Katherine Ellington

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Is your holiday table set for diversity and inclusion? Do your traditions embrace difference? Is there a beloved community?

Setting a holiday table is an opportunity to bring out the best in yourself as well as possessions and to feast, It's also a time to share conversations and storytelling. Many families will host intergenerational sittings where old and new ideas about life can converge. Differences at the table can be meaningful when the invisible hand of empathy connects us through varied experiences. I'm interested to know how you move conversations that allow for more inclusion where others can be heard and embraced. I also encourage you to listen to Jay Smooth's TED X Hampshire College talk about "Race and Pockets of Prejudice" at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbdxeFcQtaU&feature=player_embedded

Please share your stories and add questions that you think help the conversation with family and friends.

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    Dec 28 2011: Katherine,
    I sincerely hope there is always a "beloved community" in my heart, home, and at any table I prepare. You write..."I'm interested to know how you move conversations that allow for more inclusion where others can be heard and embraced". I find that conversations naturally flow, and people feel included when there is a genuine intent to learn and grow with each other. I would never deny myself that great gift.

    I was born into a family of 8, most of us had children, and soon there were 32 nephews/neices. From the time I was a small child, there was ALWAYS a crowd at the table:>) It was often difficult to "be heard", but it never felt challenging to be embraced and loved.

    The crowd started to become more diverse when my daughter, as a teenager decided to participate in an exchange program and invited a student from Spain to stay with us. He was the first person of a different culture who joined us at the table, he was delightful, and we learned a LOT from that young man....so we had more exchange opportunities:>)

    My son attended college locally, and on vacations, he often brought home students who could not travel to their homes for the holidays. My x-husband and I started inviting all our single/divorced friends whose families were not in the area. A sister-in-law taught in the language department at local universities, and often brought home students during the holidays, when they could not travel around the world to their homes. They, of course were invited to the gatherings at my home. My brother recently shared his home with teachers/students from China, who participated in an exchange program. Of course, we went back and forth from my brother's table to my table. One evening, these lovely teachers/students prepared a "China night" for us...showing photos of their country, and cooking a FABULOUS meal for us. I have never, in my life felt a need to "move" a conversation. When we are genuinely open hearted/open minded, the conversation flows with joy!