GPB hosted a series of three virtual Civic Dinner events themed around Inclusive Community, Belonging, and Voice of Women using local submissions to the PBS American Portrait project. The goal of this initiative was two-fold. We wanted to increase awareness of PBS American Portrait and inspire Georgians to participate, but also to engage our communities statewide in thoughtful, respectful, and civil conversations around topics of importance locally, nationally, and globally.
Civic Dinners is a platform that brings people together to have conversations that inspire positive social change. Each GPB Civic Dinner event, hosted on Zoom, included the same program components: select PBS American Portrait video submissions from Georgia, small group breakout rooms for moderated conversation, closing reflections and call to action.
Inclusive Community (January 2021): The case for diversity and inclusion has been made. However, while many communities are making gains in diversity, the creation of a truly inclusive culture has often been neglected. This was a conversation about how we can come together to celebrate our diversity and create a truly inclusive America.
Belonging (February 2021): Humans crave a sense of belonging and connection. Unfortunately, many people feel like they don’t belong. Whether through stereotypes, policies or more subtle encounters, messages of exclusion work their way into the wider culture. This was a conversation exploring our own sense of belonging, and how we can create a more welcoming community for all.
Voice of Women (March 2021): Women everywhere are challenging stereotypes, smashing glass ceilings, and redefining the limits on who women can be and what they can achieve. And yet – we still hear about sexual harassment, domestic abuse, inequality in the workplace, and programs supporting women’s health constantly on the chopping block. This is a conversation about the experience of women and what we can do to keep showing up for each other and level the playing field.
A moderator in each breakout room followed a guide with three questions. The conversation format is designed to avoid debate or dominate voices, and instead encourage listening and understanding of different perspectives. The goal of a Civic Dinner is to make significant issues more personal, relevant, and actionable. Attendees were invited to host their own Civic Dinner using the established conversation guides and submit their own story to PBS