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Creating a longer table: Diversity initiative to host new community event

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On Sunday, June 23, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative is holding the Longer Table event, a community potluck celebration.

Longer Table invites community members to bring a dish to share with others, whether it is homemade or picked up from a store. It is encouraged that the dish reflects your cultural background. The goal of the picnic, however, is to bring the community together and get to know your neighbors.

"When you get to know people, you view them differently," committee member Jan Hertel said. "Just getting to know new people is really important."

Conversation amongst initiative participants to hold the event started roughly a year ago. For the past eight months, a committee of dedicated community members has been meeting to plan the picnic.

The goal, Hertel said, was to create a simple event that was inviting to everyone, not just to those who have been involved with the initiative's past activities. The group wants as much of the community to get involved as possible.

The event will have games and activities for all ages. A playlist of music from different backgrounds is being put together for entertainment.

Another key feature of the Longer Table event will be an ancestor map, where people can put a sticker on the map to represent where their family is from. This will allow residents to see the diversity within the community, as well as find new connections with others, Hertel said.

The event will be held at the Levee Park Rotary Pavillion from 2-5 p.m. People are welcome to come and go as they please.