By: Maddie Miller
Getting an invitation is an exciting moment, no matter your age. Whether it be to a classmate’s birthday party in elementary school, acceptance to your dream school, or a simple opportunity to catch up with an old friend, invitations signal opportunities. At The Washington Center today we had the opportunity to listen to documentary filmmaker, Julie Winokur.
To start off our presentation, we watched “Bring It to the Table”, Winokur’s project that was inspired by a search for tolerance. Our seminar will focus on civil discourse in the next two weeks. Winokur’s presentation encouraged a lot of thought provoking dialogue within our group. One of the prompting questions Winokur asked was, “How can we invite that conversation?”
In addressing the answer to that question, it seemed that Drake students had similar concerns. When thinking about how to really get the conversations started, general suggestions included genuinely listening to questions, asking questions, and conducting yourself in a way that welcomes dialogue, including body language.
On today’s monument tour, conversation pieces seemed to surround us. A stand-out was the Lincoln Memorial and the place at that same monument that Martin Luther King, Jr. stood to give his “I Have a Dream” speech. Civil discourse and calls to action can be inspiring. Lincoln’s second inaugural speech even suggests the necessity of finding common ground. During his time in office, Lincoln became an expert at political discourse, as he was tasked with unifying a country that had literally held guns against one another over civil rights, economic, and other policy issues.
Inviting people to the table goes beyond the initial contact, but is extended through a dedicated process. How will you engage with those around you in the name of civil discourse?