More than 200 students, staff members and members of the Upper Arlington community gathered on the evening of November 16 over a shared meal to celebrate our unique stories.
The Longest Table was a collaborative effort of the Upper Arlington Schools, Upper Arlington Education Foundation (UA+Ed) and the City of Upper Arlington. During the event, guests met new people and listened to and learned from different perspectives in the UA community. Guests engaged in guided conversations surrounding two prompts:
When you imagine a community that respects and honors diverse backgrounds and points of view, what does that look like?
What is the best way to welcome new students and their families to the community?
The conversation left guests feeling hopeful, grateful, connected, inspired and heard.
Below is a sampling of some of the feedback guests shared about the experience.
“I learned about many new people in our community I wouldn’t have met otherwise, I learned about different peoples backgrounds and that we all have the same end goal: to be a welcoming community where everyone feels like they belong.”
“I was one of 5 people at our table and had never met the other 4. I learned a lot about their personal lives, our schools and our community. I loved the entire conversation and would gladly have stayed longer conversing with this group.”
“I met two of the most delightful residents, and had it not been for this event, our paths would have never crossed. Their openness, wisdom and compassion will stay with me for a long, long time.”
“It is important to continue to have these conversations to make a positive impact on our community. Our table recognized that these conversations may have never happened 3-5 years ago and we are making progress toward positive changes. It was incredible having so many people from the community in the same room together brainstorming how we can be better and make UA more welcoming for all.”
“It was wonderful to connect with so many new people within our community and that we all have a yearning for a better and diverse community. But there are a lot of hurdles and conversations that need to be had. It was so nice to be intentionally heard, as a person of color.”
“I learned that in the right atmosphere, I could get to know someone new in ways that I would not expect. I gained appreciation for the work that others do to make UA a better place to live. This gave me hope and encouragement.”
“It was enlightening, inspiring, and filled me with hope. I loved every minute of it and wish our table had more time together.”