Next Talking Together event focuses on how voters with opposing views can feel heard, understand each other

Participants at the next event in the Talking Together initiative will enjoy a meal together and watch a film showing people with opposing political views sharing their experiences and learning from each other.

The event is Thursday, October 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Eberhard Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. RVSP for the event online. 

Talking Together is a yearlong series of discussions and workshops coordinated by four campus entities: Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse, Kaufman Interfaith Institute, Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, and WGVU Public Media.

man standing in front of room of people seated at tables in the Alumni House
Kevin McIntosh from the One America Movement leads discussion at the September 21 Talking Together kickoff event in the Alumni House and Visitor Center.
Kendra Stanley-Mills
woman in sleeveless top stands and talks to people seated at tables
Lisa Perhamus, director of the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse and associate professor of educational foundations, talks to a participant at the inaugural event in September.
Kendra Stanley-Mills

The film "Purple," produced by Resetting the Table, will be shown. Kyle Kooyers, associate director of the Kaufman Interfaith Institute, said the mini-documentary recounts how voters in Wisconsin and Iowa confronted their disagreements and learned from their lived experiences and concerns that informed those perspectives. 

"Even as it wades into differences, the film shows us that these conversations, which are happening all across the country, can uplift and slowly move us toward healing and understanding," Kooyers said.

Lisa Perhamus, director of the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse and associate professor of educational foundations, said the October event will center on "sharing stories from the heart."

"I hope that participants feel heard, valued and understood through this experience," Perhamus said. "It is through coming to understand one another's humanity that we can begin to break down the barriers that divide us."

The event is organized by The People's Supper, an organization that works to bring people of varying religious/political/ideological beliefs together around food and conversation.