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Community Engagement

The Local Take talks Equitable Dinners Going Virtual with Dr. Dietra Hawkins


This week on WCLK's The Local Take(Saturdays 800am) I reached out to Dr. Dietra Hawkins to discuss the Out of Hand Theatre organization's program Equitable Dinners. These program grew out an event in Decatur, GA when a parent wanted to address the disparities in discipline between students of color and their white peers in the Decatur City Schools. After connecting with Out of Hand and One Small Change/Both And Partners they created Decatur Dinners.  On August 25th twelve hundred people gathered for dinner in rooms across the city. They listened to a short one-person theatrical performance and had discussions at tables set with diverse participants. The plan at the beginning on 2020 was to host 5000 people for dinner. COVID19 changed that and the dinners are now taking place virtually on the third Sunday of the month. 

I ask Dr. Hawkins how she came to be involved in this program and she spoke about the Chicago Dinner Model where people come together view a short performance and have a discussion about challenging topics. The theatre performance allows for conversations that are not personal.  You spiritually break bread before the actual meal. Simply showing up for the dinner creates a positive change for participants. 

Participants become comfortable with those uncomfortable conversations and really get to know each other. People are looking for ways to connect and want to share their stories and concerns in hopes of making a difference.  The virtual format has made it somewhat easier to join the conversations, you don't have to travel and you remain in the comfort of your own home. People from all of the our state have participated and so can you. The next dinner is taking place on Sunday, July 19th to participate sign up here

For more information on Dr. Dietra Hawkins

For more information on Equitable Dinners