Want to host a One Table Event?
There are a few different options for hosting a One Table, which is a shared space for people from different backgrounds to break bread and hopefully break down barriers. The concept is simple: Choose a space, coordinate the food efforts, get some guests and host! Mobile United & Empowering Change coordinated a One Table event in May 2018 in two spaces and this is how we did it:
- Choose your location, date and time: -Our groups met at four locations simultaneously: the first was a church, where members of different churches came together to meet and eat. We also had three public restaurant locations. The date and time were all the same. Once you choose your desired location, it’s simply a matter of gathering some friends who are interested in helping to organize.-You also must find a way to find people to come. If hosting at a church, members from different churches are the best route to go. If you want the public, organizing on social media or with different friend groups, neighborhood associations, mardi gras associations or community action groups can help you gauge interest and get participants.
- After you’ve confirmed your location, food planning is next: -For the church event, the church provided the meat, drinks and basics, i.e. plates, utensils, cups. We used an online sign-up sheet for side dishes, desserts, etc. We used www.mealtrain.com but there are other sites you may use as well. -The restaurant event is easier because it is dutch treat, which means each person in attendance pays for him/herself. PLEASE NOTE: make sure you have a room that is insulated from sound from the rest of the restaurant. Otherwise, conversation can become strained.
- Promote: -To your church members, friends, family, etc. (see 2 above for more ideas) -You can use an online tool like Doodle Poll or simply use email for RSVP. -Make sure you email all respondents 24-48 hours before to remind them of the function and what to bring (if applicable).
- Host: -Conversation starts it all. Food makes everything better. To help with the flow of conversation, we put together some guided wisdom and specific questions for hosts with the help of The Village Square: a Tallahassee, FL based non-profit that specializes in bringing decidedly different groups together around food:
-Informal intro: guided by host- check their names on sign-in sheet, make a nametag, pick a seat
-Order/get food /pray (if the group chooses)
-Round-robin formal Introductions
–Guiding wisdom for our conversation:
-Assume good intentions by others.
-Practice humility, no matter how wrong someone is and how right you are, there’s still something you can learn.
-Extend undeserved favor to each other.
-Listen to understand.
-Segue into questions: can be fluid, not all are required, you’ll get a feel for the direction the conversation is going.
- What brought you here this evening?
- Do you have a personal story about diversity & inclusion and how it has affected your life- either negatively or positively?
- How do you think we can work towards more meaningful dialogue between people who are different?
- In what tangible, concrete ways do you think we could achieve that?
- What do you think we could accomplish if we were able to achieve a higher degree of inclusion?
- Is there something that really inspires you that you see going on in town that brings people from very different backgrounds together?
- If and when you sit down again to break bread again, what changes would you like to see in the community?
- If this event were to happen again, would you be interested in coming back?
REMINDER: Your job is to:
-Help keep the conversation flowing with respect to the guided wisdom
-Steer the conversation using the questions as a guide
-Snap some pix and or video
-And if you’re so inclined to share on social media, please use one-three of our hashtags: #onetablemobile #mobileunited #diversityandinclusion #leadershipinaction