time of the dinner is posted on the Civic Dinners website, and anyone can request an invitation to attend.
Each host is provided with a guide that includes prompts and questions designed to bring out personal stories, shared values and empathetic actions. The host also ensures that everyone at the virtual table is given equal time to share their thoughts and ask questions. In other words, there’s no “featured guest”—everyone at the table counts. Along the same lines, there’s a rule that there can only be one person speaking at a time, to allow for everyone to feel heard.
During non-pandemic times, the Civic Dinners take place in person, but until that can happen again, this is a great way to listen and learn from others.
Looking for ways to advocate for black lives? Check out this list of resources.
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