Gathering Diverse Perspectives for Powerful Change
Take a SEAT
Viewpoint diversity and collaboration are critical components of healthy, well-functioning communities. Societal trends have created systemic echo-chambers that have amplified singular perspectives and division, drowning out nuance and disregarding common values. Yet powerful, sustainable change in the context of community is achieved not from divisive tolerance but from asking better questions, exploring others’ perspectives, and deeply listening to one another. The Granite Table aspires to provide a space where this can happen; where differing perspectives, experiences and needs can be openly and respectfully discussed.
In Leading with Dignity, Donna Hicks defines dignity as “the glue that holds all of our relationships together.” Authentic, effective dialogue that honors the dignity of all participants reduces the conflicts that naturally arise when people from differing viewpoints and backgrounds come together. Respectful dialogue is the foundation of quality relationships, which then “sets the table” for stakeholders to collaborate and reach shared goals. Engaging in respectful dialogue where no perspective dominates is how relationships are built and how inclusive communities are co-created.
What is generally considered equity (equal use across population subgroups) is, in fact, inequity (Starfield 2011). Whether vertical (those with greater needs lack access to greater resources) or horizontal (those with similar needs lack access to the same resources), understanding the systems that create social inequities is key to addressing the longstanding social and economic imbalances that create preventable suffering. “Upwards of 80% of people’s life chances are determined by factors over which they have absolutely no control” (McNall, 2016). The Granite Table seeks to create thoughtful policies and targeted partnerships that can uncover and rebalance systemic inequities in our community.
Transformation doesn’t happen in a vacuum and it’s not a one-and-done process. Rather, sustainable transformation occurs when stakeholder need is identified by the stakeholders themselves and the initiatives created to address those needs are continually monitored and adapted as a result of real-time feedback of those most impacted. There is much to do. Those who gather at The Granite Table will work together to identify one meaningful strategic directions and then collect data, generate ideas, and work to build capacity for sustainable transformation.
Supporting the critical non-profit organizations in our community is a key goal. Faced with the need to continually adapt to ever-shifting public health, economic and demographic changes, The Granite Table seeks to provide a platform of cross-pollination and effective collaboration. Stakeholders in the industry will be invited to the table to illuminate the unmet needs and aspirations they are experiencing and to help identify ways The Granite Table can alleviate and reduce the barriers collectively faced by these important pillars of our community.
Community of Excellence
Systems change among communities has similarities and differences. On our journey, The Granite City seeks to join the national Communities of Excellence program (joining 18 other communities in 10 states) to improve the quality of life for all.
Enriching lives in Central Minnesota through intentional, collaborative, and equitable action.