Louisville Potluck


We held our first Potluck for Democracy in Louisville, KY last week. We were hosted by Mosaic, a church that is also an art gallery and community space. By gathering people across many wisdom traditions, we had a broad range of political perspectives. But we did not focus our conversation on policy, ideology, or party affiliation.

That choice is a central part of our strategy.

Too many people in the United States are finding their identity in their political ideology or party affiliation. We can see this when a conversation about policy with family or friends very quickly becomes an us vs. them. Policy can’t be debated without our very identity being at stake. This is no way to live and creates conditions that are a threat to our democracy and civil society.

At a Potluck for Democracy, people gather around other aspects of their identities and engage in conversation human-to-human. This gives people a chance to

  • see people as human who they may have “othered” in the past;
  • see ourselves through our many identities.

The people around the tables listened well to each other. There was laughter. There were some challenging conversations.

People were human with each other and, perhaps more importantly, were human with themselves.

Several of the community leaders who attended volunteered to lead Potlucks for Democracy in their respective neighborhoods. That was our goal in Louisville: Begin growing regional networks of leaders who can adapt our strategy to their communities.

Together with our partners at Seattle University’s Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement, we are beginning to promote these potlucks across the nation. We believe that by having these gatherings in as many neighborhoods as possible, we can help see each other and ourselves as neighbors, as human.

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