Omaha Table Talk (OTT) kicks off its seventh year in the Metro Area. Omaha Table Talk is a program that brings diverse racial and ethnic groups together over dinner to talk about racial issues. Each year since its beginning in 2004, the numbers have increased for this signature OTT event; where participants have come together to respond to a series of questions, bring new ideas and share experiences of racial diversity.
Omaha Table Talk is a program housed in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). It's designed to build social capital and improve race relations in the community with the help of UNO students, faculty and staff.
OTT Executive Director A’Jamal Byndon said, “I am pleased with the community support and ability of people to engage others in conversations about race and diversity. In this day and age with all of the media attention to such topics many more are starting to see the importance of developing social capital with others who they encounter in various aspects of their lives.”
population-we™ supports this upcoming event sponsored by Omaha Table Talk - where everyone has a seat at the table. The format of the event is for participants to have a dinner throughout various parts of the city, with strangers for the most part and talk about significant issues of the day dealing with race and diversity. The dinners are held at the same time on Thursday, Oct. 20, from 6:15 to 9 p.m.
“We are seeking to have at least 700 participants enjoying Omaha Table Talk at various community sites, churches, and homes this year. Last year there were about 600 participants at 52 homes and community sites in the area,” Byndon said.
At each location there will be a facilitator and list of questions that participants can select as to begin the conversations. Each site will have anywhere from 8-12 participants. The structure affords each person with the opportunity to share and listen to other points of view.
Drs. B.J. and Christine Reed opened their Midtown home for a past Omaha Table Talk. “Omaha Table Talk provides an invaluable experience where people to talk frankly about race in a safe environment and where differences can be shared and individuals can gain understanding and perspective of diverse views,” said B.J. Reed, UNO's Interim Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs and Executive Associate to the Chancellor. “For many it can be a life changing event.”
There is no cost to the participants except the costs for the hosts in providing the meals. OTT organizers ask participants to arrive at the dinners with an open mind and a willingness to develop social capital with others in the community. There have been Omaha Table Talk events in Columbus, Grand Island and this year organizers will be hosting an Omaha Table Talk event in Lincoln.
“This is a one-time event for most participants and we encourage them to continue the conversations after the OTT event. Last year students at the various colleges and universities in the city helped to increase our number of participants,” Byndon said.
To register for OTT go to the website Omahatabletalk.com and sign up. The deadline for registration is Monday, Oct. 3rd. Cox is also one of the supporting organizations that helped with the underwriting of OTT.
For more information, contact A’Jamal Byndon at (402) 561.7494 or Omahatabletalk@gmail.com. If you don’t have a computer or access to email contact the OTT office and a staff member can complete the form over the phone.
This is a call-to-action for population-we™ readers to get out and learn about others. Join in a discussion at a local coffee shop, an online forum or at an event like this year’s Oct. 20th Omaha Table Talk.
- population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
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