Continuing the conversations

By Mayor Andrew Gillum
Special to the Outlook

It is no secret that division and unrest have taken hold in states, cities, and neighborhoods across the nation. In these trying times, we too often find ourselves judging and “otherizing” people in our communities who might not look like us, or have different experiences than us. In Tallahassee, I am challenging our residents to choose to be curious about those in different walks of life. Two upcoming events, Tallahassee Forward and The Longest Table, give us the opportunity to step out of our comfort zones and into conversations with neighbors who share this beautiful community.

Starting on Nov. 1 at 6:00 p.m., Tallahassee Forward will create an intentional space where people can come together and discuss divisive issues as one community. This year the event will focus on a powerful keynote speech by Bakari Sellers, a national voice in American politics. He will discuss the political, social, and cultural landscape that has impacted the heightened state of partisanship and division currently seen around the country. His talk will draw on his experiences traveling around the country, listening to people and communities that feel forgotten, targeted, and in some cases hopeless for what the future holds, and offer some insights on what those realities can teach us about how to resolve the disheartening state of affairs unfolding on the national and international stages. After the keynote, Mr. Sellers will host a local panel discussion focused on how we as a community can begin to answer the question of how we bring people together to address the common issues we face.

Then, on Sunday Nov. 5 at 5:30 p.m. we will come together on Duval St to continue the conversation at The Longest Table. For three years, The Longest Table has given Tallahassee-Leon County a place to break bread and break down barriers. The City of Tallahassee, Leon County Government, The Village Square and Leadership Tallahassee host the event to give residents the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships across diverse communities. Our fifth iteration, the Fall 2017 Longest Table will include members of our student populations on our university campuses and high schools, and will again feature local caterers who will be partnering with us to ensure the menu is showcasing the best that Tallahassee has to offer.

I encourage our entire community to be a part of these two dynamic, home-grown events. Communities across the nation have adopted our ideas in their own neighborhoods and have seen powerful results. It all started right here in our hometown, so come out and help us grow together. Let’s Keep Talking.

Both events are free and open to the public, but we ask that attendees please register at and