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Begin at the Kitchen Table

The great Native American poet Joy Harjo writes: The world begins at a kitchen table, and then goes on to describe all that happens there:

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since
creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their
knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make 
men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They
laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back 
together once again at the table.

At Kitchen Table Democracy, we are trying to bring some of that same spirit to public life. We know that—at their kitchen tables—Americans know how to show deep hospitality and listen closely to friends and neighbors and balance budgets and solve some pretty prickly problems. And we believe we can do that with our collective budgets and thorniest problems as well! Check out Oregon’s Kitchen Table for an example the model at work and watch our video describing what can happen at the kitchen table as we envision it.

Meanwhile, we’re happy to have you here for a virtual chat at our table. Check back now and then for news from some of the nation’s leaders in democratic and collaborative governance as well as for updates from the University Network for Collaborative Governance and new videos from legislators around the country taking part in the 99 Chambers Project.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you soon.