America's Sunday Supper Conversation Guide

America’s Sunday Supper is a key program of Points of Light and is inspired by Dr. King’s vision of people of diverse backgrounds coming together to discuss injustices of the day and create a plan for action. America’s Sunday Suppers encourage people to share a meal and engage in dialogue about issues that affect their communities. These conversations can also increase racial and cultural understanding, promote unity and draw useful lessons from the Civil Rights Movement that apply to today’s challenges. An important piece of America’s Sunday Supper is sparking conversation and sharing ideas. Dr. King spoke passionately about the issues in this guide and the resources provided here are as relevant today as they were then.

 

Conversation Starters: Read, Watch, and Explore

Race Relations

Even though the walls of segregation began to crumble in the 1960s, Dr. King asked, “Are we really making any progress on race relations?” How would you answer this question today?

EXPLORE the King Center Archives and take a look at "A Realistic Look at Race Relations," a speech delivered at the 2nd anniversary of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York, on May 17, 1956.

READ a similar speech delivered at the St. Louis Freedom Rally, on April 10, 1957.

Economic Opportunity

Are freedom and economic opportunity connected?

WATCH "Freedom’s Ring," an animated view of the "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, on Aug. 28, 1963. In this speech, Dr. King linked the dignity of work to freedom and economic mobility to political equity; pushing those at the edges of America’s economy to the center of our nation’s civic dialogue.

Nonviolence

Is it possible for the King philosophy of nonviolence to transform a community? 

EXPLORE the King Philosophy of Nonviolent Direct Action.

WATCH Dr. King explain why nonviolence is the most powerful weapon against injustice. Dr. King advocated for the transformative, empowering nature of love, which casts out fear and brings redemptive power to self-suffering.

Tips for Having a Good Discussion

You do not have to be an expert. Don't feel as though you must be an expert on any of the issues. Stay neutral and ask the group if you're stuck.

Show respect and suspend judgment. Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking. Be tough on ideas, not on people – no personal attacks.

Look for common ground. Look for what you can agree on and simply appreciate that there will disagreement.

Allow time for closing dialogue and any follow-up steps. Leave time at the end for closing thoughts and summaries or to schedule your next discussion.

Conversation Tools for Families

Younger Children – Our partners at The Family Dinner Project feature a video, “4 Weeks to Better Family Dinners,” as well as other resources for parents and guardians.

Tweens and TeensWhat is your life's Blueprint?  Watch this rarely seen footage of Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking to students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967. Youth and their parents can discuss what gives them strength, what inspires them, and how they can turn this inspiration into a commitment for service.

Get more ideas for involving your children in your MLK Day service plans with these resources from generationOn, Points of Light’s youth division, including tools and resources for educators, youth development professionals and teens.


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