The Longest Table

Save the Date: Saturday, July 11, 2020

We’ll bring the dinner; you bring the conversation!

For the past two years, there has been a growing movement across the country of people coming together over a meal to engage in civic conversation about their community.

And while over 90% of Americans polled believe incivility is prominent in our culture, many are hopeful we can create more civil conversations about the things that matter to our community. (Civility in America 2018, Weber-Shandwick)

We think so too.

In 2019 the Indian Trails Library embarked on a bold initiative:

To champion civic conversations through The Longest Table, a public, non-partisan event where residents from all cultures, religions and ethnicities come together over a shared meal to engage in meaningful conversations.

You can help by

  1. Making a donation to help fund The Longest Table.
  2. Telling your friends and neighbors about it.
  3. Attending the civic conversation programs to be held in 2019 and 2020.
  4. Attending The Longest Table event in summer 2020.

History of The Longest Table

Although the location of the first The Longest Table is unknown, these communities have successfully hosted events in the past two years. Other communities have hosted events on a smaller scale of 8-10 people who met to talk about their hopes and concerns and how to build stronger communities.

Howard County Maryland

Howard County, Maryland

Tallahassee Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Dayton Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

How it began at Indian Trails Library

In May 2017, Kalsoom, a mother of three and member of the library’s foundation board, invited a group of moms from diverse cultural, racial and religious backgrounds over to her home to discuss how to create a more civil and accepting climate in their community. She believes children take their cues from their parents on how to interact with those from different backgrounds.“We are raising the next generation and if we can understand each other,” Kalsoom said, “we are more likely to treat each other with respect.”

From Kalsoom’s small group, MOMs (Moms Open Minds) was born, and as the group continued to grow, they began looking for a larger space to meet. Kalsoom reached out to the library, which offered space for their quarterly meetings. At the same time, the library’s executive director Brian Shepard read about a Longest Table event in Howard County and plans were set in motion for Indian Trails Library to host a Longest Table event.

In September 2018, the first planning meeting was held with staff from several organizations in attendance. A tentative date has been set for August 2019 for the event, but the Foundation for the Indian Trails Library wanted to enhance the experience by raising funds to purchase books and host programming to further engage the community. We hope you will join us.

The Longest Table Partners

  • Indian Trails Public Library
  • Foundation for the Indian Trails Public Library
  • Harper College
  • Korean Culture Center of Chicago
  • School District 21
  • School District 214
  • Wheeling High School
  • Wheeling Park District
  • Village of Wheeling