Midtown Reader's Jefferson Dinner 'Gathers Unlikely Guests'

At Midtown Reader, Tallahassee, Fla., owner Sally Bradshaw "gathered a group of 12 people, whose paths might not cross otherwise, over a meal on a Sunday evening in October. The setting was unusual: a long table set up among the stacks of literary fiction and nonfiction," Tallahassee magazine wrote in a recent feature on a project launched by the Village Square--a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting civic dialogue--"devoted to replicating the unique dinners held by Thomas Jefferson, one of which was credited with saving the young republic."

"There are two rules to a Jefferson dinner," said Liz Joyner, executive director of the Village Square. "You must invite people who wouldn't typically gather socially, and there must be one conversation."

Noting that she sees Midtown Reader as "a place for people to read, think and share," Bradshaw said solutions spring from a willingness to face the issues head on. "We have to not just talk about it, but be willing to do it. We have to walk the walk. That's hard for a 52-year-old woman. I have to be able to get uncomfortable."

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