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Public encouraged to take a seat at ‘The Big Table’


PEORIA (HOI) - "The Big Table" is taking on a new look this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers of the community-building event hope hundreds of people will still participate.

The second annual "Big Table" will be held virtually using Zoom, seeking to encourage public input on such topics as workforce and education, entrepreneurship and innovation, diversity, equity and inclusion, and quality of life.

Discussions involve community members and local leaders aiming to produce a shared regional vision.

Zoom breakout rooms will be used to help participants continue conversations and make connections.

"These are not designed to be panel discussions or performances," Joshua Gunn, president and CEO of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce.

"These are designed to be interactive conversations, and for this to actually work for the big effort to be impactful, we need voices that are not the usual suspects," Gunn added.

"We need communities that historically have been marginalized or not heard to be at this table so we can make real tangible progress," Gunn also said.

"The Big Table" serves Peoria, Pekin, Morton, Washington, and East Peoria.

Last year, organizers said there were more than 700 participants.

The four-day event runs from October 19-22 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Howard Packowitz

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