Great conversations that produce innovative and inspiring ideas are often spurred through a meal shared with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, even strangers.
Tables, by nature of their design, promote conversation; the intimate act of breaking bread and sharing food further encourages participation in table conversations and creates fruitful settings for the unloading of new, meaningful ideas. In essence, we put our ideas on the table and pass them around as we would bowls of mashed potatoes and plates of meat.
With this in mind, the Chicago Community Trust is reimagining the public square as space shaped by tables and mealtime conversations throughout the city and surrounding region rather than as a localized place in the city center. Meaningful ideas are what drive our communities forward, and so to celebrate its 99th birthday and continue a history of working to improve the region, the Trust is inviting residents from the city, the suburbs, and the surrounding collar counties to convene at local tables and participate in a community-wide, civic conversation appropriately dubbed "On the Table" about the future of the Chicago metropolitan region. At tables in restaurants, religious centers, offices, neighborhood organizations, private homes, chambers of commerce, and other unique spaces, residents will join thousands of others in an effort to “generate new ideas, spark partnerships and shape a public agenda to build and sustain strong, safe and dynamic communities.”
Anyone can participate in the May 12th region-wide dialogue, and there are numerous ways to do so. If you’re interested in holding an event, you can register as a host and invite friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, and acquaintances to share in a collective discussion over food in your own home or at a specified location reserved the for the event. If you would like to participate without the hosting responsibilities, you can register to attend as a guest, and the Trust will place you in a conversation near your home.
The Trust hopes to get 10,000 people from all “walks of life” to participate in civic-minded conversations across the metropolitan region. Social media will connect these simultaneous conversations and will offer unique insight into the issues and ideas raised by the diverse voices representing a range of communities throughout the Chicagoland area.
Leading up to the May 12th event, follow and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #OntheTable2014.
For more information or to sign up to participate either as a host or a guest, Chicago-area residents should visit www.onthetable2014.com or call 866-737-6951.