A GroupChat is a pre-set and pre-planned conversation between two disconnected groups. Leaders of both groups meet with TableTalk facilitators a week before the event. At this meeting, they identify stereotypes, pre-conceived notions, or general questions they have about the other group.
The next week, members of both groups meet for a GroupChat. The first third of the gathering is devoted to meeting a member of the other group on a basic, person-to-person level. Participants are encouraged to ask questions about sports, music, and other everyday interests.
Then, the participants break bread. After the meal, they sit down and ask each other direct, straightforward, penetrating, and all-encompassing questions about each others’ groups. The idea here is that any question someone conceives of, someone else has also thought about. The end goal is an open, honest, and enlightening conversation about difference.
Our first ever GroupChat was with two student organizations that wanted to collaborate and get to know each other better: Penn NAACP and Penn Democrats.