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Tallahassee's Next "Longest Table" Community Conversation Set

Tom Flanigan

Tallahassee’s fourth “Longest Table” community conversation event is set for June 11th. This happening will use the latest technology to insure diverse groups of people interact at the 100-plus discussion sites.

Helping insure that diversity is FSU Doctoral Candidate Ryan Kopinski. He developed a software algorithm so each of the small groups of six to eight people will be as unlike each other as possible.

“It matches the guests neighborhoods, ethnicities, genders, age and really makes the dinners dynamic,” Kopinski expained, adding the program can make a  compuation involving thousands of potential participants in a matter of seconds. The whole point of the exercise, organizers say, is to promote more interaction among very different people in this super-polarized age. There will even be Longest Table gatherings on the Florida State campus, hosted by the group “Power of We” of which Tori Patton is a member.

“We might disagree, but we are willing to sit down and have a conversation about our disagreements,” she said.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said the deadline to sign up is the end of May.

“Go to: www.longesttable.com and by visiting that site you can indicate whether you want to be a host yourself, or participate in one of those functions,” Gillum urged.

Last October’s Longest Table event on FAMU Way attracted more than 1,000 people.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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