Summit Interfaith Council hosts pilot People’s Supper event in Frisco
Where did you come from, and where have you found community in Summit County?
Those were some of the questions driving conversations at The People’s Supper in Frisco on Wednesday evening — a gathering hosted by the Summit Colorado Interfaith Council meant to bring together a diverse group of people and spur discussions from different pockets of the greater Summit County community.
More than 25 individuals from various backgrounds joined together in the Loveland Room of the Summit County Community and Senior Center to share personal stories about where they came from, and the communities they’ve built here on the Western Slope.
The event is inspired by a greater national movement meant to help build interpersonal relationships in communities. For the Interfaith Council, it’s also an opportunity to build momentum following a healthy turnout to the group’s “Hate has no home here” gathering in November, an event organized in response to troubling incidents in the area, such as SS bolts and a swastika spray-painted on one of Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons’ campaign signs and homophobic stickers plastered to Gov. Jared Polis’ yard signs in Eagle County.
“We’re about trying to weave together the fabric of our common life again, which has been torn by a lot of our experiences,” Frances McWilliams, a representative with the Interfaith Council, said as the supper began. “We feel there is tremendous richness in our differences. It’s a human thing that most of us are afraid of differences, but we want to enjoy our differences. Hopefully we can start a new way of connecting here in our county.”
The supper served as a sort of pilot for the council as it works to expand the program, handpicking individuals around the county from a variety of different races, economic classes, nationalities, religions and ideologies. However, despite the attention to diversity, discussions about politics and religion were largely off the table as the group focused in on much more personal conversations about their families, struggles, upbringings and more.
For guests, it was a well-appreciated chance to connect with their neighbors. Many showed high levels of vulnerability with complete strangers over plates of lasagna and salad.
“Putting people together will connect people,” said Harouna Kane. “There are a lot of people here who just walk around each other. Some people might say hi to each other, and some may not. But things like this connect people more, so when they see each other on the street they’ll be shaking hands and chatting instead of being afraid because you don’t know each other.”
“I love being able to see Latin people here mixing in with the Anglo community, and other cultures mixing as well,” added Mateo Lozano. “We can open up our tables and our hearts, and bring in food to show others our culture. That’s a beautiful thing.”
Organizers with the interfaith council say they hope the event will continue to grow and evolve in the future, and that the group is already working to set up a second People’s Supper that would be open to anyone in the county who wants to participate.
“Starting with this core of people we want to branch out, opening it up to the wider community,” said Diane Luellen, president of the Interfaith Council. “We’ll try to maintain representation from all the different parts of the community, and bridge parts of our community so that we can learn about one another and establish connections.”
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