Reach Across the Table

Dec 22, 2014

This post is by Tracy Hoover, Points of Light's president.

I’ve been thinking a lot about tables lately. The holiday tables we gather around at this time of year, and the friends and family seated around them. The oak table at my grandmother’s farm growing up in Tennessee. The cafeteria table at a homeless shelter here in Atlanta, where volunteers will share a holiday meal with neighbors who live on the streets.

sunday_supper_atlanta_2014_conference_for_blog.jpgGuests become acquainted at an America's Sunday Supper in Atlanta in June 2014.

And in the past couple of weeks, as events unfolded in Ferguson, New York City and Cleveland, I’ve thought about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “table of brotherhood.” It’s one of his most enduring and powerful images:
 “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.”


As we look ahead to a new year, I invite you to reach across the table – and the fence, the neighborhood, the city – to come together as volunteers in bridging differences and seeking new ways to create needed change in our communities. 

A great way to start is by honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 19, 2015. You could take part in a service project in your community; host or join one of the thousands of community dialogues – “America’s Sunday Suppers” – happening around the country; or begin a community conversation in a way that fits your lifestyle and interests. 

It doesn’t matter where you meet – your home, coffee shop, dorm or community center. Gather old friends, invite new ones, find a table and start talking. Points of Light has tools and resources for you to host a Supper or dialogue in your community, including conversation starters, celebrity chef recipes, and downloadable films. 

As you gather with friends and family in the coming weeks, I hope you’ll make plans to get together again and reach across the table in January. Volunteer to join America’s Sunday Supper, participate in a service project in your community or get started today by taking action online.