Ashland’s Virtual Table, All Residents Invited: September 13Aug 27, 2020 09:36AM ● By Cynthia Whitty
Our stories around food are a great path to understanding different cultures and backgrounds. Ashland is United (AiU), a group whose mission it is to create a culture of inclusivity and acceptance in town, has held past events, “Breaking Bread Together” and “Baking Bread Together,” which have proven that food brings people together. To continue this theme of food and connection, AiU is organizing a virtual discussion and dinner event: “Ashland’s Virtual Table: Join Us for a Meaningful Meal,” to be held via Zoom on Sunday, Sept. 13, 6 to 7.30 p.m.
Ashland residents are invited to register and prepare a favorite dish from their culture or family to eat while engaging in the virtual discussion. There will be an opportunity to share recipes after the event. To participant, register online at https://qrgo.page.link/WjhcH or visit AiU’s website, www.ashlandisunited.org. AiU will provide registrants with discussion questions in advance. For more information, email [email protected].
“Sharing our stories around food is a great vehicle to understanding different cultures and backgrounds,” Jane Greenstein, an event organizers, said. “In this setting, food is a prompt for sharing the stories of what’s on respective tables and why, and to use that as a jumping off point for sharing other stories of the moments that matter most. The goal over dinner is to strengthen individual and collective resilience, create connections and build bridges across political, ideological and identity differences. It is possible to find commonalities but also grow comfort in discussing and celebrating differences.”
The organizers believe that a virtual, moderated discussion will allow for sharing ideas and experiences that go beyond hashtags.
As the pandemic began earlier this year, AiU developed an online project of sharing stories from their “grandmother’s basket” that offered an opportunity to connect with others at a time when social distancing became the new normal. The organizers believed that a collection of stories offered comfort and reminded everyone of the sense of belonging and community.
In joining and organizing #StandupAshland, another AiU project, the group partnered with other groups in town to stand up against racism. As part of this event, residents were requested to participate in a virtual vigil in support of an inclusive Ashland community.
“It was a somber yet successful event. Its anti-racism statement has been celebrated by its own members and also the town administration,” Greenstein said.