Guest blog post by Julie Winokur, Producer and Director at Talking Eyes Media
Do you know your roommate as well as you think you do? Do you know how your colleague feels about immigration, taxation, same-sex marriage? How does your professor feel about gun control? Or your partner about abortion? Do you talk about it?
In 2013, “Bring It to the Table,” the community engagement campaign and documentary film series, is visiting universities across the United States, encouraging students and faculty to have these conversations. We want to hear core beliefs and insights from students at the undergraduate, graduate and PhD level. We want to hear your solutions to move our country forward. Why do you believe what you believe?
Since our last American Democracy Project blog post in June 2012, “Bring it to the Table” has visited select universities, bookstores and barbershops, public parks and county fairs, churches and bars, the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.
Produced by Julie Winokur and the non-profit, non-partisan Talking Eyes Media, Bring It to the Table literally invites people to sit down at a small star-spangled table and share the roots of their political beliefs. The campaign is designed to give “ordinary” citizens a chance to speak their minds about their political beliefs, and hear the reasoning behind different points of view.
Our “Table Talks” have been featured by NBC News, Out Magazine, NPR and others who are buzzing about the way “Bring It” encourages genuine bi-partisan discourse. We have captured national attention because we have created a safe space where people can speak openly and authentically, without having to defend themselves against attack. There’s no ranting, no rhetoric. Just honest opinions and deep-seeded beliefs. The project provides a chance for people to engage across party lines, and most importantly, to actively listen to their fellow citizens.
The reality in America today is that people who have different points of view simply don’t talk to each other about politics. That’s a dangerous bellwether for democracy. In the wake of Congress’s December performance, we see how divisive politics and the refusal to collaborate can weaken the morale, economy and pride of a nation. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, the ability to communicate and negotiate is essential.
Bring it to the Table actively fosters the cross-pollination of voices and ideas. It is not intended to change anyone’s ideology or political affiliations, but rather to encourage respect, tolerance and genuine dialogue. Discovering shared values can lead not only to collaborative actions between individual Americans, but it might inspire our politicians to do the same.
Whether you are a law student, an aspiring engineer, a nursing student or a philosophy major, listening is the key to ethical business, civil discourse, strategic negotiation, healthy compromise and results-oriented solutions.
LIVE UNIVERSITY TABLE TALK TOUR 2013
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS
Universities across the country are booking Live Table Talks to present to political science, law, government, civic engagement, journalism and communications students.
Producer Julie Winokur shares films and interviews and discusses the project for 20 minutes. For the next 90 minutes, she engages students in live Table Talks on stage and invites dialogue and participation from students about their assumptions and preconceived notions about participants.
- LENGTH OF PROGRAM
Two hours including discussion and Q & A
- FORMAT REQUIRED
Auditorium with audio / visual capacity stage and screen. Volunteers or staff to assist same day.
Afternoon or evening program.
- PROMOTION AND ATTENDANCE
Bring It will supply promotional materials and universities are responsible for marketing and ticketing.
- RESERVATIONS / PLANNING
To book a Live Table Talk presentation with Julie Winokur at your university in 2013 contact Julie directly at email@example.com.
ABOUT EXECUTIVE PRODUCER JULIE WINOKUR
Julie Winokur has been creating film and multimedia for more than a decade. Her company produces and distributes books, films and exhibitions about national social issues. Julie’s work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Discovery, PBS, NPR, CNN, Global Post, VII The Magazine and other top news outlets globally. She and her team have been recognized with two Emmy Award nominations, and multiple awards from World Press International, Pictures of the Year, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Press Photographers Association. In January of 2013 she edited a feature for Global Post as part of their current eight week series “The Great Divide” about economic disparity worldwide. The production and creative team include Jessey Dearing, Elissa Pellegrino, Andrew Hida, Julie Turkewitz, Kimberly Soenen, Sasha Jiwani, Ed Kashi, Lauren Glading, Mara Mellstrom and Becky Kumar.