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Who Would You Invite to Sit at Your Thanksgiving Table?

Tue, Nov 25, 2014

Each week, vendors can participate in the StreetWise Writing Workshop to help them improve their writing skills and express themselves in the written word. These essays were written in the workshop.

Dan Knight headshotBy Dan Knight
If I had the opportunity to invite two groups for a discussion at my Thanksgiving table, I would invite law enforcement officers and citizens to sit down together. As the host and meditator, my goal would be to reduce and eliminate crime in the city of Chicago.

In order to coexist peacefully in our society we must learn to communicate with one another. Two groups that need to be more effective communicators are the citizens and the police. As mediator I would request that the two groups agree to listen respectfully and learn from each other.

The police would get to together to present four goals to the citizens:

  • We will all make an effort to share knowledge of the law.
  • We will all make an effort to respect the system and cooperate.
  • We ask that everyone make an effort to respect officers and authority.
  • We must all know the law in detail and obey the law.
  • The citizens would present five goals to the police officers:

  • We will work together to think of crime prevention techniques.
  • We will not speak to each other in angry tones or disrespectfully.
  • We will not use aggressive language with each other.
  • The citizens and the police will develop friendships and cordial relationships.
  • We will educate and ask questions politely instead of accusingly.
  • Each point would be given a specific time limit for discussion. The goal would always be conflict resolution. After examining all 10 goals, the groups would create policies and procedures that they would adhere to. The groups would agree to meet regularly in order to gauge the progress of the new policies. New ideas would be discussed and evaluated.

    All gains and losses based on the new policies would be shown in print. Statistics would be compiled for review by both parties so progress can be evaluated and continued.

    If we had success from our Thanksgiving discussion maybe we would have a Happy Thanksgiving.

    John HaganBy John Hagan

    I would invite six people with very different points of view to my Thanksgiving table in order to establish common ground and discuss common goals. These six people are the three liberals — Kirsten Powers, Alan Colmes and Jesse Jackson — and the three conservatives — Andrea Tantaros, Rush Limbaugh and Herman Cain. The six people I would invite are liberals and conservatives who do a better job of connecting with people from all walks of life than most other political leaders.

    These six people at my table share a desire for a strong economy and society. The way they try to accomplish their goals is very different because of their ideological differences. Liberals want more money for Social Security, Medicare, food stamps and support for the unemployed. The liberals try to accomplish these goals by raising taxes and expanding government.

    Conservatives believe that 401(K)s, free market capitalism, more competitive pricing, almost full employment, tax cuts and an economy supported by the private sector are the best methods to accomplish the shared goals of a strong economy and society.

    Because these six people connect with many people in and outside of their own political parties, and they show respect and appreciation for one another, I think they could achieve common ground and they would be able to help all people through their calm and peaceful discussions.

    Finally, even though these six people are from different political parties, I would invite them to my Thanksgiving Day dinner because I think they could help to teach people to help each other. That would give us something to really be thankful for.

    A Allen headshotBy A. Allen

    At my Thanksgiving table I would want to bring together street members (gang bangers) and college students. I would mediate a respectful discussion in which we could commit to uplift, enhance and promote positive awareness and action in violent, underserved communities.

    The college students could bring to these communities their education, their ideas, skills and specialties, which they could share with the older and younger generations.

    The gang bangers could bring collective coordination along with positive leadership skills to help organize positive ways of reaching out to the community instead of hurting the community.

    By working together, these groups could bring cooperation, commitment, dedication, knowledge and power together for the betterment of local communities.

    Each of these groups is awesome and influential in their own right, but if they combined their forces they could influence communities, cities, states, countries and the world.

    Students have knowledge, gang bangers have power. Let’s put them together to work in meaningful, positive ways.

    Sam StephensBy Sam Stephan, Writing Workshop Intern

    At my Thanksgiving table I would want to bring together the poor, low-income and homeless people of the community with the wealthier, upper-class citizens living in the same neighborhood. I believe that both of these groups have a significant amount to learn from each other in order to gain understanding.

    The poor people in many communities feel as though they are being displaced by people of greater incomes through the gentrification of neighborhoods. Many wealthy people consider the poor and homeless to be a threat to their standard of living. They think poor people drag the community down.

    It would be nice if the two sides could spend time with each other and really get to know each others’ circumstances. They might learn how they have arrived in these circumstances and realize that basically all people want the same things. They all want to live their lives and be happy.


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