Seeking participants and hosts for dinners about race

On Saturday, April 25, and Sunday, April 26, a special discussion will be taking place around dinner tables in Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

As part of the advance planning for “Heights Dinners: Conversations About Race,” organizers are currently seeking participants—hosts, facilitators and guests—for the dinners, which will be held in private homes and other locations in the two cities.

At each dinner, a host, a trained facilitator, and up to eight guests will gather for a shared meal and guided conversation.

Several community groups are coordinating the dinners: Heights Community Congress (HCC), FutureHeights, Reaching Heights, Heights Libraries, Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, and Home Repair Resource Center. 

“Our goal is to raise awareness of our communities’ challenges with race, racism and equity, and to begin generating ideas for positive change while building community,” said Eric Dillenbeck, executive director of HCC, the lead organizer of the event. “We recognize a need to come together to explore issues of race and equity, discrimination, gentrification, poverty and political division. We hope that exploring our community through the lens of race, and gathering around a table to share a meal, will help build community and create an opportunity for learning about different perspectives and how to better support one another.”

Anyone who lives, works, worships, or plays in Cleveland Heights or University Heights is welcome to participate as a host, facilitator or guest.

Hosts will provide a spaghetti dinner (ingredients provided) and beverages (non-alcoholic only) for 10 people (host, facilitator and eight guests) in their home, place of worship, or another facility with a kitchen and restrooms.  

Facilitators, who will guide each group of 10 in the conversation about race, must attend one of two training sessions, which will take place on Tuesday, March 31, 3–8 p.m., or Saturday, April 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

Guests can sign up to attend an April 25 or April 26 dinner on their own or with a partner. The organizers will assign guests to available locations, and notify them, by April 21. Guests are asked to note any dietary restrictions or religious observances in their application.

For complete information, and to register to be a host, facilitator or guest, visit or call 216-321-6775.

Founded in 1972, HCC is an advocate of social justice, a monitor of fair-housing practices and a facilitator for building strong, diverse communities. Among its goals are generating inclusive communities and neighborhoods; instilling a sense of community spirit and involvement among residents of all races, religions, cultures, ages, ethnic heritage, and socioeconomic levels; and stimulating active involvement of community residents in the identification and solution of issues of mutual concern.  

Joel Moss

Joel Moss is a MSSA/MNO intern at FutureHeights.

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 9:15 AM, 02.28.2020